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Minor Pent. vs. other scales

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(@mwilliams)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Hi all...a quick one for the enlightened (been playing for a year and a half FWIW):

As Blues is my primary focus, I've spent a good bit of time on the Minor Pent. and Blues scales. I'm now comfortable with the 5 boxes in most keys, locating the root notes and playing up and down the neck. Phrasing is coming along as well. I'm a bit of a jam-band guy as well and I'd really like to start improving using the Major scale, Dorian and Mixolydian modes. My question is this...should these be learned using the same "box" approach...or are these different animals? All replies welcome and appreciated.

Take care,

Mike


   
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(@musenfreund)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

Regarding the modes, learn them by learning how to play the major scales up and down the neck. The modes just really shift the scale. (For example, if you play the C major scale with D as the starting point or tonal center, it's the Dorian mode). So start out by focusing on the major scale up and down the neck.

Hope that made sense.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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The guitar (any fretted instrument, really) has a chromatic layout, which makes it different from other instruments. Other instruments need to learn the names of the notes before they can play scales in new keys, while on the guitar a fingering that doesn't have open strings can simply be shifted to put it into another key. That's why guitarists end up with 'box' patterns.

Any scale can be approached with boxes. You can have as many unique boxes as there are notes in the scale - that's why the pentatonic has five.

So you could approach it that way, and it'll make sense to you.

But a better way to go in the long run is to actually learn the notes, and the spellings of the scales. That makes altering things on the fly really easy.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@anonymous)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

i do this: i pick a random note, let that be the root(or 3rd or 6th or whatever), and then try to play up and down and all around in a scale, with whatever melodies and rhythms pop into my mind.


   
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(@mwilliams)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 50
Topic starter  

Thanks for the replies all...much appreciated!

NoteBoat, by saying "a better way to go in the long run is to actually learn the notes, and the spellings of the scales. That makes altering things on the fly really easy."...

I'm hoping I'm following you. Basically, learn the entire fretboard and the notes in each scale (major will be my initial focus). From there, bounce around using the scale notes, not just box patterns. By knowing all the notes, jumping into a scale/mode (for example) is an easier transition.

I aplologize if I'm being thick here...I just want to hit the ground running rather than spinning my wheels on bad practice.

Thanks again!

Mike


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Yep, that's exactly what I'm saying. If you know the fretboard, the scale spellings, and the spellings of chords, you can make decisions without relying on boxes. You can interpret chords that tell you to #5 or b9 quickly, and you can more easily target chord tones for use in your phrases.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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