I'm just beggining to delve into music theory.. some ?s

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frostmourne
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I've been playing for about 2 years. Up until about 6 months ago I didn't know a single scale and had no idea what it meant to be in key or even what a legato was.

I basically just looked up tabs and learned a bunch of songs to improve my chops and took peices from all of the songs to make up my own little riffs.

6 months ago I began to take lessons and I know a little theory and I'm a much better player now. I went from playing master of puppets over and over to making up my own solos over guitar riffs and stuff.

Right now I'm basically using pentactonic. I know a little bit of major but I'm not well versed in it. Now I understand like how I can solo with the scale over like a riff by staying in key. What I don't understand is how guitarists go up and down the fretboard while still sounding good and going out of the scale.

I'm sorry if I sound like an idiot I'm still a total novice to all of this.

Like how can they go out of this if the song was in G

3 5
3 4
3 4
3 4
3 5
3 5
guitarbonham
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well those notes your playing in the pentonic scale are notes that are elsewhere on the fret board. for example an E minor pentonic (from high to low) is
0 3
0 3
0 2
0 2
0 2
0 3

so if you go up to the 12th fret its the same notes just an octave up. so its the same scale just an octave up if you play it
12 15
12 15
12 14
12 14
12 14
12 15

so basically eventually you memorize all of those notes all up and down the fret board and you can play those same notes in different octaves and positions. like for example if you play 12 on the low E string and play the 7th fret on the A string its the exact same note in a different position.
frostmourne
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I see what you mean. But what about like here

e:---------3------------------------------------:
b:------------3---6-----------------------------:
g:--5b----------------5br--3--------------------:
d:----------------------------5----3------------:
a:-------------------------------------5---3---1:
e:----------------------------------------------:

e:----------------------------------------------:
b:------3b---3--------3--5--------3--6------6--8:
g:---------------5-----------3h5--------5h7-----:
d:-1h3------------------------------------------:
a:----------------------------------------------:
e:----------------------------------------------:

e:-----------10-------------------------------15:
b:------10b-----10br--8---12b--12b-12brp10------:
g:--7--9-----------------------------------11---:
d:----------------------------------------------:
a:----------------------------------------------:
e:----------------------------------------------:

e:---15---------------------------------13----13:
b:-------18--15---13br-----15--13--14b-----14b--:
g:----------------------14----------------------:
d:----------------------------------------------:
a:----------------------------------------------:
e:----------------------------------------------:

e:----------------------------------------:
b:----14br---11-----14br---11-------------:
g:--------------12-------------/12--12----:
d:----------------------------------------:
a:----------------------------------------:
e:----------------------------------------:

e:-19b--19b--18--15--------15-------15----:
b:--------------------18b------18b--------:
g:----------------------------------------:
d:----------------------------------------:
a:----------------------------------------:
e:----------------------------------------:

e:-------------------------15----15---17br-15---:
b:-18brp15-------------/17----17----17----------:
g:---------17--15--17---------------------------:
d:----------------------------------------------:
a:----------------------------------------------:
e:----------------------------------------------:


See it starts like with the g pentactonic scale but then jumps all around the fretboard.
Nikkoe
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That's easily explained by the fact that there are more than one position for pentatonic scales, and also that improvisation isn't restricted to these 5-notes scales. :wink:
auralperception
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Right now I'm basically using pentactonic. I know a little bit of major but I'm not well versed in it. Now I understand like how I can solo with the scale over like a riff by staying in key. What I don't understand is how guitarists go up and down the fretboard while still sounding good and going out of the scale.
First learn the pentatonic scale in all "box" posistions. You can then "walk" from one box to another.
That will give you some more freedom of notes to pick.
http://www.bothner.co.za/articles/blues5.shtml
http://jguitar.com/scale?root=A&scale=B ... tes=sharps

As for sounding good in improvising, I think there are many important things, but the most important thing is rhythm. You know, if someone talks a story with all the words at the same rhythm, it becomes quite boring. There is no peaks or valleys;

Learn the notes on the neck. On guitar, there is the same note on multiple places. The range of octave is from E2 to E5/E6. (depending on your fretboard). Know every note cold.
You can do this by finding the same note on every string. (it may seem stupid, but its pays off)

About the natural minor mode and so, read my post at
http://vai.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=22023
In there I'm trying to explain it in the way I understand it.

