kirkhamster

Dear Fellow GMC’ers,

First a quick and heartfelt thank you to Kris, Gab, and Darius. Huge inspirations and the time all instructors have taken with me and I’m sure anyone reading this is beyond words…

I had a nice back and forth with Kris who felt it was best I posted my question in the THEORY section. Would love to hear from everyone on this who has been in the same boat as me:

The “concept” of scales I finally understand well along with the major scale versus modes after all these years of avoiding it like the plague. The issue I am running into is learning the practical application of the major scale. I’ve gotten my pentatonic down and I am comfortable with the 5 box shapes and HOW to connect them. I can “see them” on the fret board and connect those dots. For whatever reason the major scale seems to be a mess. Some teachers profess the CAGED, some 3NPS, etc. I personally like the 3NPS for the uniformity and fluidity of it although the overlapping of notes seems redundant.

SO how do you approach connecting the dots for the major scale? Do you just grit your teeth and memorize Ionian, Dorian, etc. as patterns similar to 1-5 for the pentatonic boxes? Attached is the C major scale my buddy wrote for me to learn (he graduated Berklee, smart guy and great guitarist) starting on the A string. He did this so I could grasp the tonality of the patterns before applying them to all the strings. While he is right, if I played that same shape starting on the 8th Fret of the low E it wouldn’t work. I’d have to shift everything from the G string down. It’s doable but see the discrepancy here?

We want to unlock the fret board with the major scale because it covers so much/modes, but my fear is if I get stuck mentally using just the E string as the starting point I’m losing out big time… I don’t want the low E to be my only reference. If you say C Ionian I should be able to instantly play it 3rd fret on the A, 8th on low E, 10th on D, etc. Shouldn’t make a difference. But if I only have one pattern shape in mind I’m screwed! I’ve heard of instructors discuss learning the root note in any position but not much beyond that phrase (haven’t seen the practical side of that yet).

With all this being said, any tips and tricks as to how you got the major scale down and in turn the modes, please let me know.

Peace and love to all- Kirk Hamster

Kristofer Dahl
QUOTE (kirkhamster @ Nov 12 2017, 01:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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The “concept” of scales I finally understand well along with the major scale versus modes after all these years of avoiding it like the plague. The issue I am running into is learning the practical application of the major scale. I’ve gotten my pentatonic down and I am comfortable with the 5 box shapes and HOW to connect them. I can “see them” on the fret board and connect those dots. For whatever reason the major scale seems to be a mess. Some teachers profess the CAGED, some 3NPS, etc. I personally like the 3NPS for the uniformity and fluidity of it although the overlapping of notes seems redundant.

Cool topic!

I'll be bold an answer with a question: Would you say you know more licks in the pentatonic scale or major scale?

Gabriel Leopardi
Hi mate! Great to see you getting into major scale and modes.

The secret is as always practice. The key is to be able to relate everything (Pentatonic shapes, caged system, chord shapes, arpeggios, triads), but it can be overwhelming at first.

In order to give you specific ideas on what to do next, I'll tell you what I would do in your place at this time.

No matter if you prefer the Caged system, or the 3NPS thing. You need to visualise the root chord while playing a scale. By root chord, I reffer to the chord that is form starting from the root of a scale. In the case of C Ionian (major) mode, the root chord is C Major.

So what I do is to play the different positions of C major, and try to visualise the chord, as well as the Major Pentatonic. The idea is to see everything related. I also visualise Major triads since these are great smaller structures to find chord tones.

That's the way to identify the stronger notes of a scale, and see some kind of structure instead of a sea of notes all along the fret board.

Besides this, you need to learn licks, phrases, sequences, based on the scale, and play along with backing tracks.

Once you are familiar with Ionian, you can move to Dorian, and so....

kirkhamster
QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Nov 15 2017, 09:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Cool topic!

I'll be bold an answer with a question: Would you say you know more licks in the pentatonic scale or major scale?

