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Stuck trying to figure out what to learn...


(@dragoonx)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 23
Topic starter  

Hey there guys. I've been playing with my guitar some weeks for practice and... I'm very much comfortable with the strings and moving from fret to fret with moderate speed (not necessarily shredding fast by any means! Lol!). I'm still tumbling around with picking out 2 strings on certain power chords without looking... Anyways. My question was, I keep hearing the topic of scales being brought up... I'm wondering what I should focus my learning on ? It seems that playing songs by their tabs wont necessarily improve me as an overall guitar player... Any help appreciated!


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(@kcfenderfan)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 473
 

Hey Dragoonx, first off welcome to the best (IMHO) guitar forum on the web. My opinion is that learning scales, both minor and major pentatonic, is great and useful for learning your way around the fretboard. They are especially helpful for learning to play lead guitar, but shouldn't be your only focus. For easy guitar songs by tab, check out either the easy song index on this board. You can also check out the lessons on this site. Both have songs that are just chords and songs that are chords and string picking and chord arpeggios. I would highly suggest checking out both; I believe that you'll find them very helpful.

Keep us posted on how you're doing. If you get stuck or need other advice, this is the best place to go for help.

Jim


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(@dragoonx)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 23
Topic starter  

No idea what scales and major/minor pentatonic things are :(


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

No idea what scales and major/minor pentatonic things are :(
oh my.
you already know a scale...do re me fa so la ti do.
now grab your guitar and play that. pay attention to where your fingers go.
there, you have played a scale.
of course there is much more to that. there is so much information on the internet.
guitarnoise.com has one of the best sites for this topic.

the study of guitar is so cool. learning how to shred is one thing, but guitar has so much more to offer.
scales act as a doorway to licks and melodies and more.
so if you are stuck trying to figure out what to learn checking out scales is a good idea.
find out what they are.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

I am not a teacher like NoteBoat and others here, so I am always a little afraid of explaining scales and chords and the like. I know what they are, but never formally studying music, I am afraid my concepts are different from what a real music teacher would teach.

A scale is just a series or order of notes that sound good over certain chords or chord progressions. There are many kinds of scales, some you are familiar with like the Major Scale or Minor Pentatonic. But there are very exotic scales that sound very unusual.

Probably the best scales to start with are the Major scale, and the Major and Minor Pentatonic.

Here is the G Minor Pentatonic scale. Notice that it only has 5 notes, G, Bb, C, D, and F. No matter where you play this scale on the guitar, when you are in this scale these are the only 5 notes you will use. But they can be played in any order.


G Minor Pentatonic Scale (1st position)

e--------------------------------3--6- G, Bb
b--------------------------3--6------- D, F
g--------------------3--5------------- Bb,C
d--------------3--5------------------- F, G
a--------3--5------------------------- C, D
e--3--6------------------------------- G, Bb
i p i r i r i r i p i p

i= index finger
m= middle finger
r= ring finger
p= pinky finger

So this is the G Minor Pentatonic in order. But once you learn a scale, you mix the order up to create melodies. It is kinda like the alphabet, we learn the letters in order from A to Z, but that is not how we use the letters. We use the letters in various order to create words. Scales are the same, you play the notes in various order to create melodies.

Here is a famous song using the G Minor Pentatonic scale.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HySQ0-BCSss

And here is how you play that opening riff;


Born Under a Bad Sign (riff in G Minor Pent. Scale)

e------------------------------------------
b------------------------------------------
g--------------3---------------------------
d--------3--5-----5--------------3---------
a--3--5--------------------3--5------------
e------------------------------------6--3—
i r i r i r i r i p i

As you can see, this riff is taken from that original scale, but it is not played in that order. This is how you use a scale.

It is possible to learn scales and theory on your own, but if you really want to be knowledgeable of music, if you can afford it take lessons and learn to read. If you can't, just study everywhere you can. Go to the Easy Lessons on the home page of Guitar Noise, you can learn much about scales, chords, and progressions there.

Just keep playing and you will get there. :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5366
 

For stuff about scales, head over to the lessons on this site and look for "Theory Without Tears" by David Hodge. There is a whole bunch of lessons for beginners designed to help you through exactly this pain.

Then pick up on some of the Songs For Beginners in the lessons pages. Start with Horse With No Name - I use it with my students in their first lesson so that they can come out of it playing *something*

The write down three songs you like. At this stage write down songs like Time Of Your Life rather than Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation because you need to have some success milestones. Then seek out tabs or go to your local shop and buy the music - internet tabs have a poor reputation for accuracy.

And do ask questions here. We've all been through the pain of the barred F chord at the first fret and you'll never be stuck for advice.

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1029
 

Another example of what Wes had said:

The A Minor Pentatonic Scale (Penta meaning 5 -and- tonic meaning notes[tones] ). The shape of the scale stays the same (int he first position), it just depends on where you start. So the Am Pent starts at the 5th fret, on the A of the sixth string.
A Minor Pentatonic Scale (1st position)

e--------------------------------5--8- A, C
b--------------------------5--8------- E, G
g--------------------5--7------------- C, D
d--------------5--7------------------- G, A
a--------5--7------------------------- D, E
e--5--8------------------------------- A, C

with a Famous riff from Led Zeppelin:

e-|----------------|-----------------------|----------------------|
B-|----------------|--------------5--------|----------------------|
G-|----------------|-5-------7------5h7p5--|--------5-------------|
D-|----5--6--7-----|-----7-----------------|-7---7------7---5--7--|
A-|-7-----------7--|-----------------------|----------------------|
E-|----------------|-----------------------|----------------------|

e-|--------------------------------|
B-|--------------------------------|
G-|--------------------------------|
D-|--7-------------------2---------|
A-|------5---7---3---5---0---------|
E-|--------------------------------|

I'll add a +1 on taking some lessons too.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


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(@dragoonx)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 23
Topic starter  

Ok, so its a bunch of notes, originally in a certain order but then thing is you can mix and match the notes so long as they pertain to that scale. Which sounds pretty creative. This is going to take a bit of learning. I had 1 smaller question... at least I believe it to be so. Sometimes when looking at tabs, I'll notice that they mention to tune to D or something of the like. So now the tabs are labeled slightly differently; such as D A D G B E, instead of the original E A D G B E.

How exactly does the tuning work? Or is it as simple as simply tuning the E string into a D?


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(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1029
 

Ok, so its a bunch of notes, originally in a certain order but then thing is you can mix and match the notes so long as they pertain to that scale. Which sounds pretty creative. This is going to take a bit of learning. I had 1 smaller question... at least I believe it to be so. Sometimes when looking at tabs, I'll notice that they mention to tune to D or something of the like. So now the tabs are labeled slightly differently; such as D A D G B E, instead of the original E A D G B E.

How exactly does the tuning work? Or is it as simple as simply tuning the E string into a D?

Yup, its called "DROP D" You drop/tune that low E down to the D.

For the time being I wouldn't bother with alt tunings, cuz things can get real complicated then.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


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