A quick way to get much information on theory is to go to a library, and study music theory there. (or buy in bookstore)
frostmourne
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that cleared up a lot for me thanks! I knew there had to be more to it than the pattern I mentioned
smj
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You can't really analyze a lick/riff without looking at the chord that it's played over. Usually, the harmony (chords) dictates what the note choice will be solo wise. More sophisticated songs will have chords that weave in and out of the key.... hence the note choice will go out of the key.

Sean Meredith-Jones
http://www.seanmeredithjones.com
max2304
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frostmourne wrote:
Like how can they go out of this if the song was in G

3 5
3 4
3 4
3 4
3 5
3 5
A good way to look at note choices is by seeing what degree of the scale they are, in this example, starting from the low E string and assuming the piece to be in G, the degrees are; perfect1, maj2, perfect4, perfect5, min7, maj7, min3, maj3, perfect5, min6, perfect1 and back to the maj2. These may seem complicated but these names simply tell you how many frets each note of this scale are away from the root, G. These notes can be seen to be taken from the bebop minor but with the 3rd being both major and minor which is characteristic of the blues.
This scale has probably been used unwittingly just because it fits the music. Unfortuanately the only way you know which notes can be use when is by lots of practice and by training your ear, then experiment with every possible note in every situation - that'll fill up your practice schedule :) Sorry if ive confused you.
Max
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Something that will be of a HUGE help to you is to learn all the notes on the fretboard. I cannot over emphasize this.

Pentatonics are fun to play around with for starters, but it sounds like your wanting to move up to a new level. Here is a key element to being able to play "freely" over ALL across the fretboard, and not being restricted to a couple of box scale patterns for the rest of your life. Learn all the notes on every string all the way up the fretboard to start out with. It's really easy to do, it is only memorization. take it one string and one octave at a time and in two weeks (given you've practiced it for a few minutes every day) you'll have it mastered.

THE FRETBOARD
What I mean by "learn the notes" is that learn your first string open is an E. at the first fret its an F. at the second fret its an F#, etc. take your E string, and learn all the "Natural" notes from open position up to the 12th fret. you'll find that E is open, F is 1st fret, G is 3, A is 5, B is 7, C is 8, D is 10, and E is 12. Practice jumping around these frets while calling out the note name to yourself when you play it.
the next day, practice playing the natural notes on the E string and the A string. After a day or two of that add the D string and so on.
Soon you will know the entire fretboard, because after you've memorized all the F's, finding an F# is easy, because its just one fret above the F. plus the same pattern of notes just repeats itself after the 12th fret.
So in the week or two it took you to learn those 40 different natural notes across the strings, you actually learned all 140 notes (roughly) all the way up and across the neck! (pretty cool, huh? 8) )

THE EXPLANATION
WHY do you want to learn all those notes?

Now that you know where the notes are on the neck, learning theory has just become 100 times easier for you, and here is why. You know how you asked how people could play that G minor pentatonic scale all over the neck? you can do that now! all you have to do is learn what notes are in a pentatonic scale and you can play it ALL over the neck with ease because you know your fretboard unlike most other guitar players. scales only have a certain amount of notes in them, so once you know both the notes in the scale, and where those notes on the neck are, the possibilities have just become endless! :shock:

Not only that, but learning new scales, chords, arpeggios, learning advanced theory such as chord/scale relationships, etc will be really easy for you to visualize, instead of spending forever trying to find each little note.

The Major Scale Foundation
After learning the fretboard, the very next thing you should focus on is the Major Scale. Even if your a minor scale metal-head freak :wink: Why? because Everything in music theory is related back to the major scale. The major scale is our foundation. what we do to get a minor, pentatonic, or diminished, etc is just taking the major scale and changing a note or two so we get a new sounding scale.

The C Major scale has all "Natural" (meaning no sharps (#) or flats (b) ) notes in it making it easy to understand, so we'll make this our example.
The notes in a C Major scale = C D E F G A B C.
Since you've learned the notes all over the fretboard, you know that you can grab a C on the low E string (8th fret), a D on the 10th fret, an E on the 12th fret, jump to the A string for the F note on the 8th fret, G on the 10th fret, A on the 12th, jump to your D string for the B note 9th fret, and then the C note again on the 10th fret.
You just played a C Major scale.
Now try playing the 2nd octave of the C Major scale starting with the C note on the D string 10th fret. Continue playing 3 notes per string, so your next note will be a D, and you'll move on to the next string to find your E.