Definitely pentatonic licks. All the usual suspects, for instance bending on the 14th fret G string, striking the 12's B and E strings and so on. Very Hammett style, or Zakk style licks. Once I sat down without distraction and learned the 5 shapes, it wasn't too bad moving around the fret board on the pentatonic level! Thanks KD

QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Nov 15 2017, 04:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi mate! Great to see you getting into major scale and modes.

The secret is as always practice. The key is to be able to relate everything (Pentatonic shapes, caged system, chord shapes, arpeggios, triads), but it can be overwhelming at first.

In order to give you specific ideas on what to do next, I'll tell you what I would do in your place at this time.

No matter if you prefer the Caged system, or the 3NPS thing. You need to visualise the root chord while playing a scale. By root chord, I reffer to the chord that is form starting from the root of a scale. In the case of C Ionian (major) mode, the root chord is C Major.

So what I do is to play the different positions of C major, and try to visualise the chord, as well as the Major Pentatonic. The idea is to see everything related. I also visualise Major triads since these are great smaller structures to find chord tones.

That's the way to identify the stronger notes of a scale, and see some kind of structure instead of a sea of notes all along the fret board.

Besides this, you need to learn licks, phrases, sequences, based on the scale, and play along with backing tracks.

Once you are familiar with Ionian, you can move to Dorian, and so....

THANK YOU Gab! Conceptually I believe I understand what you mean but on a practical level could you confirm your process of visualization please? For instance if we are playing the C Major/Ionian scale on the 8th fret low E using the 3NPS are you trying to actually visualize the C major chord itself within that specific scale? And are there different C major chords for each scale pattern? I know its important to know the root note so you can emphasize that sound over your chord progression but again hazy on the implementation. Maybe a quick video for anyone reading this if that is OK? Cheers!
Kristofer Dahl
QUOTE (kirkhamster @ Nov 15 2017, 10:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Definitely pentatonic licks. All the usual suspects, for instance bending on the 14th fret G string, striking the 12's B and E strings and so on. Very Hammett style, or Zakk style licks. Once I sat down without distraction and learned the 5 shapes, it wasn't too bad moving around the fret board on the pentatonic level! Thanks KD

The reason I asked - is because I believe this is the superior way of leraning and memorising new scales / scale positions. So to me - your answer explains why you have problems with the major scale but not the pentatonic scale ( I used to have the exact same problem btw).

If you learn two licks (that you love the sound of) in two adjacent positions you will likely learn these positions much faster. Now add a third adjacent one and you are starting to cover a lot of ground without thinking "Theory" - rather you will have adapted a musical approach to solving this problem. Let me know if it makes sense.
Gabriel Leopardi
QUOTE (kirkhamster @ Nov 15 2017, 06:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
THANK YOU Gab! Conceptually I believe I understand what you mean but on a practical level could you confirm your process of visualization please? For instance if we are playing the C Major/Ionian scale on the 8th fret low E using the 3NPS are you trying to actually visualize the C major chord itself within that specific scale? And are there different C major chords for each scale pattern? I know its important to know the root note so you can emphasize that sound over your chord progression but again hazy on the implementation. Maybe a quick video for anyone reading this if that is OK? Cheers!

Sure! I'll share a video today.
Gabriel Leopardi
Here we go!

kirkhamster
QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Nov 16 2017, 09:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The reason I asked - is because I believe this is the superior way of leraning and memorising new scales / scale positions. So to me - your answer explains why you have problems with the major scale but not the pentatonic scale ( I used to have the exact same problem btw).

If you learn two licks (that you love the sound of) in two adjacent positions you will likely learn these positions much faster. Now add a third adjacent one and you are starting to cover a lot of ground without thinking "Theory" - rather you will have adapted a musical approach to solving this problem. Let me know if it makes sense.

Thanks! Sorry for the reply now, I think I missed the reply notification in my inbox.. For clarifiction- What is the superior way to memorize the scale as mentioned above? To just combine various licks? If so, which scale patterns do YOU prefer regardless of anyone's opinion?

