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Thread: using scales

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    Default using scales

    how do i use scales to improve my playing? i am trying to get out of a serious rut. my problem is, i dont know how to tie the stuff i already know together to make complete songs.
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    Ultimate Tone Member Kev's Avatar
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    Default Re: using scales

    Quote Originally Posted by tenniso
    how do i use scales to improve my playing? i am trying to get out of a serious rut. my problem is, i dont know how to tie the stuff i already know together to make complete songs.
    Its the problem every guitarist faces dude. No matter how many scales you know, if you cant be creative then thats the problem, and i also face it. Scales are just a mathematical tool, not music, music is in the creativity, and the ability to adapt these scales to create certain flavours in your playing. Its weird telling you this, because im telling it to myself too! And just as i right this, ive had a bloody monstrously close lightning strike right outside my house, it sounded like a spark and the thunder was instant, thats how close it was ! YIKES. It must be trying to tell us something...
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    Default Re: using scales

    then maybe i need to learn theory and chord families. i am completly self taught and that is a double edged sword.
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up
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    You cannot build character
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    You cannot help people by doing for them,
    what they could do for themselves

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker JammerMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: using scales

    Yes, consider taking some lessons from a schooled musician if you can. It costs $$, but will save you years of time.
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    Default Re: using scales

    Well dude, this is definitly a great place to pose some questions, there are alot of knowledgeable guitar players in here, and a range of different style's too. So why dont you toss out some things you want to learn, and the guy's on this forum will help you out, also, if you have any questions, PM me man, I'd be happy to help..
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    Default Re: using scales

    Yeah, being self-taught can get you into to a rut... Depending on how long you stay self taugh will determine how long you can.. Realizing that you have limitations is a step in the right direction... I played for about 12 years as a self taught musician.. I could play the hell of rhytm and just about anyone's solo lick for lick... When Iwent to the Atlanta Institute of Music, however, I found myself in a creatively padded room... Sure I could play solos that went with the songs, but play something I didnt know, or just jam... I was lost... Learnign scales itself will not allow you to wake up one day blazing away... but it helps to give you a guideline of what works "best" in certain keys.... I know peopl whoe have never studied yet have pretty creative licks... the thing isnt how creative you ARE, but how creative you CAN BE!!! Dont limit yourself...

    As far as how to use scales...

    Once you learn the scales in a linear fashion from the lowest note on the neck to the highest note.. start playing in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, octaves and just randomly playing the intervals of the scale...

    That will help you learn the locations of the notes in the scale in a manner that you can use... you will also find that you discover some cool licks noodling around like that!

    Hope this gave some insight on your question...

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    Default Re: using scales

    thanks alot guys, i really appreciate the help. my biggest problem is, i'll be playing a piece of music i wrote, and then i dont know where to go next, i just hit a wall. i can read a little tab, but it is very time consumig and frustrating. fortunately, i have a good ear, and can play anything i am shown pretty easily.

    i am thinking about taking theory and music lessons when i get back in school this fall. meanwhile, any suggestions for practice that you guys can offer will be greatly appreciated.

    thanks, and rock on!
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up
    by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot build character
    by taking away people's initiative and independence.
    You cannot help people by doing for them,
    what they could do for themselves

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker JammerMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: using scales

    Unfortunately, if you dive into a theory book all on your own, you risk just being overwhelmed. I remember buying that dreadnought "Guitar Grimoire" and just being confused. The rules in their basic form are really quite simple. However, it's not simple until you know how.. sort of like a bicycle.

    IMO, the most important thing you need to do right this minute is to learn the names of the notes in all positions on the fretboard and learn the C major scale at all locations on the fretboard. I think you should proceed in this order.

    1. Learn the 5 major scale patterns in the Key of C. (Some will say 7, my teacher taught me 5, so that's how I learned.) You can find these virtually anywhere either on the internet or in most books. These patterns will come up time and again when you decide to venture into other keys, modes, etc. They are absolute building blocks.

    2. Next you need to learn the notes, and where they're located. This is going to sound ridiculous, but believe me it works. As you're playing through your scale patterns, you must say the names of the notes OUT LOUD. Saying it just reinforces so much more than silence. You will be surprised how difficult it can be to say the alphabet backwards G to A - and I still have to think about that one.

