Opeth.db Shaping Up SI Lesson

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Opeth.db (Dan)
Opeth.db (Dan)



Well my MTP lesson for this week for Chris was to create a lesson. I was wondering why Chris(Smells) had us do this kind of lesson. I was like where's the technique involved? Well after thinking about it I am glad I put this together. I am basically applying and even more cementing the concepts in my head as I type this out. So the technique here is learning the fretboard a little bit more! user posted image So now I think the purpose of creating a lesson is esential.

So here It is. I am going to try to create something very user friendly to a beginner guitar player because I am one myself. Although I have been playing for 20+ years it has only been recently that I have decided to take my playing to the next level and that would be lead playing. I am a pretty confident rhythm player but there is still a lot to learn.

My lesson will be how I learned the Minor scale by memorizing shapes. The key concept of this lesson is simple. You will learn how the Minor(aeolian) scale is played. Im quite fond of the minor scale. Doom and gloom and metal! Once you learn this is quite easy to figure out your Major. I'll let you figure that out. If you have questions feel free to PM me.

We are not concentrating on the notes of the fretboard but the 5 basic patterns that create the 5 basic boxes. Hopefully when this is over you will be able to start do a little bit of improv, creating your own licks and learning how to phrase them correctly. Mind you that my journey is still new to all of this. My time involved memorizing these shapes was a month. I will also show you the type of exercises that helped me cement these boxes in my head.

So lets get started shall we?

The 5 Patterns


I was always overwhellmed by the amount of notes in this scale. Not that it can't be done but if you don't know where to start it can be a daunting task. So what we are doing is breaking this up in chunks. Tackle it in small takes and piece it all together in the end.

SO what are we looking at? After looking at how I was going to teach myself the Major/Minor scale I needed to simplify some things. The picture above is the shape of the Major/Minor scale. SO what key is it in? It doesn't matter right now as we are not learning notes remember? It is crucial to learn these patterns 1-5 and get yourself accustomed knowing what order they are in. This is crucial because the order does not change.

The 5 Boxes

Box 1

Here we have the first box that will begin the construction of our scale. Why did I choose this box to start off an call it 1? To be honest it really doesn't matter what box is referenced as 1 or 4 etc. I chose this box in particular because the note that I highlighted in red is the root note. To me this box is a good reference point to any key a song is on. By that I mean is you can use the 6th string with this box to be in the key of the song.

For example, lets say that the red note highligted is the 3rd fret 6th string which is a G. Well begin this pattern an now you are playing a Gminor scale or A#Major. If you move this box up one fret to the 4th fret. Guess what, now your player the G#minor scale. One more fret and now your playing the Aminor scale. Pretty simple? Thats why I chose to learn this box first and call it 1. So if you know all the notes on each fret on the 6th string, this box will be good for you to know where you are at at all times.

Do not worry about the Major or Minor right now as we are not learning that now just the shapes of these boxes. I will explain that later.

Exercise 1: Box 1

Our first exercise will consist in cementing this pattern in you brain. Repetition is key here. What we are going to do is fire up the metronome and start pracicing just this box. Depending on your schedule, my schedule alloted me to spend a week per box.

Some pointers-
1. You should be able to start anywhere in the box when this is complete. This is important when developing phrasing skills.
2. Mix it up when playing it. Rather than starting it from the fiirst note start it somewhere else and see if you can comlete the box with out thinking about it.
3. Spend one week with each box only.
4. Position of your fingers is important. Make sure use all of your fingers! This will be good exercise to get that pinky motivated. This will help you to hit that "next" note comfortably.
5. Everyday speed up the metronome past what you think you can handle and try to play it. If you can't thats ok. Drop it by 10's and see what happens. user posted image

Note: All box exercises are in the same spot on the fretboard. We will go into moving it down the fretboard after the exercises are complete.

Exercise 2: Box 2


Exercise 3: Box 3


Exercise 4: Box 4


Exercise 5: Box 5


Exercise 6: Week6

So you got all the boxes memorized right? You can play them forward, backward, upwards, downward and sidewards? Sweet. Next is to link these patterns into an exercise where we use the fretboard. Have you noticed that after the 5th box it repeats?

I chose to do this in G minor so that I can show you all the patterns without having to hit the open strings. When learning these boxes its important to understand that the closer you get to the 1st and 2nd frets with these patterns you have to hit some open string to compensate for some of the notes that are not fretted.

For example here is our box 1 pattern in that fret area. The yellow dots indicate the open string.


Here is our video lesson of all the patterns linked up. I sped up the metronome and hopefully with all that exercising you were able to speed it up too.

The end result you want to achieve is:
-Know where to play each box on the fly with out thinking about it.
-Begin an exercise with every box rather that the the first one all the time.
-Speed it up. SLow it down.
-Remember after the 5th box it repeast so work up in the higher frets using the same exercise.



Well I can't beleive that this is my first SI lesson here at GMC. I believe with the dedication and the want to practice you can achieve anything. I have been here 4 months and already still can't conceive that I actually typed out a lesson. From knowing nothing to understanding something. I was completely lost when it came to all of this stuff which is one of the reason I never pursued it in the past. But look at me now MOM!

For the curious I had tried to do a simple improv over a backing. This backing I have was free from some guitar magazine I have laying around. The backing is in G# minor. This is a total improv. With some thought I maybe can have a complete and worthy song.

Mind you Im not very good at phrasing. I'm still learning the concept of it and trying to create my own licks. But for what its worth for this exercise I was able to a acheive a goal. Before I would spend a lot of time trying to come up with leads to some of my songs and having to memorize how to play the "lead". Now I just know where to play, understand when I hit an incorrect note and starting to understanding when to hit that root note.

I hope you enjoyed it. It took me about 45 days to acheive this. Im pretty proud of myself so far. I can't wait to see where I am in 3 years from now. My practice routine every night consists of this exercise to even more solidify the patterns in my head.

Take care and I hope you enjoyed this lesson and gained something from it.
Dan aka opeth.db