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Pentatonic Scale Pattern Names

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greybeard
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the confusion in this thread is a textbook example of why I gave up on learning scales by fingering patterns and switched to (a) learning the interval construction of scales and (b) relying on my ears more than my eyes.
Patterns are a good start, but it's much more sensible to think beyond them and, as you say, understand intervals, etc..

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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Scrybe
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tbh, I'm not sure patterns are even a good start.

Ra Er Ga.

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cnev
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Scybe,

I think I'm with Greybeard on this one. I think it is a good place to start because it allows you to at least get the right notes when you are learning to solo..is it in the end the best way..No for sure but I think it's the easiest to get a beginner or hacker like me to start soloing.

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Scrybe
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I agree that learning patterns is an easier way to be able to start improvising than learning scales initially could be. But I don't think easier is better, and comparing those two methods alone means neglecting other avenues which may prove easier. I think the confusion that results from learning patterns and then trying to develop beyond that often is greater than just starting with scales and taking a bit longer to improvise well. Maybe that's why so many players plateau at learning patterns and never develop beyond that.

Another easy way to learn to solo is by learning other people's solos - e.g. learn Eric Clapton's solo on After Midnight, then look at how the effects he achieves in that solo came about. Or developing a 'lick' library - copping licks of records and then using them over various progressions to see what works and what doesn't.

Patterns, scales, etc, all have to be linked in very strongly with an understanding of harmony, if you want to solo well. Scale construction lends itself to this much better than patterns do. So, while patterns may give you the 'freedom' to e.g. solo over a 12 bar blues, as the chord progression becomes more complicated, the ability to improvise over the top becomes increasingly difficult if you've learned using patterns. Its a lot easier to do this if you've learned how scales are constructed and how chords and scales interrelate.

And, tbh, I've no idea why people who will assert the importance of proper physical technique from day one of learning guitar (e.g. thumb on the back of the neck, not curled over) seem to think that encouraging a theory-bad-habit is somehow less 'dangerous.' If were gonna be strict on not relying on TAB, strumming correctly, etc, etc., why not extend this strictness to the theory side as well? The bad habit of relying on patterns is, imho, equal to (if not greater than) physical bad habits. Sounds like double-standards to me. To solo well, you want your solos to sound cohesive and intended, not just random noodling. You have to understand chord/scale relationships to do that.

Ra Er Ga.

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Scrybe
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Scybe,

I think I'm with Greybeard on this one. I think it is a good place to start because it allows you to at least get the right notes when you are learning to solo..is it in the end the best way..No for sure but I think it's the easiest to get a beginner or hacker like me to start soloing.

and it doesn't allow you to get the right notes anymore than learning the intervals between scales or memorizing where notes lie on the fretboard does.

If I throw this chord progression at you:

|C|G|Am|C|C|Bdim|F|Dm|

how would a pattern tell you which notes sound good for each of those chords? It doesn't. But when I read that progression, I'm immediately thinking

|I|V|vi|C|C|vii|IV|ii|

and I'm thinking of notes contained in each chord and where they on the C major scale, and how to move from chord to another. Visual patterns alone don't give you that.

Ra Er Ga.

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http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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Voodoo_Merman
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And, tbh, I've no idea why people who will assert the importance of proper physical technique from day one of learning guitar (e.g. thumb on the back of the neck, not curled over) seem to think that encouraging a theory-bad-habit is somehow less 'dangerous.'

Thats a good point.

If you plan on making the bulk of your income by playing the guitar, you have no business whatsoever with patterns. But, there are a large group of casual players who simply cannot invest the amount of time and effort it takes to learn an instrument properly. These individuals will not understand music as well as professionals of course but they would still be able to play.

On another note (no pun), the right way to learn guitar doesn't have to be taken to the extreme. Many of the old blues guitar players (although they understood and meant every note they played) only knew how to play in a few major and minor keys.

You can still learn the right way if you don't want to be a professional. Its like typing. Your mind will instantly tell your fingers where to go if you practice enough.

