Guitar Scale Theory, SI Lesson #2 by quadrium
Jan 9 2011, 04:27 AM
Learning Tone Master
Posts: 1.094
Joined: 16-October 10
From: Bursa,Turkey
Hello guys again.My name is Dogukan and this is my second SI Lesson.In this lesson i will show you
the guitar scale theory.Lets begin
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Contents :

Musical notes

Scales
- definition
- overview

The Major Scale
- example 1 : C major scale
- example 2 : D major scale
- example 3 : F major scale

The Minor Scale
- Major versus Minor
- Building The Minor Scale
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Musical Notes

In music, there are only 12 notes (# stands for "sharp", b stands for "flat") :

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|1.A 2.A# (or Bb) 3.B 4.C 5.C# (or Db) 6.D 7.D# (or Eb) 8.E 9.F 10.F# (or Gb) 11.G 12.G# (or Ab)|
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As you can see, neither B nor E have a "#" and neither C nor F have a "b".
This will become more clear when we get to the scale.

This is also called the "chromatic" scale.
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Scales

Definition :

A scale is the notes you use to get from one note to that same note 1 octave higher.

It can consist of as many notes of the chromatic scale as desired. Most of the times, it has 8 notes.
The first one is called the "root"-note.

Example : scale of C major

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
|1.C (root) 2.D 3.E 4.F 5.G 6.A 7.B 8.C (root + 1 octave)|
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The position numbers are also called "tones". Be sure not to confuse them with notes.
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Overview :

There are a lot of scales, depending on the kind of music you like to play.
You might have heard of Dorian, Phrysian,… scales. Since this is a beginners course,
we'll just concentrate on the 2 most important scales which are the major and minor scale.
They are in fact the foundation of today's rock music.

Before we start with the major scale, you need to know that each song is played in a certain "key".
This means the song is based upon a chord (major or minor).

Ex: a song in the key of C major, a song in the key of D minor,…

Mostly, the song even starts with that chord (and often ends with it too).

Examples :
"Nothing else matters" by Metallica is in the key of E minor
"Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams is in the key of D major

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The Major Scale

First you need to know the difference between major and minor.

Major = happy, joyfull (p.E. La Bamba by Los Lobos, or any rock ‘n’ roll song)
Minor = dark, sad (p.E. Angie by The Rolling Stones, Stairway to Heaven by Led Zep)

Ballads are quite often in minor keys, fast songs are mostly major.

Example 1 : C major scale

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|1.C 2.D 3.E 4.F 5.G 6.A 7.B 8.C |
---------------------------------------------

Between each note, there’s a "space". That is called an "interval".
I’ll call it a step from now on as this is the word that is most often used for it.

Each ½ step represents a fret on your guitar. Each fret on your guitar is a note.

There are 3 basic rules for building a major scale :

-Between positions 3+4 and 7+8 there can only be ½ step (1 fret)
-Between notes B+C and E+F there can only be ½ step (1 fret)
-Between all the other notes and positions there’s 1 step (2 frets)

So, the C major scale is:

-----------------------------------------------------------------
|1.C ^^ 2.D ^^ 3.E ^ 4.F ^^ 5.G ^^ 6.A ^^ 7.B 8.C|
--------------------------------------------------------------------

This scale has no # or b in it, it’s a "perfect" scale.

Remarks(on fretboard) :

-The notes on the open string and those on the 12th fret are the same.
From there on, the position of the notes repeats itself.
-Between E+F and B+C, there’s only 1 fret (1/2 step)

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Example 2 : D major scale

Since the C major scale was the "perfect" scale, there were no problems with the above rules,
everything fitted perfectly. The D major scale is another story. This is the hard part.
If you can understand this, you're on the right track. It might take you a couple of times to understand,
so don't panic if you need to read this more than once.

The D major scale might contain sharps (#) and/or flats ( b ). This means we have to make some changes to the scale.
This is what we call "building a scale".

We start from this : put the D-note as root and continue the notes untill you reach the D an octave higher.

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|1.D 2.E 3.F 4.G 5.A 6.B 7.C 8.D|
---------------------------------------------

Don't put any sharps or flats yet, not all of them will be used in this scale.

Let's repeat the 3 basic rules for building a major scale :

-Between positions 3+4 and 7+8 there can only be ½ step (1 fret)
-Between notes B+C and E+F there can only be ½ step (1 fret)
-Between all the other notes and positions there’s 1 step (2 frets)

Following rule 1, we put the steps where they belong, respecting the fact that
between positions 3+4 and 7+8 there’s only ½ step

------------------------------------------------------------------
|1.D ^^ 2.E ^^ 3.F ^ 4.G ^^ 5.A ^^ 6.B ^^ 7.C 8.D|
--------------------------------------------------------------------

As you can see, in this case rule n°2 is not respected yet.
E+F and B+C can only have ½ step between them, here there are 2 half steps.

This means what we are seeing is not correct. The F we see on position 3 is actually a "hidden" F#.
The # means that ½ step is added to the note.

So we make this correction :

--------------------------------------------------------------------
|1.D ^^ 2.E ^^ 3.F# ^ 4.G ^^ 5.A ^^ 6.B ^^ 7.C 8.D|
---------------------------------------------------------------------

This means the F-note will not be used in this scale, it is replaced by F#.

