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> Scales
post Dec 6 2007, 02:38 PM
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Ive been having this problem for a long time. Ive been on GMC for about 6 months and been playing guitar for about 2 years. I still dont know how to USE scales. I try to practice as many lessons possible but the things i learn about scales start to contradict themselves when i practice lessons. Heres an example.

I remeber Kris saying in his penatonic 1-0-1 that the note you begin your scale on determines your root note.

Now when i try Davids pentatonic workout, David starts his lick on the 8th fret B string and calls says the like is in the key of a minor pentatonic. That 8th fret note is not a root note in the first or second box of a minor pentatonic so how can we say its in the key of a minor penatonic? Do we always have to start on the blue root note (if im wrong i just made it a whole lot more confusing).

Heres the second part of my doubt. Lets say i found a lick in a song. How do i tell what key the song is in and what scale its using (is the root note the first note in the song)? Lets assume i know the scale and the key how do i place the lick into different parts of the boxes? Do i place it only on the root notes of the scale in that key or just about anywhere?

Third part, what happens to the scale boxes when you drop tune? Do i just slide the boxes to the notes or do the shapes change? All the boxes given are meant for standard E, but what happens to the boxes when i move to dropped C or D?

Final part is about using power chords with scales. Do i have to make sure all the notes of the power chords fit into the scales or just the root note of the power chord?

Im sorry i have had many threads posted like this one, but i still have no clue about how these scales work. Before i thought i could get away without them but now as i try to write a song, i find myself repeating the same patterns over and over again. I know the answer to my questions are in various theory lessons but im unable to retain and find the important bits (im able to streak off A's and B's but fail to understand guitar). Ive been over pentatonic 1-0-1, Andrews and Davids theory and still dont understand scales, keys, licks and songwriting.

How did you guys overcome scale problems? How long did it take you to memorize all boxes in a scale. My mind goes sorta blank when i try connecting boxes.

This is my last resort and want to be able to play well by christmas. Im having my exams this week, just shifted so id have internet connection in a week or two. You may find mistake in typing because ive been typing fast cause i have to leave my dads office soon.

Take care and thanks for reading this long post


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post Dec 6 2007, 04:56 PM
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QUOTE (jammer91 @ Dec 6 2007, 02:38 PM) *
I remeber Kris saying in his penatonic 1-0-1 that the note you begin your scale on determines your root note.

What he said there was pointed towards beginenr guitarists to make them easier understand stuff. You're not a beginner already and you can forget this concept.

You can start a solo from 5th step but you will still be playing a certain scale. It all depends on you. The important thing is to know the boxes, it makes you realize the relation between notes. Also - singing scales is very important wink.gif If you can't sing what you are playing than you have a problem wink.gif

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Bogdan Radovic
post Dec 6 2007, 09:58 PM
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Boxes stay the same all the time (when you tune/detune all your guitar strings the same number of steps/halfsteps).So if you play G major scale and tuned to E , when you detune your guitar half step down (all strings half step down ) and play the same scale on the same fret you will be playing F# major scale..You can find everything you need in Andrews theory lessons..

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post Dec 6 2007, 10:50 PM
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A few points that might help with your questions.

Although you may practice scales beginning at the root note, there's no rule that says you have to start a lick or solo from the root note of the scale you're using. Don't forget that a scale is just a series of notes with a particular set of intervals between the notes. You can make sequences of those notes in whatever order sounds good to you. The typical scale 'boxes' are means of covering the scale in different areas of the neck - some of them may start from the root note and some may not.

Andrew has a specific theory lesson on determining the key of a song. Take a look at
It explains the process much better than I could!

Other posters have already covered the drop tuning issues. Obviously the easiest case is where all strings are dropped by the same interval. The boxes keep the same 'shapes' but if you've drop tuned by N semitones then playing a scale box starting from a certain fret gets you the scale N semitones lower than if you played the same box in the same position using standard tuning. The box shapes will only change if you change the tuning on different strings by different amounts (e.g. drop-D or an open tuning).

With power chords, the chord contains only two different notes, separated by an interval of a perfect 5th. There will be quite a number of different scales and modes whose series of notes contains the two notes on the chord. This gives you a lot of freedom to pick different scales to play over the chord to get different and cool-sounding musical effects. Of course, 'in theory' you can play any scale over any chord but playing a scale that has few notes (or no notes!) in common with the chord is something that has to be done very sparingly!

Learning scale boxes is good, but I would advise you to think about the note names and intervals as you practice the boxes. It's very easy to learn the patterns up and down without understanding what notes and intervals you're using. This gets you playing scales quickly, but means you'll find it difficult to break out of the fixed boxes and patterns as you get more experienced.

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