At this time I would like to tell you that NO MATTER WHAT...IT IS WITH GOD. HE IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. HIS WAY IS IN LOVE, THROUGH WHICH WE ALL ARE. IT IS TRULY -- A LOVE SUPREME --. John Coltrane


   
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MoonShine
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See my instructor insisted that the only way I'll ever progress is by doing the scale patterns up & down the neck, over and over again. I can see the value of that of course but at the same time I just felt that there had to be a better way to learn. LIke Scrybe stated earlier I felt it was a plateau of some sorts because I feel it going nowhere. In fact, I still have difficulty seeing how knowing these patterns inside & out translates to soloing. This concept doesn't connect for me.
My opinion is, why didn't I just learn to play solos from music that interested me. As well as pretty much learn a library of licks that I could learn to use when needed. Of course I know the patterns and recognize parts of them when they appear in solos, but I just can't make sense of how they relate to solos beyond appearing here & there.
Which avenues would I take to learn scales the way Scrybe is talking about? Like I stated earlier between my instructor & BYCU I thought that the patterns were the scales.


   
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Scrybe
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The way I'm going about things, and I should issue the caveat that I'm in the process of doing this myself, so feel free to deviate from it, is to

(a) memorize where notes are on the fretboard. So, if I call out "C sharp" you should instinctively be able to play every C sharp note on your guitar. And...
(b) learn how scales are constructed and how chords are formed from scales. Again, if I call "C sharp major" you should be able to rattle off all the notes contained in that scale, and every chord that can be derived from that scale. Start with just plain major and minor chords, then go on to extended chords, like dominant 7th chords, and augmented chords, and the like.

Also, try to hear the intervals between notes. A lot of people learn to play scales just going up and down the scale. By all means do this, but also try e.g. playing the first note of a C major scale, then the second note, then return to the first note, then play the third note, return to 1st, then play 4th, and so on throughout the scale. Listen for the size of the gap. You can also play a major scale but trying to harmonize it in thirds (e.g. on C major, play the C note and the E note simultaneously, then the D and F notes simultaneously, and so on).

Spend some time 'discovering' scales on your instrument, too. If you know e.g. the C major scale contains the notes C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C, then take the lowest C note and try to play the scale so you work your way up to the highest note available on you from that scale on your guitar. Done it? Okay, now try it again, same scale, but try to find a different route or path.

You really do have to understand (on whatever level, as long as you can use it practically) the relationship between scales and chords. If you don't understand this well, you might be able to learn a C major scale and use it to improvise over a |C|G| chord progression, but then get really lost as more chords are added to the progression.

When you learn a solo or a riff from a tune, look at it in more detail. Which keys could the riff come from? What chords has it been used over? A lick in the key of G might work over some of the chords derived from that scale, but not over others. It isn't good enough the merely think "oh that's a lick in G major, so if I'm playing a tune in G major, that lick will work." It will work over some progressions and not others. And it can work over two different chord progressions but sound different depending on the progression used. Look at why - what notes are being used in the lick, how do they relate to the chords available to you, what are the chords suggesting, etc.

You can go as deep into this as you want or desire. But I'd strongly recommend looking at how scales are built, memorizing the notes on your fretboard and dipping into a little theory on harmony and how chords are built from scales.

I'd suggest getting a copy of Noteboat's theory for guitar book, its on my list of purchases, and it probably covers a lot of this in more detail and with illustrations/examples.

There's nothing wrong with patterns in and of themselves. But the encouragement to rely on visuals that is inherent with such a learning method, and the confusion that arises when trying to talk about patterns as if they're on a par with other bits of music theory, or move beyond the plateau that occurs with this method really dissuades me from their value. It's human nature to try to understand new information in the context of what has already been learned - how is it similar, how does it differ, what is the relationship here, etc. Patterns don't, imo, lend themselves well to this facet of our development. I think patterns encourage guitarists (who are known for their aversion to theory at the best of times, lol) to ditch the theory and, more importantly, disengage their minds and ears from the process. And that's probably why there are guys like B.B. King who probably couldn't give you the run down on why what they do works, but seem to get by just fine without this knowledge. They didn't switch off when they were practising and just go on auto-pilot, and they actually do know what they're doing and why it works, they just don't know how to communicate it. Wittgenstein was onto something when he noted that an understanding of a rule is evidenced by an observation of that rule. :wink:

If your guitar teacher insists on teaching you via patterns, take it and run with it - write out the notes in the scale, and compare them with your patterns, look at where notes are in relation to the chords from that scale, etc. It really is up to you how much you learn from something.