My original logic was once you learn the pentatonic scales, then you fill in the missing 2 notes to have your major scale and accompanying modes. I'm guessing this is similar or is the CAGED system's logic? On one hand I see the benefit to it. For instance, Fade to Black by Metallica. @ 51 seconds in, Kirk literally plays the E Phyrgian/ C major scale note for note. The way he is playing it is in the spirit of the CAGED system. Learning the 3NPS style, there is less "boxiness" to this sort of style. On the other, you do get an awesome fluidity from 3NPS and you cover much more fretboard than with CAGED.

Hope this makes my head space a little clearer...
Gabriel Leopardi
QUOTE (kirkhamster @ Nov 19 2017, 06:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My original logic was once you learn the pentatonic scales, then you fill in the missing 2 notes to have your major scale and accompanying modes. I'm guessing this is similar or is the CAGED system's logic? On one hand I see the benefit to it. For instance, Fade to Black by Metallica. @ 51 seconds in, Kirk literally plays the E Phyrgian/ C major scale note for note. The way he is playing it is in the spirit of the CAGED system. Learning the 3NPS style, there is less "boxiness" to this sort of style. On the other, you do get an awesome fluidity from 3NPS and you cover much more fretboard than with CAGED.

Hope this makes my head space a little clearer...

That's totally clear and right for me. As I've said in the video, I related everything to the caged system, and all the other stuff is to find different ways to create phrases and melodies. I'm also learning new approaches for guitarists that I like. It's a neverending and amazing process.

kirkhamster
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Nov 19 2017, 04:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's totally clear and right for me. As I've said in the video, I related everything to the caged system, and all the other stuff is to find different ways to create phrases and melodies. I'm also learning new approaches for guitarists that I like. It's a neverending and amazing process.

Ah cool. Gab if you could, can you add any links to GMC lessons that have the scale patterns you use regarding CAGED? Also, let's say you are warming up over an A minor blues backing track, do you have any scale patterns in mind when you jam? Wondering what you are thinking if anything when just noodling around? Would love to understand your thought pattern on improvising during such times...

Also, I am rewatching your video made, thank you! Lots of awesome information and still trying to process Best!
kirkhamster
QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Nov 16 2017, 06:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here we go!

Gab I've watched the video 3 times now, so I have a decent handle on it... I see I need to learn my triad shapes among other things! Recommendations on GMC lessons to go over CAGED, the chord shapes with the root focus, and triads? I know it is a tall order and am very grateful...
Kristofer Dahl
QUOTE (kirkhamster @ Nov 19 2017, 10:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks! Sorry for the reply now, I think I missed the reply notification in my inbox.. For clarifiction- What is the superior way to memorize the scale as mentioned above? To just combine various licks? If so, which scale patterns do YOU prefer regardless of anyone's opinion?

My original logic was once you learn the pentatonic scales, then you fill in the missing 2 notes to have your major scale and accompanying modes. I'm guessing this is similar or is the CAGED system's logic? On one hand I see the benefit to it. For instance, Fade to Black by Metallica. @ 51 seconds in, Kirk literally plays the E Phyrgian/ C major scale note for note. The way he is playing it is in the spirit of the CAGED system. Learning the 3NPS style, there is less "boxiness" to this sort of style. On the other, you do get an awesome fluidity from 3NPS and you cover much more fretboard than with CAGED.

Hope this makes my head space a little clearer...

What is the superior way for me is likely not the same for you - because it depends on your previous experience.

That is why I always assume almost no prerquisiste when trying to explain this kind of thing.

To me - there is very little difference trying to understand the CAGED method vs learning the octave patters, when you are a beginner. And I don't really like either of them (for beginners).

I always recommend you start by playing music - if possible. So I would advise you jam with one C major pattern (give it weeks!) until you know it well, from just trying to play music with it:

Then learn an adjacent scale position (again - by spending weeks with it):

Then - connect the two:

Now you will be moving between these positions like a pro - and not like someone who just memorised the patterns.

Now if this method does not feel inspiring to you - it could simply be too early in your progress to attempt this. If so - just spend more time learning riffs and licks and come back to the major "scale problem" in a couple of months and see if it feels more inspiring.

