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> Practicing Scales In Thirds, Triads Etc, What's the benefit?
ChocolateThunda
post Oct 6 2014, 02:26 PM
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Hey all,

Recently I was talking with someone about how I hate doing scales and I'm struggling to see where all the notes lie on a fretboard in a specific key. He suggested I practice scales in thirds, fourths, triads etc. I was just wondering if you guys ever do this, and where are the benefits to doing this. I guess it will develop an intimate knowledge of the scales as opposed to just remember which notes are in a key and stuff, but apart from there are there any others?
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Kristofer Dahl
post Oct 6 2014, 04:08 PM
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Interesting topic -

This is a standard way of learning scales, and I think that if you want to learn jazz the typical Berkley/MI way this is a must.

Personally I am not a fan of learning scales this way - at all! There are some advantages to this method, though:

* Good technique exercise, you are forced into all sorts of possible fingerings

* Good ear training exercise

* This method allows you to robotically approach and learn any scale

However, I hear a lot of guitarists who lean back on this method of playing as soon as they run out of ideas, when jamming/improvising. In other words exercises pop up when they are supposed to play music! I think this method is devastating if you want to develop your own style.

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I would suggest that when learning a new scale, you first spend some time with it over a backing track and see if you can make sense of it musically. Can you come up with any note combination/phrase/lick/riff that sounds good to you? If you can, then you will be able to truly learn the scale. And make it yours!

If you're 'struggling to see where all the notes lie on a fretboard in a specific key', then the next step would be for you use the licks/phrases you came up with when jamming over the backing track - and play them in different octaves and different positions. Learn to see those licks in relation to the root notes. Play vertically, horizontally and diagonally using your patterns - or use licks and patterns from your favourite guitarists (and I guarantee those patterns are not made up of only stacked fourths). There is no way you won't be able to learn all the notes if you do it this way.

Advantages:

* This method of practicing should be much more fun and musically challenging

* You won't be pushing yourself to learn scales which you don't like the sound of (that's just a waste of time anyway)

* You will learn the scale completely based on your own musical preference and intuition - you will essentially be working on your own style from scratch.

This post has been edited by Kristofer Dahl: Oct 6 2014, 04:34 PM


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SirJamsalot
post Oct 6 2014, 11:04 PM
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QUOTE (ChocolateThunda @ Oct 6 2014, 06:26 AM) *
Hey all,

Recently I was talking with someone about how I hate doing scales and I'm struggling to see where all the notes lie on a fretboard in a specific key. He suggested I practice scales in thirds, fourths, triads etc. I was just wondering if you guys ever do this, and where are the benefits to doing this. I guess it will develop an intimate knowledge of the scales as opposed to just remember which notes are in a key and stuff, but apart from there are there any others?


what kind/genre of music are you aiming for?


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 7 2014, 12:51 AM
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Hi mate! These things are just some exercises created to get familiar with a scale that you want to learn. It's not a must to do it, and it can have some disadvantages as Kris commented, but as everything, this depends on each person, on each guitarists. If you focus too much on just playing sequences, this sequences can get into your playing too much and then, every thing you play will sound like an exercise. But this workouts, combined with playing random notes, learning licks and working on variations, creating your own licks, and doing everything over different backing tracks can be very helpful.

I'm currently giving a improvisation course via Vchat sessions and if you check the first classes you will see that my recommended process for learning a new scale is always putting "making music" as the first goal, so I first recommend to play the scale up and down, and random notes over the backing, then, learn some sequences or phrases to get used to how different intervals and note combinations sound over different chords, and finally, once try creating your own phrases. The more you practice the stuff, the smoother your connection between mind and guitar will be, and your improvisations skills will get better.

If you are planning to play Jazz, or Fusion, learning arpeggios and triads will become even more important, because these styles requires that you follow the chords when you improvise. However, there are many rock guitarists like Satriani, Vai and Marty Friedman, that uses the "following the chords" technique to improvise...

Check out this video:



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ChocolateThunda
post Oct 7 2014, 02:21 PM
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Thanks all - sounds good.

I see what you're saying, and I definitely don't want to sound robotic when playing.

As for which styles, to be honest, I want to play a bunch of different types of music.

Gab - how can I get involved in your improv course?

Thanks!
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 7 2014, 03:34 PM
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You can replay all the previous week's lessons clicking HERE. There you will find all the lesson notes and a link to replay the video where I explain how to work on each thing. Besides it, if you want, I can create a thread at my personal board where I can monitor your progress with the course, you can share videos of you practicing and I can give feedback.