For the guy who doesn't want to make a living out playing guitar, if learning patterns is fine, why isn't 'bad' fingering or sloppy technique also fine? I do think there's a genuine double standard here. In fact, why not just ditch scales altogether, then? But if someone wants to learn scales and how to use them in music, I don't think patterns are the ideal or easiest way. Not in the long run.

hth

Ra Er Ga.

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http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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Scrybe
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.
Which avenues would I take to learn scales the way Scrybe is talking about? Like I stated earlier between my instructor & BYCU I thought that the patterns were the scales.

Technically, patterns are scales. But, in practise many of the box patterns I've seen suggest starting the scale on a note which isn't the root note. E.g. starting on a D note when the scale is a C major scale. And while learning the visual patterns is fairly easy, it doesn't teach you to use them consistently in a practical way.

What I'm suggesting instead is that you learn how scales are constructed.....C major being tone-tone-semitone-tone-tone-tone-semitone. All plain major scales follow that same structure, starting from the root note.

The main things I'm critical of with the pattern method is that it allows you to neglect paying attention to the note-names as you use them, and it's human tendency to start a solo with the first note of a pattern. But, if the root note of the scale isn't the first note in the pattern you use, that's gonna cause things to sound odd. My other criticism is that a lot guitarists find themselves 'boxed in' to these patterns when trying to solo. They can play each pattern separately fine, but tying them together is something they stumble on. And I don't think it teaches you how to use the notes - only understanding how harmony and scales interrelate can do that, imho.

Ra Er Ga.

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http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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mess
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I think the most damning problem is when novice players are learning patterns before they're learning what a major scale sounds like. What's the good in memorizing a pattern before you can sound it out yourself, even if it's just on one string.


   
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greybeard
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Every guitarist plays patterns, regardless of whether he is a complete beginner or he's Julian Bream. The very fact that the guitar is built the way it is, forces us to play patterns - the positions of the notes don't change because Julian Bream, Angus Young or Esteban are playing.

The difference is, that the better players are "thinking" in terms of notes and scales, whereas a beginner is thinking in terms of patterns. The good player will know where to find the root note, on the fretboard, and play in key from there - the fact remains, that his hands are following the same patterns that a beginner uses.

It's not the pattern that's the "problem", it's the way you look at those patterns. Knowing the patterns is a good start. Knowing where all the root notes are, as well, is another step forward. Knowing the notes that you are playing is a further step (you're also learning all the notes on the fretboard).

The patterns are like learning to crawl - it's not the goal. The goal is progressing onto walking, running and jumping.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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phillyblues
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I'm too new to the guitar to add anything beneficial to this thread but thought I would just say "good stuff".

I'm just starting to delve into scales myself (also using BYCU) and discussions like these help to remind me to not only focus on the "how's" of what is being shown but also the "why's". It will probably be a long time before the "why's" really start to make sense, but never hurts to have them in the back of my mind while I'm working through the "how's".

Again, good stuff.


   
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MoonShine
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Yes Philly I agree, very good stuff. Although only parts of it make sense to me right now. I can only hope that as I continue along with the approach that I know, that my understanding of what I am doing and why becomes more apparent.
I really appreciate the time that some of you have spent in your answers.


   
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Scrybe
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Greybeard, I think we're pretty much in agreement. Please forgive my earlier posts if I wasn't clear enough about my position (as is probably the case). My main gripe with what I called the "pattern method" is how it is often taught as if divorced from and negating the need for theory.

Phildo and Phillyblues - I know exactly how you feel. I still feel like a total beginner when it comes to theory and fretboard knowledge, and I've a feeling I'll feel that way for quite a while (there's always something else to know/learn/link with pre-existing knowledge). Just keep chipping away at it regularly, and bit by bit it'll all sink in. :wink:

Ra Er Ga.

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greybeard
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Scrybe, I totally agree with you. It's fine to start out with patterns, they get you moving, quite quickly, but it's only half of the story.
One of the recurring discussions, on GN, is modes. Almost invariably, they start off with someone asking what they're all about, because you're playing the same patterns/notes. Yes, an E Phrygian has the same notes as a C major scale - but it is a minor scale with a flat second, with the root based 4 semitones higher than the C scale - even though the patterns of the 2 scales are "the same". It's only when you look more closely at the root notes and the positions of the intervals that they start to look different (the Thais have a saying, which fits very well, here, "Same, same, but different").

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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