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 A Visual Approach To The Major Modes, Exercise, Theory and Application Lesson
Jan 6 2009, 04:12 PM
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A Visual Approach to the Major Modes

Lesson Structure

--------------

1. Introduction

3. Exercise for Getting Comfortable with Fingering Forms

4. Some Theory Behind the Major Modes

5. Application

6. Conclussion
--------------

0. About Author (That's me )

My name's Can Karakuzulu, I am a 26 years old guy from Istanbul, Turkey and I've been playing electric guitar for nine beautiful years. I partly share Kris' story about being recently serious about electric guitar and I assure you GMC is the best place to do this. I am one of the chosen intermediate mentors from our MTP program.

1. Introduction

Hey there people,

Welcome to my 3rd S.I Lesson and Second Video Lesson titled "A Visual Approach to the Major Modes".

In this lesson, I want to show you an approach to the major modes that I find useful. The story behind this is related to a mistake I made a few years back in time, which proved to be very fortunate.

You see, I am self taught and I used internet since I started to play electric guitar, back then I didn't have a internet connection at home, so I was going to a local internet cafe to download lessons and print them, to be studied later at home. In one of those days, I was really sick of myself being a total ignorant of music theory, so I found a free lesson on the net and I printed it. And by mistake, in place of a simple music theory lesson I downloaded a major mods lesson. It took my two years to understand that major scale is actually the ionian scale and the natural minor scale was the aeolian But in this early years, this mistake greately improved my understanding of scales and thus, I discovered a visual approach to the mod playing in electric guitar.

My approach is based on three notes per string mechanic, therefore we will use three forms below:

Form 1: Fingering: 1-3-4 (index-ring-pinky)

CODE
example:
-
e||----------------------------------5-7-8--
B||----------------------------5-7-8--------
G||---------------------5-7-8---------------
D||---------------5-7-8---------------------
A||--------5-7-8----------------------------
E||-5-7-8-----------------------------------

Form 2: Fingering: 1-2-4 (index-middle-pinky)

CODE
example:
-
e||----------------------------------5-6-8--
B||----------------------------5-6-8--------
G||---------------------5-6-8---------------
D||---------------5-6-8---------------------
A||--------5-6-8----------------------------
E||-5-6-8-----------------------------------

Form 3: Fingering: 1-2-4 wide (index-middle-pinky)

CODE
example:
-
e||----------------------------------5-7-9--
B||----------------------------5-7-9--------
G||---------------------5-7-9---------------
D||---------------5-7-9---------------------
A||--------5-7-9----------------------------
E||-5-7-9-----------------------------------

3. Exercise for Getting Comfortable with Fingering Forms

It is imperative that you are comfortable with these three forms, and not only in legato but also in alternate picking. So, turn on your metronome, set to a low speed and try playing this not only in ascending way but also in descending and in reverse too. An exemple exercice might be the following:

Exercise for Form 1:

CODE
Exercise Tabs:
-
e||---------------------------------------------------------------5-7-8-8-7-5--
B||---------------------------------------------------5-7-8-8-7-5--------------
G||---------------------------------------5-7-8-8-7-5--------------------------
D||---------------------------5-7-8-8-7-5--------------------------------------
A||--------------5-7-8-8-7-5---------------------------------------------------
E||-5-7-8-8-7-5----------------------------------------------------------------

-

e||-5-7-8-8-7-5----------------------------------------------------------------
B||--------------5-7-8-8-7-5---------------------------------------------------
G||---------------------------5-7-8-8-7-5--------------------------------------
D||---------------------------------------5-7-8-8-7-5--------------------------
A||---------------------------------------------------5-7-8-8-7-5--------------
E||---------------------------------------------------------------5-7-8-8-7-5--

4. Some Theory Behind the Major Modes

Although it is perfectly explained in Andrew's Theory Board (great lessons there Andy ), I want to talk briefly about major modes.

You see, we have here the good old major scale, and for the ease of understanding I will use the key C (or just to save myself typing lots of b's and #'s)

C D E F G A B C

Some of you already know (and all of you should!!!) that a major scale is not about the notes but about the intervals between notes, that we have to have a pattern of intervals, which when applied starting from a selected note gives us its major scales. Lets extract that pattern:

CODE
C___D___E___F___G___A___B___C
1 1 1/2 1 1 1 1/2

It must be understood that on the fretboard, wherever you start to execute that pattern of intervals you are playing the major scale of the starting note. Like:

from E:

CODE
E___F#__G#__A___B___C#__D#__E
1 1 1/2 1 1 1 1/2

Please note that my hand motion is identical. I just change my starting point.