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PosterBoy
post Oct 8 2014, 08:48 AM
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I find it's much more beneficial than just practicing scales up and down. Very rarely do we play melodies or solos like that, so using intervallic sequences and locating triads and chord tones is a very valid thing to practice. Even if you aren't 'playing the changes' like jazz guitarists do, it's nice to land on a strong chord tone at the right moment.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 9 2014, 07:36 PM
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First of all, congrats on asking a good question wink.gif

Second, you must know that learning a scale should be a process that occurs in your head first of all - why do I say that? Because regardless of how many positions you know, you can only relate to your instrument and some things that you know by heart. Learning how to sing a scale and go through it in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths, in groups of 2 notes, 3 notes, 4 and so on and then applying these on various combinations of strings: 2 adjacent strings, 2 strings having one between them and so on, will teach you how to REALLY master a scale.

Aside recommending you a little etude I recorded as a lesson here at GMC, I want you to try the following drill:

- choose as scale and a tonality
- learn how to sing it in one octave, one note after the other
- pick a backing track of your choice
- sing that scale in that particular octave
- try the same drill in two octaves and then in three
- sing while playing the scale on the guitar
- sing a note and play the next one

When you feel comfy with this tonality try another and so on smile.gif It's a lot of work, but you won't have to do it in one day. You have to be patient and see it as a way in which you will build your style, because exploring and maybe using 4ths to play a certain phrase in a certain scale will make you come closer and closer to defining a personal style, as Kris very well pointed out.

Check this one out, as I think it's exactly the right one to open up some possibilities: https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Intervals-Etude/


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bingefeller
post Oct 13 2014, 04:33 PM
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QUOTE (ChocolateThunda @ Oct 6 2014, 01:26 PM) *
Hey all,

Recently I was talking with someone about how I hate doing scales and I'm struggling to see where all the notes lie on a fretboard in a specific key. He suggested I practice scales in thirds, fourths, triads etc. I was just wondering if you guys ever do this, and where are the benefits to doing this. I guess it will develop an intimate knowledge of the scales as opposed to just remember which notes are in a key and stuff, but apart from there are there any others?


There is a Pat Metheney book called Pat Metheney Guitar Etudes and it has some exercises whereby he plays melodic passages using intervals. The thing is that, if you are unfamiliar with the intervals, the book doesn't explain them to you. The exercises are good and more melodic than what you'd find in most scale books.

There is also a Carl Verheyen book called Improvising Without Scales and he builds licks upon intervals such as thirds, fourths etc.

If you wanted to practice this stuff I would suggest getting these books, especially the Metheney one as it's quite musical.
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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 14 2014, 02:33 PM
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QUOTE (bingefeller @ Oct 13 2014, 03:33 PM) *
There is a Pat Metheney book called Pat Metheney Guitar Etudes and it has some exercises whereby he plays melodic passages using intervals. The thing is that, if you are unfamiliar with the intervals, the book doesn't explain them to you. The exercises are good and more melodic than what you'd find in most scale books.

There is also a Carl Verheyen book called Improvising Without Scales and he builds licks upon intervals such as thirds, fourths etc.

If you wanted to practice this stuff I would suggest getting these books, especially the Metheney one as it's quite musical.


Hey mate! Thank you for the suggestions - I will look into that Metheny book myself, as it sounds pretty interesting - I am curious if our friend here found anything interesting in the thread smile.gif

@ChocolateThunda - please let us know how practicing with intervals is going so far, mate, ok?


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bingefeller
post Oct 14 2014, 06:51 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 14 2014, 01:33 PM) *
Hey mate! Thank you for the suggestions - I will look into that Metheny book myself, as it sounds pretty interesting - I am curious if our friend here found anything interesting in the thread smile.gif

@ChocolateThunda - please let us know how practicing with intervals is going so far, mate, ok?


No problem. You can see a nice preview of the Metheny book on Amazon -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Metheny-Guitar-Etu...rds=pat+metheny

If you click on "Look inside" you can see a preview. Most of the preview is of the single line etudes, but exericse #5 is viewable and it is an interval study.
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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 14 2014, 07:14 PM
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Hehe, that's exactly the one I looked at - seems interesting and it's only 12 bucks wink.gif Thanks for the recommendation!


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ChocolateThunda
post Oct 15 2014, 01:25 PM
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It's a bit mind bending at first - you have to go really slowly. Eventually I got up to speed (good technical exercise) but, I found, as was noted, I'm not really thinking about the actually INTERVALS (which type of 3rd) and I'm more just playing completely more memory/muscle memory.

I can sort of see some benefit though, so I guess I'll continue to do it, but maybe instead of playing it as a technical exercise, take it a bit slower and look at it more in depth.. Who knows? tongue.gif
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bingefeller
post Oct 15 2014, 06:38 PM
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Just to give you all some further info on Metheny's practice routine there is a video of him warming up before an Italian clinic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcETmST9BoY

Someone transcribed some of this warmup, which is a great exercise in practicing triads and stuff like that.

http://danmartinguitar.files.wordpress.com...io-youtube1.pdf

Enjoy!
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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 16 2014, 07:38 AM
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QUOTE (ChocolateThunda @ Oct 15 2014, 12:25 PM) *
It's a bit mind bending at first - you have to go really slowly. Eventually I got up to speed (good technical exercise) but, I found, as was noted, I'm not really thinking about the actually INTERVALS (which type of 3rd) and I'm more just playing completely more memory/muscle memory.

