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# Most Efficient Way to Learn Scales

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Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 186
Topic starter

Knowing that I will have to learn everything eventually, what is the best and quickest way to learn scales. I'm looking to improve my lead playing. Should I be learning all of the notes and intervals right off the bat or learning the patterns up and down the neck Again, I know that I'll want to learn all of that eventually. It just seems a bit overwhelming right now, so I want to focus on one area a little more.

(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1024

My instructor insisted that I learned the notes on the strings, at the very least (to start with) were the notes on the 5th and 6th strings. Doing that I'd also know the notes on the 1st string (1st and 6th are tuned to E yes?).

Then he taught me the Minor Pent Scale (First position). During a lesson he said, "Find me the C Minor Pent Scale."

I hesitated at first, then he said, "OK find the C on the first string with your index finger."
I proudly moved to the 8th fret, then he said "OK". "Now show me your scale, anchoring off that fret with your index finger."

Needless to say I had a " :idea: " MOMENT!!!

"Hey wait a sec....", I said. "Ok so if that's that... then if I slide my index to the 3rd fret 1st string and used the same pattern that would be a G minor.....????"

He just smiled and said yes.. then demonstrated how to improvise using that one scale pattern. And said, "Now you can find any Minor Pent scale off the 1st and/or 6th string.... one of the reasons I wanted you to learn the notes on those strings right away."

Of course the 'box' pattern for the minor pent scale changes when the root is on the 5th string, 4th string, 3rd string etc. But that first position pattern was enough to keep me going and feeling more confident for a while.

That was a few years ago, but I remember it well because it was on of those "EPIPHONE" (Correct pronunciation - not the guitar brand) moments.

Being a huge Led Zepp fan, and learning Mr. Page's riffs I'm "STILL" discovering how often he uses Minor Pent scales all over the place for those songs that I've always loved and wanted to learn how to play. Saying that I think it could be helpful when learning songs that you be aware where the riffs are and how they relate to a given scale. It might help things 'click' better....for me it did.

I was so stuck "In the box" and not knowing how to 'use' any of that knowledge until I started learning songs.

I hope that helps...

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

(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5840

That would be "Epiphany", Dags :D :D

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?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN

(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2717

Epiphone was much cleverer.
Good post, Dag.
I just started pentatonics.
Not sure what to do with it but hopefully I'll be using it someday.

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.

(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2717

"what is the best and quickest way to learn scales."

What?
You mean that's oxymoronic?
Or am I the moron here? (which is usually the case)

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.

(@heyesie)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 40

Yeah, an Oxymoron. The best way to learn scales will never be the quickest.
Why does someone always come along with a negative sarcasm
He does not need sarcasm
I found Dags message very helpful also
At least he was willing to pass on his knowledge
Rather than be elitist
You should never knock down anyone

Many are called but few are chosen.

(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 973

Yeah, an Oxymoron. The best way to learn scales will never be the quickest.
Why does someone always come along with a negative sarcasm
He does not need sarcasm

I think you may have misunderstood Neztok's post. He wasn't being sarcastic. He helpfully pointed out that the phrase "best and quickest way to learn scales" is a contradiction in terms, or oxymoron. There are quick ways to learn scales but the best way is to learn them thoroughly which takes time.

(@simonhome-co-uk)
Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 677

I learn a scale like this. First, just read it off the page and follow it up and down a few times - just play it straight, so it gets into your short term memory. Then perhaps a few basic patterns up n down - like 3s n 4s. Then, to embed into your long term memory - improvise over it. Get to know the sounds n what notes work n how etc

(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4472

It's very easy, especially over the Internet, to take things as sarcasm that weren't necessarily meant to be. Especially when someone takes the time to dash off a quick "joke" note to a post and then not take the time to make a more meaningful comment.

Like every forum that's out there, we've members that run the whole spectrum of responses. Also, (and also, I assume like every other forum that's out there) we've got members who are constantly growing and learning how to better communicate with each other over the Internet. It's too easy to hit the "submit" button without thinking about how a message can be misread.

I'm sorry you felt that someone was being needlessly sarcastic with you. And I also agree that the post in question certainly could make one feel that way.

But let's get past that and get back to the topic at hand...

Peace

(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4472

Ah, but that's an easy cop-out answer. Actually giving it the time and effort might turn you into a teacher, and the world could certainly use more of those! :wink:

And you would probably be a very good one, no lie!

Peace

(@heyesie)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 40

Sometimes the truth hurts. That's what I'm here for. My advice would be to learn the notes of the fretboard to begin with.
There are better ways of explaining
Everyone has to start somewhere
Once you reach a desired level
To help would be better than to look down on

Many are called but few are chosen.

Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 186
Topic starter

I didn't mean to start anything here. I understood the humor in the sarcasm and I know that in the end, it's better to avoid the shortcut route. I'm looking for suggestions to do it as efficiently as I can.

It's all good. Let's all just get along.

(@tommy-guns)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 314

This is what I did (and still do everyday) to learn each of the Major/Minor scales (not the "exotic" or Harmonic Minor) and and how to play them fluently. I start with the Ionian scale in G (3rd Fret). I play the box pattern from the 6th string to the 1st string and back again. I do this all the way up the neck in the different keys (G-A-B) etc. Then I play the Dorian pattern through the Locrian pattern the same way. Then I play these patterns in 3rds (1-2-3-1...2-3-4-2). Then I play the (5) pentatonic patterns...same way.

Then I practice playing scale runs, starting on (G) 3rd fret running through the scales and ending on (G) 15th fret.

BTW - It took me a year or a little longer to really feel comfortable playing each of the modal "box" patterns (just the first part). So don't get discouraged...it takes time to really master it.

Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!

(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2717

Ionian?
Dorian?
This is all so Greek to me.
Weren't the Greek columns also named with these?
Arrrgggghhh
Someday I hope to appreciate all of this.
Meanwhile, Every Animal Does Get Bitten Eventually is my mnemonic for remembering the open strings.
And then you guys start mentioning drop tuning something!
Arrrggghhhhh

Feel the frustration?
KR2

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.

(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8184

i found that by simply playing in a scale by ear, the shape of the scale made itself apparent to me over time. also, chords from the scale reveal a lot. you can also learn the different shapes of the scale, the positions and all that. of course, there's also learnin to play songs that use whatever scale you're learning. they all lend different approaches and native sounds. the goal is to just become comfortable in whatever scale you're playing that you're not stuck or limited by your knowledge and are able to simply play and enjoy or play for a purpose or whatever.

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