Lets get back to our track, what about major modes? What are they? As obvious as it sounds, major modes are derived from the major scale. When applied to C major:

CODE

Mode 1 is C D E F G A B C it means the major scale itself and its also called the IONIAN mode.
Mode 2 is D E F G A B C D , also named DORIAN,
Mode 3 is E F G A B C D E , also named PHRYGIAN,
Mode 4 is F G A B C D E F , also named LYDIAN,
Mode 5 is G A B C D E F G , also named MIXOLYDIAN,
Mode 6 is A B C D E F G A , also named AEOLIAN and guys this is the NATURAL MINOR scale ,
Mode 7 is B C D E F G A B , also named LOCRIAN

Please note that these notes are the modular scales derived from C major only, thus notes are irrevelant to the modes.
If we extract the intervals, we'll see that each mode, has its own interval sequence between the notes.

So for IONIAN intervals are : 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1/2
DORIAN : 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1
PHRYGIAN : 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1
LYDIAN : 1 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1/2
MIXOLYDIAN : 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1
AEOLIAN(NATURAL MINOR) : 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1
LOCRIAN : 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1

-This is becoming more of a theory lesson and my head is about to explode!

No, it is quite easy actually, and this will be very clear when we apply it in the next step

5. Application

As mentioned in the first step we have three forms, lets write the intervals of these forms

Form 1: 1 - 3 - 4 pattern
Intervals: (1) (1/2)

Form 2: 1 - 2 - 4 pattern
Intervals: (1/2) (1)

Form 3: 1 - 2 - 4 wide pattern
Intervals: (1) (1)

So we must be able to cover the whole major mode intervals by using only these three forms... Yes, this is a great idea!

So A IONIAN can be played as follows:

CODE
A Ionian:
-
e||-----------------------------------------
B||-----------------------------------------
G||-----------------------------------------
D||---------------6-7----------------------- (form 2 incomplete)
A||--------5-7-9---------------------------- (form 3)
E||-5-7-9----------------------------------- (form 3)

this is A IONIAN because we started by the 5th fret on the lower E string, and that particular note is A.

if we go all the way down the neck:

CODE
A Ionian all the way down the neck
-
e||-------------------------------------7-9-10 (form 1)
B||-----------------------------7-9-10-------- (form 1)
G||----------------------6-7-9---------------- (form 2)
D||---------------6-7-9----------------------- (form 2)
A||--------5-7-9------------------------------ (form 3)
E||-5-7-9------------------------------------- (form 3)

Sure for this to be a true A Ionian scale we must end it at any A it may be the 10th fret at B string or we continue to 17th fret at high E string as I did later in the video.

Actually when soloing we dont need to play whole scale runs, all we need is only a pattern of notes, so this form approach helps us to draw a line between inside scale notes and out of scale ones.

Then we can extract all the others, but I made it already for you

CODE
A Dorian:
-
e||-------------------------------------7-8-10 (form 2)
B||-----------------------------7-8-10-------- (form 2)
G||----------------------5-7-9---------------- (form 3)
D||---------------5-7-9----------------------- (form 3)
A||--------5-7-9------------------------------ (form 3)
E||-5-7-8------------------------------------- (form 1)

CODE
A Phrygian:
-
e||-------------------------------------6-8-10 (form 3)
B||-----------------------------6-8-10-------- (form 3)
G||----------------------5-7-9---------------- (form 3)
D||---------------5-7-8----------------------- (form 1)
A||--------5-7-8------------------------------ (form 1)
E||-5-6-8------------------------------------- (form 2)

CODE
A Lydian:
-
e||-------------------------------------7-9-11 (form 3)
B||-----------------------------7-9-10-------- (form 1)
G||----------------------6-8-9---------------- (form 1)
D||---------------6-7-9----------------------- (form 2)
A||--------6-7-9------------------------------ (form 2)
E||-5-7-9------------------------------------- (form 3)

