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What to do with scales?

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nolongerme
(@nolongerme)
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Im new to playing guitar and i dont understand scales. what are they good for other than just playing them and working on fingering?

do you use them to write songs?


   
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paul donnelly
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You usually use notes from a particular scale to write songs. I might write a song "in G major", meaning that I use mostly notes from the G major scale (G A B C D E F# G) and center it around a G note. Knowing scales (by note name) is also a good way to learn the fretboard.


   
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greybeard
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Think of scales as a way to abstract music. Let's assume that you have a husband and wife, who both like to sing. The husband sings bass and the wife sings alto.
Worse still, they both have different natural keys - the husband sings best in G and the wife in E. What that means is that the husband sings best when he uses the note G as his central point - so he will also use the scale of G (G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G) as his "home" scale. His wife, though, will be most at home with E as her pivot point, so she will use the scale of E - E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E.

The intervals between the notes in G are the same as in E - W(hole tone), W, H(alf tone), W, W, W, H.

It means that I can write a song in C, for example, and be able to transpose that song to both G and E, without much trouble and both husband and wife will be able to sing the song.

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dogbite
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scales are important. they map out your fretboard.

a scale on one string is pretty easy. E F G A B C D E

using the first string it goes right up the fret board.
now trey the same scale going across the fret board. not as easy.

find the E on the lowest string then the F etc.

this way you can find chords. three notes make a chord.
we all know where the simple open G chord is. now find it at all the other places.
sure , same notes, but a whole different voice.
play one G with a different G and it sounds great.

so scales are important to find those things, for example.

Ive mapped out my fret board. although I havent memorized all the notes...c'mon, really!!!. it has helped me to understand where the next note is in a lick Im trying.

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Anonymous
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All music is built around Scales in as much as music is made to play in a certain key. Knowing the scales means you also know what notes are in that key.
Chords are built from the notes in a scale for the key of that chord.
Playing scales is much more than just a finger exercise, it is a huge step in learning and understanding music.


   
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nolongerme
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this way you can find chords. three notes make a chord.
we all know where the simple open G chord is. now find it at all the other places.
sure , same notes, but a whole different voice.
play one G with a different G and it sounds great.

ok so i need to find the three same notes elsware on the neck? do you have an example?


   
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Alan Green
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As an example, you mean like playing the G chord using the following shapes?

3-2-0-0-0-3
3-5-5-4-3-3
7-10-9-7-8-7
x-5-5-7-8-7
10-10-12-12-12-10

Best,

A :-)

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I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
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dogbite
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what I meant. where else can you play G on the fret board.
the above post shows a few.

there is a nice triad (three notes) on the seventh fret. ie; make a D chord(open). slide that up two frets , same shape you have E..slide up one fret , same shape you have F...slide up two frets more..with the same shape you have G.
that kind of thing.

also, mapping out the scales and notes on the fret board you can see those triads.
sometimes the root note isnt at the bottom. it's just another voice.

we're getting into theory here.

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sirN
 sirN
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You might try harmonizing the notes in a scale. That would be pretty usefull.

check out my website for good recording/playing info


   
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Wes Inman
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I am not a teacher, so I might say some things that confuse you.

Scales come from chords.

Chords come from scales.

Confused?

The first scale you have to learn is the Chromatic scale. Most western music is based on it.

The Chromatic scale is really just a set of intervals or spaces between notes. On the guitar, one fret is a "half step" in music (like A to A sharp). And two frets is a "whole step" (like A to B).

There are only 12 notes in western music. Some notes have two names (confusing again), but they are the same note.

Starting with the note C.

C, C#(Db), D, D#(Eb), E, F, F#(Gb), G, G#(Ab), A, A#(Bb), B

That's it. That's all the notes in western music. Notice that C# (C sharp) and Db (D flat) are the same note. I'll let the teachers tell you why you use one name or the other. But they are the same exact tone.

The Chromatic Scale is a scale with these intervals or spaces between notes in this order.

Root, Whole Step, Whole Step, Half Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Whole Step, Half Step. Or, numerically R, 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1, 1/2.

So look at the 12 notes I showed above. Starting with C as the root, the Chromatic Scale would be:

C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

A Major chord is built from the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of the Chromatic Scale. So a C Major chord would have just three notes: C, E, G

The only difference between a Major and Minor chord is that a Minor chord has a flat 3rd. That is one fret lower on your guitar. As you see above, the 3rd note in the C Chromatic scale is "E". So, for a C Minor chord you would flat this E to Eb(E flat). So a C Minor chord is also just three notes: C, Eb, and G.

