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shredder567

is major scale enough ??

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a reliable guitarist told me that all u need to know fr playin lead is a good knowledge of major scales...so if i learn da major sclae in all da five positions n then be creative with those notes , will it b enuf ?? it sounds nice to me cuz i can change da key by movin up or down the frets.....am i right???

one more thing...there are millions of amazing guitarists in this world n surely all of em cant have absolute knowledge about all scales cuz from wat i can make out it needs a decent amount of intellect ( which i think i lack ;) ) ..then how do these guys reach at a level where they can improvise n make one hell of a solo...surely there has to b a way out

i hope this is not misinterpreted as me tryin to take an easy way out ( i rlly work hard at guitarin) cuz i'm really curious to find a way through which i can improvise decently wen my buddy gives me any kinda chord progression n not js be stuck in a box...thnx

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First of all Shedder567, Hi and welcome to the forum. You have come to right place to have your questions answered and to learn more about playing.

I am going to leave your question to the more knowledgable on this forum, but will say hang with it and by all means have fun.

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Welcome Shredder! I know what you mean about learning scales. I've ordered Planetalk hoping that is going to help me. Good luck with your search in what will work for you!

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You're right - nobody has absolute knowledge of EVERY scale. In fact, nobody knows every scale, there are hundreds from all over the world. Most of them would be completely useless for imrovising in a western rock style.

You don't actually need any scales. I know some great lead guitarists who don't know any scales at all. But I agree with your guitarist friend about the major scale. If you have a deep knowledge of that, then the possibilities of what you can do with lead, chords, songwriting, arranging etc, are unlimited.

Scales that do find favour among many lead guitarists include:

Major, minor, the modes, the blues scale and the major and minor pentatonics.

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What Fret. said. You need to know how to manipulate the major scale to make it fit with what's going on. Playing a straight major scale over a diminished chord, for instance would be painful. You need to know how, when and where to step out of the major scale to capture the flavour of all the possibilities in making music.

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"You need to know how, when and where to step out of the major scale to capture the flavour of all the possibilities in making music." Ok, that makes perfect sense. Where can I learn that?

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If you really know the major scale(s), then it's much easier to know and understand the others because the major scale is the master template against which the others are measured.

For example: what's known as the Mixolydian mode is really just the major scale with one small adjustment -- the 7 is one semitone flat (b7); The Lydian mode is really just the major scale with a different small adjustment -- the 4 is one semitone sharp (#4). The three minor modes all have one thing in common -- the 3 is one semitone flat (b3) and they differ among themselves by other small adjustments that all refer back to the major scale. So if you really know the major scale, you can easily understand and figure out the others by knowing what adjustments to make to it.

There's another way of understanding it too: the major scale is in fact all seven modes -- check out the thread here http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/workings-music/12791-chord-structure/ and you'll see a post of mine showing the 'scale clock'.

But, you don't really need to know them all to make music. I always recommend that you concentrate on chords, not scales. I never consciously think about scales when playing, but I'm acutely aware of all the chords I'm using, which can be seen as crystallized scales..

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You said something about the 5 different positions. I've heard people talk about the 5 positions for pentatonic scale, where 1 position has a root as the lowest note you can reach, then another position has the next note in the scale as the lowest note you can reach and so on for the 5 notes of the scale or 5 positions. If you can do that then all 5 positions mesh into 1 big position that connects the entire fretboard. I think that guitarist was talking about modes and stuff. The major scale has 7 notes so there are 7 positions. One of these positions (though it would take another topic to explain why this makes sense) is the minor scale, and the other 5 positions will give you the other five modes. So if you know the major scale through and through for the entire fret board you can easily play the minor scale and the other 5 modes too, the diatonic scales (on a side note if you knew the minor scale through and through the same would apply). The minor pent is the minor scale with 2 notes taken out and the blues scale is the minor pent scale with a note added in, so it wouldnt take a long time to go from playing the minor scale into playing the blues scale (but i would recommend the reverse). But to say that is all you need to know is misleading. If a backing track is currently playing a C chord, then the notes C, E and G will be different then say if a Dm chord is playing becauser C, E and G are the notes that make up the C chords, the chord tones. That is important, so you would be able to play a solo w/o hitting a bad not if you knew the major scale through and through but you would play much better if you were aware of what chord was being played and how the notes that you are playing will be different. And to know the major scale though and through takes some time so study chord tones along the way :)

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For example: what's known as the Mixolydian mode is really just the major scale with one small adjustment -- the 7 is one semitone flat (b7); The Lydian mode is really just the major scale with a different small adjustment -- the 4 is one semitone sharp (#4). The three minor modes all have one thing in common -- the 3 is one semitone flat (b3) and they differ among themselves by other small adjustments that all refer back to the major scale. So if you really know the major scale, you can easily understand and figure out the others by knowing what adjustments to make to it.

C Major Scale.

C D E F G A B C

Is also, the Ionian Mode. That is the first Mode. C to C no sharps no flats.

So if we list them all :-

C D E F G A B C - Major Scale - Ionian

D E F G A B C D - Dorian Mode

E F G A B C D E - Phrygian

F G A B C D E F - Lydian

G A B C D E F G - Mixolydian

A B C D E F G A - Aeolian Mode

B C D E F G A B - Locrian

There are no sharps, and no flats anywhere in any of those modes.

Now what I think is confusing the issue, is that you are talking about starting a mode from C.

For instance.

If I wanted to play the Lydian Mode in C, which isn't the same as above, I have to keep the same step pattern.

F t G t A t B s C t D t E s F

C t D t E t F# s G t A t B s C

Now I have the sharpened 4th

This continues on in the way you have explained....7th flattened for the Mixolydian and such.