CODE
A Mixolydian:
-
e||-------------------------------------7-9-10 (form 1)
B||-----------------------------7-8-10-------- (form 2)
G||----------------------6-7-9---------------- (form 2)
D||---------------5-7-9----------------------- (form 3)
A||--------5-7-9------------------------------ (form 3)
E||-5-7-9------------------------------------- (form 3)

CODE
A Aeolian(A natural minor):
-
e||-------------------------------------7-8-10 (form 2)
B||-----------------------------6-8-10-------- (form 3)
G||----------------------5-7-9---------------- (form 3)
D||---------------5-7-9----------------------- (form 3)
A||--------5-7-8------------------------------ (form 1)
E||-5-7-8------------------------------------- (form 1)

CODE
A Locrian:
-
e||-------------------------------------6-8-10 (form 3)
B||-----------------------------6-8-10-------- (form 3)
G||----------------------5-7-8---------------- (form 1)
D||---------------5-7-8----------------------- (form 1)
A||--------5-6-8------------------------------ (form 2)
E||-5-6-8------------------------------------- (form 2)

The great thing about guitar is that, you can change the first note wherever you want, without changing the motion pattern you are always playing the same mode. And you'll notice that if you decide to start to play on the lower string you actually play another mode using the same forms. Lets take the locrian pattern:

CODE
A Locrian:
-
e||-------------------------------------6-8-10 (form 3)
B||-----------------------------6-8-10-------- (form 3)
G||----------------------5-7-8---------------- (form 1)
D||---------------5-7-8----------------------- (form 1)
A||--------5-6-8------------------------------ (form 2)
E||-5-6-8------------------------------------- (form 2)

While playing this pattern, we are actually playing a D Phrygian starting from the A string, a G Aeolian starting from the D string a C Dorian starting from the G string and F Ionian starting from the B string.

6. Conclussion

At the end you must always keep in mind that, modes are not about notes, they are about intervals. And also as B string is half note flat in relation to others, it shifts our forms one fret higher.

I hope you find my way of learning the major modes useful, they are very handy to create diferent feels on a solo, and by memorizing them you can use them to make very cool sounding speed runs. See you in my next S.I Lesson...

note: As this was a quite massive lesson, please inform me of my mistakes so that I can fix them. And for the records I want to say: I hate codeboxes, thank you.

edit: some typo and some clarification added.

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This post has been edited by enforcer: Jan 7 2009, 12:56 PM

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Jan 7 2009, 12:47 AM
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Nicely layed out enforcer. Very well done. You explained everything really well.

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"Think of a guitar solo as a paragraph. You need a clear beginning, a middle, and an end. Look at musical phrases like sentences, and make sure you break them up using punctuation—or space. You pause naturally when conversing, right? If you don't, you'll bore the listener. The same thing will happen with your audience if your solo is one dimensional. You'll wear them out and lose their attention." —Tom Principato
Jan 7 2009, 01:10 AM
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QUOTE (UncleSkillet @ Jan 7 2009, 01:47 AM)
Nicely layed out enforcer. Very well done. You explained everything really well.

Thank you buddy, these are kind words

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Jan 7 2009, 01:33 AM
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From: Szczecin, Poland
Nice put, a good approach to remember all this stuff
thanks!

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utak3r.pl
Jan 7 2009, 01:51 AM
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QUOTE (utak3r @ Jan 7 2009, 02:33 AM)
Nice put, a good approach to remember all this stuff
thanks!

Thank you man

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Jan 7 2009, 02:10 AM
Posts: 287
Joined: 2-March 08
From: Australia
Very useful and informative lesson, Can, particularly for beginners.

Under section 5 you might consider changing the part on forms and intervals to something like:

Form 1: 1 - 3 - 4 pattern
Intervals: (1) (1/2)

Form 2: 1 - 2 - 4 pattern
Intervals: (1/2) (1)

Form 3: 1 - 2 - 4 wide pattern
Intervals: (1) (1)

I think it might be a little clearer to beginners.

In section 4, obvilious = obvious. And for accuracy, in the table, MINOR should be NATURAL MINOR.

Keep up the great work .

Edit: Aagh! When a post is submitted multiple spaces are removed, so my formatting has disappeared. I'll just use brackets instead. I had the interval values lined up under the hyphens, with plenty of spacing to make it clear .