We continue going down the scale.

As you can see, rule n°2 is still not completely respected.
E+F and B+C can only have ½ step between them, here there are still 2 half steps between B+C.

This means what we are seeing is not correct. The C we see on position 7 is actually a hidden C#.

So we make this correction :

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
|1.D ^^ 2.E ^^ 3.F# ^ 4.G ^^ 5.A ^^ 6.B ^^ 7.C# 8.D|
------------------------------------------------------------------------

This means the C-note will not be used in this scale, it is replaced by C#.

Now, all rules are respected, so this means we have reached the final D major scale.
------------------------------------------------------------------
Example 3 : F major scale

We start again by putting the F-note as root and continue the notes down the line until we reach
the F one octave higher.

-------------------------------------------
|1.F 2.G 3.A 4.B 5.C 6.D 7.E 8.F|
---------------------------------------------

Again, put the steps where they belong, respecting the fact that between
positions 3+4 and 7+8 there's only ½ step :

------------------------------------------------------------------
|1.F ^^ 2.G ^^ 3.A ^ 4.B ^^ 5.C ^^ 6.D ^^ 7.E 8.F|
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Now for the hard part : as you can see, between A and B there are 2 half steps.
But since they are on positions 3 and 4, there can be only ½ step between them.

Here, we cannot add a sharp to the A, since that would result in the fact that
there would be a ½ step too much between the G and the A# (3 steps). That way, rule n°3 would not be forfilled.

Since between B and C there is 1 half step too much, what we are seeing on position 4 is not a B but a Bb.

We make this correction :

------------------------------------------------------------------
|1.F ^^ 2.G ^^ 3.A ^ 4.Bb ^^ 5.C ^^ 6.D ^^ 7.E 8.F|
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Now all the rules are forfilled and we get the final F major scale.

Remarks:
-Now that you know this theory, you can try building the other basic major scales (A, B, E and G).
If you have any questions you can ask me via pm or from this topic.

Tip : none of the basic major scales besides the F major scale have a flat in them.
-Once you master the rules perfectly, you can try building A# major, Bb major, etc.

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The Minor Scale

The correct name of the scale we are about to learn is the "natural minor scale" because there is also
the harmonic minor scale and the pentatonic minor scale.

But for now I will simply refer to it as the minor scale.
Once you know how to build a major scale, with the help of some simple rules you can easily build a minor scale.

Major versus Minor :

Every major scale and chord has what they call "a related minor" scale and chord.
This means that when you play a song in a certain major key, you will be able to use the notes of that major scale
to play a song in the related minor key.

Rule : the 6th tone (the note at the 6th position) of the major scale is the related minor of that scale.

Example : key of C major

---------------------------------------------------------------------
|1.C ^^ 2.D ^^ 3.E ^ 4.F ^^ 5.G ^^ 6.A ^^ 7.B 8.C|
--------------------------------------------------------------------

As you can see, on position 6 we have the A-note. This means that C major is related with A minor.
So when you play a song in the key of C major, you can use the C major scale as well as the A minor scale,
since they both contain the same notes.

And since the A is the related minor of C, we can also say that C is the related major of A.

Building the minor scale :

This one is easy ! All you have to do is put the minor note as root and complete the scale with
the same notes as the related major scale.

Example : key of A minor

------------------------------------------------------------------
|1.A ^^ 2.B ^ 3.C ^^ 4.D ^^ 5.E ^ 6.F ^^ 7.G 8.A|
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Of course, the rules we had for the major scale have changed a little.
For the steps between the notes, nothing has changed, there's still ½ step between B+C and E+F.
The only thing that has changed is the position of the half steps.
They are no longer between 3+4 and 7+8, but now they are between 2+3 and 5+6.

Knowing this, you can also start by building the minor scale to get to the major scale later.
You just need to know that the related major is always on position 3 of the minor scale.

Tip : to remember all of this, just keep the C major/A minor scales in mind.
They are easy to remember since they have no sharps or flats. Since it's the perfect scale,
you immediately know where to put the ½ steps (between B+C and E+F).

Hope you guys enjoy lesson

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This post has been edited by quadrium: Jan 18 2011, 11:25 AM

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Jan 15 2011, 02:04 PM
Learning Rock Star - Wiki Coordinator
Posts: 8.361
Joined: 20-November 07
From: Spain
Excellent Dogukan, I'm adding it to our knowledge base now

Edit: here it is
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/wiki/inde...heory_SI_Lesson

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This post has been edited by Fran: Jan 17 2011, 02:04 PM

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Jan 16 2011, 02:16 PM
Learning Tone Master
Posts: 1.094
Joined: 16-October 10
From: Bursa,Turkey
Thanks Fran

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Jan 17 2011, 11:08 PM
Instructor
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Joined: 20-November 07
Awesome job man, very cool post indeed!

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Jan 18 2011, 04:00 AM
Learning Tone Master
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Joined: 16-October 10
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Jan 17 2011, 10:08 PM)
Awesome job man, very cool post indeed!

Thanks Ivan

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Jan 18 2011, 08:42 AM
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From: Germany
And again something really useful and very important - like your pentatonic lesson.
Thanks !

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Jan 18 2011, 09:12 AM
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From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Well done! The Pentatonic shapes are crucial.

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