Grump

Question on Scales and Modes Lessons

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Hi Solid W.

I just read the lesson on Modes and then the first lesson on scales. I have a couple of questions if you have the time or patience to indulge.

a) I don't think that I understand scales at the bigger picture level..

What do scales achieve, i.e. set of notes that sound good together?; finger practice?; chord composition? etc.

If I look at the chart, the 2nd string C major scale makes sense but why don't I see more notes in the first position version? Is there a pitch order or is mix and match in play?

Some scales seem to be patterns associated with playing lead, why is that? Why do they seem to vary depending on source?

More than enough for now.

Thanks,

Curt

P.S. Great nickname, why did you pick that? Why, why, why....LOL

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What do scales achieve, i.e. set of notes that sound good together?; finger practice?; chord composition? etc.

Yes to all three. :)

Scales are a way to group sets of notes together. There are LOTS of different scales and each one gets its unique "sound" by notes contained in the scale.

Scales can also be used as finger exercises. This is a common use for scales.

And scales are also used for chord composition. Even those who are not lead guitarists and don't play scales much (like me) you can still put scales to good use in creating chords and even chord progressions. The major and minor scales are the two scales most used for this purpose although you can use other scales too. I have a lesson on using the major scale for creating chords HERE and a lesson on using the major scale for chord progressions HERE.

If I look at the chart, the 2nd string C major scale makes sense but why don't I see more notes in the first position version? Is there a pitch order or is mix and match in play?

The other notes are there, they are in the "open" position. The D G and B notes are played with the open string and are not fretted on the fretboard.

-tkr

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P.S. Great nickname, why did you pick that? Why, why, why....LOL

I picked solidwalnut first years ago when I was choosing a name for my songwriting company. The only electric guitar I've ever had, and I bought it brand new, is a solid walnut 1979 Les Paul 'The Paul'. Solid Walnut Music was the name that I chose, and when I began hanging around on the 'net I chose the handle 'solidwalnut' for every user name. It's funny how things just stick.

Did Tekker get all your questions answered?

Steve

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First thanks to both of you. You're inspiring me to try a little harder with my guitar related efforts.

Tekker your embedded lessons are excellent the explanations were clear and concise although I'm going to have to work on the chord progression a little in order to really comprehend that lesson to any degree.

I do have a couple of questions left :D ;

1) Is it correct to say that, if I study scales in regard to chords, the benefits will be a) figuring out chords in a song (if I recognize the key), and B) constructing a song if I start writing those things?

2) Does this relate to leads in a similar manner? For instance, Tennesee Stud or Amy have leads in the rhythm (pick your song here), should I expect those leads to be based on the key notes?

Or,

3) Am I missing the boat, is there a generally sound approach regarding how I should be building a foundation here?

I'm just trying to get a handle on how to think about this stuff so that I progress better.

Thanks again,

Curt

P.S. I thought that an instrument might be a player in the nickname story Steve but for some reason I was guessing an acoustic. I have a Les Paul as well (that I love but don't play much, more of an acoustic guy I guess) .

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1) Is it correct to say that, if I study scales in regard to chords, the benefits will be a) figuring out chords in a song (if I recognize the key), and B) constructing a song if I start writing those things?

Curt, it's my take that attempting to undertake a study of scales is something for beyond the beginning guitar player. Maybe other than understanding the major scale and it's intervals. It's also my take that, no, I think that a study of chords will lead you to recognize scales. You'll be able to recognize and study songs this way. And the same goes for when you start writing them.

2) Does this relate to leads in a similar manner? For instance, Tennesee Stud or Amy have leads in the rhythm (pick your song here), should I expect those leads to be based on the key notes?

They are related to the key notes. Those riffs come from the notes within the chord. The melody always can be found within the chord!

Or,

3) Am I missing the boat, is there a generally sound approach regarding how I should be building a foundation here?

I'm not going to tell you that you're missing the boat. But I will tell you that I think you should learn the guitar from a chord and chord formation aspect first. You'll see how all notes can be found from the chords. There are five basic chord formations: C, A, G, E and D. These formations move up the neck. Think of the neck as a sliding scale. But think of that later. My take is to learn chords, the major scale and it's intervals in the key of C and then take it from there.

After you get in touch with this info, this will lead you right in to Kirk's Plane Talk method when you're ready.

P.S. I thought that an instrument might be a player in the nickname story Steve but for some reason I was guessing an acoustic. I have a Les Paul as well (that I love but don't play much, more of an acoustic guy I guess).

I consider myself more of an acoustic guy, too. I think that my acoustic playing has helped my electric playing. They're two different animals, but they come from the same mold.

Steve

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1) Is it correct to say that, if I study scales in regard to chords, the benefits will be a) figuring out chords in a song (if I recognize the key), and B) constructing a song if I start writing those things?

I guess it depends on the situation. If you're trying to stick to the major scale (or minor scale), then yes starting with that can help you figure out what chords to play to stay within the realms of that key. This can really help when creating extended chords (7ths, 9ths, etc) as you can see by building chords off the major scale what these intervals should be. This can be very beneficial when writing songs. It may or may not work when learning songs because the song you are trying to figure out may or may not follow the scale exactly. So going from scales to chords I would say is most helpful when writing songs unless you know that the song follows a particular scale.

But, you don't have to "lock" yourself into a certain scale or key when writing either. In fact you can just let your ears guide you completely without paying any attention to any kind of musical theory. If it sounds good to you, then it is good. However, the major and minor scales are a "standard" that contain chords that work well together. So it can be beneficial to start with the standards and learn the guidelines to train your ear before breaking them. :winkthumb:

solidwalnut,

I love the way you created a separate Lesson Guide to organize your lessons..... Hope you don't mind me stealing that from you. :D

-tkr

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solidwalnut,

I love the way you created a separate Lesson Guide to organize your lessons..... Hope you don't mind me stealing that from you. :D

-tkr

Heck no. Go for it. Thanks for the kudos.

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