Cheers.

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This post has been edited by Col Roberts: Jan 7 2009, 11:35 AM
Jan 7 2009, 03:47 AM
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Very cool lesson Enforcer (such a cool screen name ). You and I seem to approach the fretboard the same way. I learned the scales like this from day 1 but it was by accident as you say. I was thinking about doing the exact same type of lesson only using sliding shapes, simplifies it even more IMO. Great lesson and thanks for your hard work on this, should clear up alot of mysteries for those not too familiar with diatonic scales.

Monte

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This post has been edited by lcsdds: Jan 7 2009, 03:48 AM
Jan 7 2009, 08:15 AM
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Seems like an awesome lesson mate
I'll check it out once I get home from work!

I know almost nothing at all about theory, so it might be a good place to start
Trond Vold has always told me I use the Major scale a lot in my songs, so I might as well learn what it is

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Jan 7 2009, 09:22 AM
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Thank you Enforcer .. nice lesson, well structured, explained and an interesting approach. It is helpful to have different "tools" available to memories scales and their modes.

I am more a visual person as well ( try to avoid to think whenever possible ). I used a lot similar approaches to get these scales on the fretboard. Missing fretboard knowledge, to find the notes on the guitar instantly is a big problem for a lot of people. Your way is a good starting point.

I am still looking for an similar approach (visual) as you explained it, which involves to learn the intervals between the notes based to the root note of each scale and not only between the previous or next note. I think this is an important point for to make use of modes as far my understanding goes by now. If you have an idea for this as well would be great !! ... a part 2 lesson maybe ?

Thanks again .. well done !!

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Jan 7 2009, 10:39 AM
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So... how about a natural minor then?

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utak3r.pl
Jan 7 2009, 10:44 AM
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QUOTE (utak3r @ Jan 7 2009, 10:39 AM)
So... how about a natural minor then?

Similar to aeolian when speaking in terms of modes. Was this you question?

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Jan 7 2009, 10:50 AM
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QUOTE (wrk @ Jan 7 2009, 10:44 AM)
Similar to aeolian when speaking in terms of modes. Was this you question?

almost

so it's that?

CODE
1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1

I'm not quite sure: can I have modes of a minor scale? If so, would for example phrygian be something like this?

CODE
1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1

?

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utak3r.pl
Jan 7 2009, 11:00 AM
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Great lesson

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Jan 7 2009, 11:13 AM
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QUOTE (utak3r @ Jan 7 2009, 10:50 AM)
so it's that?

CODE
1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1

?

exactly

QUOTE (utak3r @ Jan 7 2009, 10:50 AM)
I'm not quite sure: can I have modes of a minor scale? If so, would for example phrygian be something like this?

CODE
1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1

the intervals in phrygian mode are:
CODE
1/2 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1

You should keep in mind that the modes of a major scale have major or minor character.

Ionian - Major
Dorian - Minor
Phrygian - Minor
Lydian - Major
Mixolydian - Major
Aeolian - Minor (natural minor)
Locrian - diminished

Building modes of minor scales will only make a difference on the harmonic or melodic minor scale. Using modes on the natural minor scale will lead you to the same scales as the major scale (ionian) as it's a part of this system.

Don't know if i explain this well, but you can find a good explanation in Andrews theory board.

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Jan 7 2009, 11:38 AM
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QUOTE (wrk @ Jan 7 2009, 11:13 AM)
Building modes of minor scales will only make a difference on the harmonic or melodic minor scale. Using modes on the natural minor scale will lead you to the same scales as the major scale (ionian) as it's a part of this system.

ahh.... so a natural minor is not a really different scale, it's one of the modes of a major one, am I right?
heh, and I wanted to build modes from it OK, I get it now. Thanks.

Yeah, I know of Andrew's lessons, I'm slowly through them...

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utak3r.pl
Jan 7 2009, 12:17 PM
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Great Lesson Can!!!!
This will help me a lot!

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Jan 7 2009, 01:22 PM
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QUOTE (Col Roberts @ Jan 7 2009, 03:10 AM)
Very useful and informative lesson, Can, particularly for beginners.