As long as you follow the step pattern of the Mode when it originates from the Scale of C Major (ie moving up one note at a time as I explained earlier) then you can find the Mode for any Key reasonably quickly.

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Thanks Si16 for fixing my error in the previous post.

For the record I should admit, that what i have posted here has been less for FelixDcat and more for me. Sorry about that Felix.

This has been a huge excercise for me to get this straight in my own head, it is all self learnt and there has to be errors in there somewhere!

So if anyone does see any errors I have made in there, please let me know, as I am not sitting here thinking I am 100% right at the moment.

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a reliable guitarist told me that all u need to know fr playin lead is a good knowledge of major scales...so if i learn da major sclae in all da five positions n then be creative with those notes , will it b enuf ?? it sounds nice to me cuz i can change da key by movin up or down the frets.....am i right???

I just remembered where I saw that,

.
one more thing...there are millions of amazing guitarists in this world n surely all of em cant have absolute knowledge about all scales cuz from wat i can make out it needs a decent amount of intellect ( which i think i lack ;) ) ..then how do these guys reach at a level where they can improvise n make one hell of a solo...surely there has to b a way out
Scales that do find favour among many lead guitarists include:

Major, minor, the modes, the blues scale and the major and minor pentatonics.

If i said you had to do 500 push-ups that would seem like a lot. But if I told you you had 2 years to do them, meaning less than 1 a day, it wouldn't seem so bad. The way I first approached music theory (and guitar) was I'm going to learn everything, I'm gonna learn every chord and every scale and them I'm done. Unfortunately for me that is completely unrealistic, so I just have fun, learn new stuff and try new things out and enjoy it. Ofcourse I still have intentions of learning a ton of specific stuff, but there's no due date :)

i hope this is not misinterpreted as me tryin to take an easy way out

guy talks about mastering the major scale, which you'll see isnt a very easy way out. (plus if you spend enough time to learn all 7 positions of the major scale you would have learned a lot of stuff, and a lot of other stuff too that you would enivatalbly along the way.)

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I've always been of the opinion that you should learn everything, regardless of whether it's strictly neccessary or not.

Well said, gravitas. Soak up as much knowledge as you can ... only then will you know what's important and what's not when it actually comes to playing an instrument. It's all very well to talk, think, debate, discuss and banter on about how music works and the seemingly infinite ways of describing how those 12 notes and time can interact, but when it comes to real time playing, you need to find your 'zone'. Keep learning as much as you can and you'll know it when you get there... and when you do, you'll realize how much more there is to learn.

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a reliable guitarist told me that all u need to know fr playin lead is a good knowledge of major scales...

I know I am jumping in on the end of this, but that isn't really true.

Stevie Ray Vaughan never really used the major scale, and while useful in some instances, is not always the best choice in other genres or contexts. The major scale is useful to learn in terms of a better understanding of theory, so it would be good to learn its construction and how it relates to harmony

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Great question shred

My way of thinking is kind of Zen like. That is you might want to learn all the theory but then you must unlearn it and empty out so the song can be itself. If you consider a lead solo by theory only how r u ever going to give the song it's own soul.

If theres any one mode to get a hang of it's got to be the major.

Minors and pentatonics have an immediate sense of sameness about them. Melody is #1 consideration, you can do more of that with a good understanding of the major scales and an open mind than yo can with many of the other minor scales.

But knowledge is power bro, the more you know the further you go.

Just remember though that your intuition is Boss.

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I heartily disagree. Every mode has it's own seperate character, it's own colour, regardless of what scale it's from. They're like their own chords. I'd say it's beneficial to learn the harmonic and melodic minors too, as well as all of their modes.

It just doesn't make sense to me that anyone would be violently opposed to learning scales, especially seeing as their constructions are symmetrical, as well as identical to chord makeup. I'm not knocking Kirk's method, don't get me wrong. Just don't lock any doors before you know what's behind them.

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There are 3 symmetrical scales.

Chromatic, Diminished & Whole Tone.

The Major, Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor are asymmetrical as are the Major and Minor Pentatonic.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about how scales relate to learning an instrument. Scales are primarily a device to train a beginner how to develop dexterity and how to locate the notes in each key. Ask anyone who has ever had piano lessons. They first learn the 5 finger pattern in C. Then they add the rest of the scale and learn to play Mary Had a Little Lamb orTwinkle,Twinkle Little Star.

Modern rock is predominantly a scalar music. You can learn to play a lot of rock with pentatonic & diatonic scales. But if you ever decide to move into other types of music, scales won't cut it. Neither will modes.

The information needed to improvise competently and intelligently is found in scales but is not the scale itself.

Regards,

Monk

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C Major Scale.

C D E F G A B C

Is also, the Ionian Mode. That is the first Mode. C to C no sharps no flats.

So if we list them all :-

C D E F G A B C - Major Scale - Ionian

D E F G A B C D - Dorian Mode

E F G A B C D E - Phrygian

F G A B C D E F - Lydian

G A B C D E F G - Mixolydian

A B C D E F G A - Aeolian Mode

B C D E F G A B - Locrian

There are no sharps, and no flats anywhere in any of those modes.

Now what I think is confusing the issue, is that you are talking about starting a mode from C.

For instance.

If I wanted to play the Lydian Mode in C, which isn't the same as above, I have to keep the same step pattern.

F t G t A t B s C t D t E s F

C t D t E t F# s G t A t B s C

Now I have the sharpened 4th

This continues on in the way you have explained....7th flattened for the Mixolydian and such.

As long as you follow the step pattern of the Mode when it originates from the Scale of C Major (ie moving up one note at a time as I explained earlier) then you can find the Mode for any Key reasonably quickly.

Thanks fong

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