I can sort of see some benefit though, so I guess I'll continue to do it, but maybe instead of playing it as a technical exercise, take it a bit slower and look at it more in depth.. Who knows? tongue.gif


Muscle memory can be built with anything, but the natural and normal thing that you need to do, is understand what you are doing, in order to bend that concept to your own will anytime, anyplace. It's not just a sort of benefit, it's a huge benefit actually, but it involves a few steps which do not take you directly to practicing on the guitar - that's one thing that you need to accept wink.gif

In my opinion, you should first try the following steps:

- choose a type of interval
- choose a tonality and a scale or a mode of that scale in order to apply the steps below on
- try to figure out how many intervals of that type are there present in the chosen mode/scale
- play them on adjacent strings, having a string/2/3/4 in between, as possible
- example: you choose C major as your scale of choice and you decide to find all the possibilities for playing C and it's major third - E. Choose the C found on the 3rd fret on the A string and see how many E notes do you have close by, including the open strings smile.gif That's pretty much a healthy and organic way of finding out about the intervalic based geometry of your fretboard. This can be applied to any key and any scale and any interval type. This is how I'd start smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 18 2014, 06:43 PM
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QUOTE (ChocolateThunda @ Oct 15 2014, 09:25 AM) *
It's a bit mind bending at first - you have to go really slowly. Eventually I got up to speed (good technical exercise) but, I found, as was noted, I'm not really thinking about the actually INTERVALS (which type of 3rd) and I'm more just playing completely more memory/muscle memory.

I can sort of see some benefit though, so I guess I'll continue to do it, but maybe instead of playing it as a technical exercise, take it a bit slower and look at it more in depth.. Who knows? tongue.gif


Our fingers usually can go faster than our mind over the fret board. I remember the first class with my improvisation guitar teacher, he said, ok, your fingers can go really fast, now we need your mind to be closer to them. So we have to slow down things and let the mind be trained to slowly start go faster.

So be patient, practice slowly but wisely. Let your mind understand which notes you are playing, and also how each one sounds over different chords and backings. Practice with both your eyes opened and closed. Enjoy the journey.

And finally, if you feel that this kind of practice is not your thing, try different things. There are many approaches to be more familiar with scales and improvisation and creating your own path can be a good find to develop your own style.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 19 2014, 09:59 AM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Oct 18 2014, 05:43 PM) *
Our fingers usually can go faster than our mind over the fret board. I remember the first class with my improvisation guitar teacher, he said, ok, your fingers can go really fast, now we need your mind to be closer to them. So we have to slow down things and let the mind be trained to slowly start go faster.

So be patient, practice slowly but wisely. Let your mind understand which notes you are playing, and also how each one sounds over different chords and backings. Practice with both your eyes opened and closed. Enjoy the journey.

And finally, if you feel that this kind of practice is not your thing, try different things. There are many approaches to be more familiar with scales and improvisation and creating your own path can be a good find to develop your own style.


I will back up Gabriel's suggestions, with a video which pretty much sums up the essentials needed to become not only a great guitarist but a great musician! Pay attention in the beginning, when Guthrie speaks about how to learn and practice scales and not patterns and positions:



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ChocolateThunda
post Oct 21 2014, 08:52 AM
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That video was very good, Guthrie is amazing and a very thoughtful musician. I actually put on some backing tracks and just tried to solo using 3rds and man the difference in sounds you can get is amazing! I honestly can't wait to figure out whats wrong with my recording stuff so I can start making some tunes again!
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Cosmin Lupu
post Oct 21 2014, 09:19 AM
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QUOTE (ChocolateThunda @ Oct 21 2014, 07:52 AM) *
That video was very good, Guthrie is amazing and a very thoughtful musician. I actually put on some backing tracks and just tried to solo using 3rds and man the difference in sounds you can get is amazing! I honestly can't wait to figure out whats wrong with my recording stuff so I can start making some tunes again!


So glad to hear we could provide inspiration and help! Tell us what's up with your gear and maybe we can help there too smile.gif


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ChocolateThunda
post Oct 21 2014, 12:49 PM
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No idea! Sometimes it works perfectly, then someimtes, whenever I click record, I get REALLY bad sorta... almost latency issues. It's all crackly and slow and jumpy. My Interface is fine and works perfectly, had it tested several times. I'm kinda new to the whole thing so I've honestly no idea what's up with it! sad.gif
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