But that one flatted note makes a big difference. A C Major chord will have a happy, upbeat sound, while a C Minor chord will have a sad, melancholy sound.

And this is one secret to playing solos with scales over a chord. If you were playing over a C Major chord, you would usually want to use an E note in your solo (there are exceptions like the Blues scale). And when you play a solo over a C Minor chord you would want to use an Eb (E flat) note. Using this technique will allow the listener to actually hear the chord, even if you are playing single notes and no-one is playing chords.

Have I got you real confused? I hope not.

So, scales are notes that belong to a particular chord, and chords are built from scales. :D

Hoped this helped a little.

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


   
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dogbite
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nice.

that's the way I understand it too.

if you map out your fret board. that is chart each note for each string.
do that all the way up.

you can see the triads (chords) all over the neck. playing those triads really adds nice voicings.

you will be able to play a scale not only in a linear way (one string) but vertically across the fret board.

memorizing scales using the interval number makes it less daunting; especially if you start look at other modes. like Dorian, Ionian etc.

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mushin
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Nice post Wes.

A question you have raised for me.

My understanding was that the chromatic scale included all the semitones where as the pattern you describe (WWHWWWH) was the basis for the Major scale, which is the basis for generating all the other scales.

I have included greybeards link to his very helpful pages (thanks Greybeard)

http://people.freenet.de/greybeard/

Cheers

Mick

Rock on


   
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Wes Inman
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Mushin

Yeah, right after I wrote this post I thought about changing it. As I wrote, I am not a music teacher, so my knowledge of music is pretty limited. I learned guitar completely by ear, but I can read and do when playing piano. Theory only confuses me. :roll:

You are correct. The Chromatic scale includes all the notes. And the Major scale is the basis for chord creation. I probably didn't communicate it well, but the Major is built from the Chromatic.

So thanks for correcting me.

I still hope that my post gave Jamesgrubb an idea of how scales and chords are directly related to each other.

When soloing over a chord, it is good to know the notes that make the chord, and stress these notes in the solo. This can be done by starting or ending a phrase on one of the notes, or just putting accent during a phrase. This will allow the listener to hear the chord changes even when only single notes are played.

Don't have my guitar handy, so I don't know how this will sound, but here is an example of playing scales over a C Major to G Major progression.

C = C, E, and G 1st, 3rd, and 5th tones
G= G, B, and D 1st, 3rd, and 5th tones
C Major chord G Major chord
e------------------------------------------
b---------------------------------------0--
g---------------------------0---0---2------
d-----------0---2--------------------------
a---3---3----------------------------------
e------------------------------------------

Both phrases start with the Root note and end on the 3rd of the respective chord.

Now, I don't have my guitar handy as I wrote this, but you should be able to HEAR this chord change even on single notes.

This is an easy method that will help your soloing. I think you will find it adds much color to your solos. And it is not hard to remember. 8)

I hope this was helpful.

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


   
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mushin
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Thanks Wes.

So if I undrestood, using one of the common notes from each chord during the change tends to help things flow. Does the direction of the melody play a part- ie -if the tune is going down but the chord changes up, will it still sound ok? or does it not really matter due to it going round in circles?

cheers

Mick


   
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lord_ariez
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helpful.

Wes, u should be teaching privatly
So if I undrestood
I wish I could say something really profound on this. You just need to find any scale in right key. You can play from there! Have fun with it

This hurts me to say (since I'm trying desperatly to learn theory) but you need to get a feel for that insttrument, you cant think of circles, fifths, and all that stuff. If you really want to learn why scales are immportant you have to use them in situations that deserve them. Soloing to a backing track can make or break you. I recommend you listen to a song and play along with it, solo the whole time. There are many posts on the msg board that tell you how to find the right key(learning how to decifer the right key is essential) and groovin with the song you're playing along to. I highly recommend that new depressing song by simple plan, its a decent song but it's very nice to solo to. I thinks its call "how could this happen to me"

p.s. learn that song and change the lyrics if u want to impress a girl

8) lol

'You and I in a little toy shop, bought a bag of balloons with the money we got"

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