    3. Get a beginning Mel Bay book. Go through it piece by piece until you can play everything. Repeat the names of the notes as you play. The first time through, you will learn all the notes at 1st position. If you're really serious, you'll go through the book again and again in all 5 positions (okay, 7) until you know your Cmajor dead on. (Hint hint - C major = A minor. Probably THE most popular rock guitar key)

    Do not proceed any further until you've got that down. Don't overwhelm yourself with all the other stuff until you've got that stuff down cold. How often does anyone play the inverted Hungarian minor, double-dog whammy dare sooper dooper double pentatonic scale? You will get tons of mileage out of Cmaj (Amin) and Gmaj (Emin). Dozens of AC/DC songs cannot be wrong.
    Last edited by JammerMatt; 07-04-2005 at 03:54 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott_F View Post
    On that day, should I ever be so unlucky, I will expect an unholy assault of pure metal mayhem attacking all my senses with a little tiny voice in the background screaming Effing Hails!

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    Default Re: using scales

    Quote Originally Posted by JammerMatt
    1. Learn the 5 major scale patterns in the Key of C. (Some will say 7, my teacher taught me 5, so that's how I learned.)
    Actually, there are 8.
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    Default Re: using scales

    Quote Originally Posted by TwilightOdyssey
    Actually, there are 8.
    That is a point of view argument as old as time... At the 12th fret, you are playing the same pattern, only an octave higher.... So, I would only interject to defend the valididty of the claim to 5 positions, (C,A,G,E,D).... and am not trying to start a debate.. May the 4th be with you!!!!!
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    Default Re: using scales

    thanks so much guys, and keep it coming. its very helpful to have you all as backup.
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up
    by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot build character
    by taking away people's initiative and independence.
    You cannot help people by doing for them,
    what they could do for themselves

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    Default Re: using scales

    Quote Originally Posted by tenniso
    thanks so much guys, and keep it coming. its very helpful to have you all as backup.

    Yes, im enjoying this too!
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    Default Re: using scales

    Quote Originally Posted by tenniso
    then maybe i need to learn theory and chord families. i am completly self taught and that is a double edged sword.

    Find a good teacher. It is worth the $. You will find that working with a teacher will speed up your ability to make sense out of all the scales. It will also inspire you to practice more.

    Search out a teacher that will fit your personality..... you have to feel that he or she will teach you what you want to learn, yet at the same time teach you what you NEED to learn. Be patient..... if you are self taught as many of us are you may have to take a step backwards before you can move forward.
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    Default Re: using scales

    several things to say

    1 the advice already on this page is good stuff! listen well to it and you wont go far wrong.

    2 you have a good ear? then try playing chords to a song (maby one of ur own) in a diferant position. you can do this by trasposing notes in the chord you aleady know to diferant octaves and playing the same notes but of diferent strings... i hope thats not too confusing.
    this way you will come up with new shapes, now take your new shapes and cange a finger or 2 and make it still sound nice. you may invent chords you never new existed.
    this way you will have new chords that (because you are using your ear to decide what sounds "nice") will fit with the old chords, and hence could form a nother part of a song you like

    i like that aproach beceause it avoids theory that would otherwise take time to learn and relys on an ear that may have somthing to offer that theory dosnt.
    after all id say that untill you know quite advanced theory, its hard to break out of the rigidness of scales. eg odd jazz chords, the theory behind those takes people through 5 year degrees!!!!! not somthing you can learn at home. but just by messing around with new shapes you might discover somthing that you might only discover after 4 years of theory learning...........

    just my 3 cents anyhooooooo

    hope that helps

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    Default Re: using scales

    Quote Originally Posted by Bludave
    Find a good teacher. It is worth the $. You will find that working with a teacher will speed up your ability to make sense out of all the scales. It will also inspire you to practice more.

    Search out a teacher that will fit your personality..... you have to feel that he or she will teach you what you want to learn, yet at the same time teach you what you NEED to learn. Be patient..... if you are self taught as many of us are you may have to take a step backwards before you can move forward.
    there is a guy really close to my house that gives lessons,and he is a badass on rock and blues playing. he draws a crowd when he tries out gear at guitar center. he's a friendly guy too. i am thinking about going to him for lessons. should be fun!
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up
    by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot build character
    by taking away people's initiative and independence.
    You cannot help people by doing for them,
    what they could do for themselves

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    Senior Member Third Eye Visions's Avatar
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    Default Re: using scales

    Quote Originally Posted by tenniso
    there is a guy really close to my house that gives lessons,and he is a badass on rock and blues playing. he draws a crowd when he tries out gear at guitar center. he's a friendly guy too. i am thinking about going to him for lessons. should be fun!
    It's a good start.

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