Under section 5 you might consider changing the part on forms and intervals to something like:

Form 1: 1 - 3 - 4 pattern
Intervals: (1) (1/2)

Form 2: 1 - 2 - 4 pattern
Intervals: (1/2) (1)

Form 3: 1 - 2 - 4 wide pattern
Intervals: (1) (1)

I think it might be a little clearer to beginners.

In section 4, obvilious = obvious. And for accuracy, in the table, MINOR should be NATURAL MINOR.

Keep up the great work .

Edit: Aagh! When a post is submitted multiple spaces are removed, so my formatting has disappeared. I'll just use brackets instead. I had the interval values lined up under the hyphens, with plenty of spacing to make it clear .

Cheers.

I made the changes you've suggested, thank you for your help man

QUOTE (lcsdds @ Jan 7 2009, 04:47 AM)
Very cool lesson Enforcer (such a cool screen name ). You and I seem to approach the fretboard the same way. I learned the scales like this from day 1 but it was by accident as you say. I was thinking about doing the exact same type of lesson only using sliding shapes, simplifies it even more IMO. Great lesson and thanks for your hard work on this, should clear up alot of mysteries for those not too familiar with diatonic scales.

Monte

Nice ressemblence between us, I never knew that someone could do the same mistake as myself If you make the lesson you mentioned it will be very complementary and with fretboard recognition lessons of Tolek, it will cover everything I strongly suggest you to do that lesson man

QUOTE (audiopaal @ Jan 7 2009, 09:15 AM)
Seems like an awesome lesson mate
I'll check it out once I get home from work!

I know almost nothing at all about theory, so it might be a good place to start
Trond Vold has always told me I use the Major scale a lot in my songs, so I might as well learn what it is

I am very glad that you find this lesson useful mate

QUOTE (wrk @ Jan 7 2009, 10:22 AM)
Thank you Enforcer .. nice lesson, well structured, explained and an interesting approach. It is helpful to have different "tools" available to memories scales and their modes.

I am more a visual person as well ( try to avoid to think whenever possible ). I used a lot similar approaches to get these scales on the fretboard. Missing fretboard knowledge, to find the notes on the guitar instantly is a big problem for a lot of people. Your way is a good starting point.

I am still looking for an similar approach (visual) as you explained it, which involves to learn the intervals between the notes based to the root note of each scale and not only between the previous or next note. I think this is an important point for to make use of modes as far my understanding goes by now. If you have an idea for this as well would be great !! ... a part 2 lesson maybe ?

Thanks again .. well done !!

Thank you wrk, I will make a part 2 about just the intervals relative to the root than, very good idea

QUOTE (superize @ Jan 7 2009, 12:00 PM)
Great lesson

Thank you superize, I'm glad you liked it

QUOTE (utak3r @ Jan 7 2009, 12:38 PM)
ahh.... so a natural minor is not a really different scale, it's one of the modes of a major one, am I right?
heh, and I wanted to build modes from it OK, I get it now. Thanks.

Yeah, I know of Andrew's lessons, I'm slowly through them...

Yeah man you are totally correct, To be exact we have to say, every major scales 6th mode(Aeolian mode) is called relative natural minor to the major.

By the way thank you wrk for your explanation while I wasnt here, you did a great job

QUOTE (Sensible Jones @ Jan 7 2009, 01:17 PM)
Great Lesson Can!!!!
This will help me a lot!

You find it useful? Man, I am glad

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it, surely, spoiled me!!!

and may the force be with you :)
Jan 7 2009, 01:45 PM
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Great job man, I love the way you backed it up with theory, awesome work!

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Jan 7 2009, 02:08 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 7 2009, 02:45 PM)
Great job man, I love the way you backed it up with theory, awesome work!

Thank you man, your appreciation means a lot to me

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it, surely, spoiled me!!!

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Jan 7 2009, 03:14 PM
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From: Paris/France (..used to be german)
QUOTE (enforcer @ Jan 7 2009, 01:22 PM)
Thank you wrk, I will make a part 2 about just the intervals relative to the root than, very good idea

.. great, i'm looking forward to it.

QUOTE (enforcer @ Jan 7 2009, 01:22 PM)
By the way thank you wrk for your explanation while I wasnt here, you did a great job

I would have let you answered first normally, but i thought it would be ok as it was a more general theory question

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