Learning theory because "you think you have to" - almost never works. And I have seen this so many times.

Finally I want to say that the methods Gab is offering are the conventional ones - and they do work very well if you already have experience playing many songs and licks using different major boxes. Then you just need a formula to put it together in your mind.

So it's really a matter of where you are in your development stage - and then adapting your learning strategy to that.
Gabriel Leopardi
Hi Kirk!

Kris shared everything you need to know to get into this scale. I don't want to add too much extra information here because at this point I think that it can confuse instead of help.

Just a a guide, I share with you my Improvisation course (from zero to hero) where you'll find very useful information, and with a friendly structure to follow.

IMPROVISATION COURSE - FROM ZERO TO HERO -
kirkhamster
QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Nov 20 2017, 10:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What is the superior way for me is likely not the same for you - because it depends on your previous experience.

That is why I always assume almost no prerquisiste when trying to explain this kind of thing.

To me - there is very little difference trying to understand the CAGED method vs learning the octave patters, when you are a beginner. And I don't really like either of them (for beginners).

I always recommend you start by playing music - if possible. So I would advise you jam with one C major pattern (give it weeks!) until you know it well, from just trying to play music with it:

Then learn an adjacent scale position (again - by spending weeks with it):

Then - connect the two:

Now you will be moving between these positions like a pro - and not like someone who just memorised the patterns.

Now if this method does not feel inspiring to you - it could simply be too early in your progress to attempt this. If so - just spend more time learning riffs and licks and come back to the major "scale problem" in a couple of months and see if it feels more inspiring.

Learning theory because "you think you have to" - almost never works. And I have seen this so many times.

Finally I want to say that the methods Gab is offering are the conventional ones - and they do work very well if you already have experience playing many songs and licks using different major boxes. Then you just need a formula to put it together in your mind.

So it's really a matter of where you are in your development stage - and then adapting your learning strategy to that.

Kris thank you! I understand your directive and will practice this. I've done a lot of soloing over blues patterns with the licks that I know using and combining the pentatonic scales. I'm no Stevie Ray Vaughn but I can connect the dots Regarding the scale patterns you provided, which ones are these? Are these CAGED positions? When you first started learning, which major scale patterns/diatonics did you learn? While I know we have different musical experience, if something worked for you and I see and know where you are now at as a guitarist, I am comfortable at least exploring it, you know? Also I attached some 3NPS scales starting on the low E string. Can I also use 2 of these scales and jam on them over a backing track for practice? Thoughts? My concern is to not get too lost in learning a million different scale patterns! Thx

Kristofer Dahl
QUOTE (kirkhamster @ Nov 20 2017, 09:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Kris thank you! I understand your directive and will practice this. I've done a lot of soloing over blues patterns with the licks that I know using and combining the pentatonic scales. I'm no Stevie Ray Vaughn but I can connect the dots Regarding the scale patterns you provided, which ones are these? Are these CAGED positions? When you first started learning, which major scale patterns/diatonics did you learn? While I know we have different musical experience, if something worked for you and I see and know where you are now at as a guitarist, I am comfortable at least exploring it, you know? Also I attached some 3NPS scales starting on the low E string. Can I also use 2 of these scales and jam on them over a backing track for practice? Thoughts? My concern is to not get too lost in learning a million different scale patterns! Thx

The reason you are confused is because you are trying to get your head around many different scales at once.

The link you gave me shows all the different major scale modes. I know some will try to make you swallow the whole package at once - just because these different modes/scales share the same patterns (but with different root note positions).

However this will greatly confuse you - as you will not end up hearing the difference between the modes, if you just treat them as patterns.

So I really suggest you forget about this method and just learn the major scale ( same as Ionian) I showed you. Once you know how to use this scale musically - it will be easy to just change one note and get the lydian scale instead. You will then also hear how and why the lydian scale sounds different - and you will then be able to use it.

So it all goes down to my first response to you. Learn to play the major scale just like you have already learned to play the pentatonic scale - and there will be no confusion.