The Woodshed
Write this down on a sheet of paper so you have it to practice with:
MUSICAL ALPHABET
A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#
*note: the B notes and the E note do not have sharps.
MAJOR SCALES
C = C D E F G A B C
G = G A B C D E F# G
D = D E F# G A B C# D
A = A B C# D E F# G# A
E = E F# G# A B C# D# E
B = B C# D# E F# G# A# B
F = F G A Bb C D E F
*note: # = "Sharp" which means one fret higher than the original "natural" note. b = "Flat" which means one fret lower.

What you will want to do is take one of these scales and play it across the neck and also just going up and down one single string. Start with the C and G scales. They are easier to think about because they have the least amount of "Accidentals" or in other words sharps and flats.
Also, try playing a song on a CD and then playing around with different major scales until you find one that sounds like it fits the song. this is a good way to improvise using your newly learned scales with a whole band backing you.


The Next Step
At this point, you've been practicing the fretboard and your major scales for at least 15 minutes every day for several weeks and have become fluent in playing with them anywhere on the neck. Feels good doesn't it?? :P

Now it's time to expand on your scale vocabulary.

Remember how the C Major scale is made up of the notes C D E F G A B C? Well we are going to put a number with each of these notes so we have something to identify it by.
C is our 1 (also known as "root" and "tonic"), D is 2, E is 3, F is 4, G is 5, A is 6, B is 7, and C is 1 again (can also be called 8 or "octave").

Minor Deluxe
What we will do with this is take this C Major scale, and by flatting certain notes we will turn it into a Minor scale. To make any major scale a minor scale, you flat the 3, 6, and 7. So for our C Major scale, the 3 is E, the 6 is A, and the 7 is B.
So our new scale "formula" for C Minor looks like this: C D Eb F G Ab Bb C

This time take the 3, 6, and 7 of the G Major scale and flat them.
The new scale formula for G Minor is: G A Bb C D Eb F G
Notice how the F is natural and not flat, even though it is the 7. This is because in G Major the F is already Sharp. Flat means to lower one fret, right? so when we lower the Sharped note, it makes it Natural again.

Practice turning all your major scales into minor scales, memorize the scale formula for each minor scale one at a time, and practice playing them on the guitar in the same way you did with the major scales when you learned them.

It's All Relative, Really
Every major scale has a minor scale with the same notes in it as the major scale. These scales are known as "Relative Scales".
For Instance, After flatting the 3, 6, and 7 of the A Major (A B C# D E F# G# A) we are left with a scale formula for the A Minor scale: A B C D E F G A. Notice that all these are natural notes. Which major scale has all natural notes? the C Major scale has all the very same notes as the A Minor scale, so these scales are known as Relative Scales. C Major is Relative to A Minor, and A Minor is relative to C Major.
Try this for yourself, take the E Minor scale and find which major scale is its relative.



Wrapping Up...
I'll leave any new information with that for now, as you can easily spend the next 2 months learning and memorizing all this to perfection while dramatically improving your knowledge and skill. Look at it like this, you just got about $150 in guitar lessons for free, straight through Vai.com :wink:

Though I'll give a bit of advice about learning scale "box patterns". Don't do it. It's the quick and easy way out to "learn" a scale, but you are definately short changing yourself and will regret it deeply in another year or two.
The problem with this method of learning is that (and I know this from past and personal experience) you learn the shape of the scale instead of the actual scale itself. so when you look at the guitar, you can only visualize it in boxes and shapes as opposed to the endless array of possibilities the guitar truly has to offer. It becomes extremely limiting and I became very, very frustrated with it because whenever I improvised I could never seem to break free from these "box pattern" licks. learning all these scales up and down single strings is one thing that will really help you not fall into that trap, by the way.
If you ever want to become more than just a guitar player, but a real MUSICIAN (there is a huge difference, believe me) learning the actual notes of what your doing is a key element to success. without that knowledge, you're never anything more than one of the millions of other clueless guitar players out there, and learning the notes of the fretboard is the first step in making a true musician out of yourself a reality.
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Big Bad Bill
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another virtuoso wrote: Though I'll give a bit of advice about learning scale "box patterns". Don't do it. It's the quick and easy way out to "learn" a scale, but you are definately short changing yourself and will regret it deeply in another year or two.
This is very good advice, I think. Learning 'box shapes' is a quick way of getting into soloing, but it really held me back until my excellent teacher showed me the 'light'-visualising the whole fretboard as a big scale!

One other thing I'd suggest is making sure you learn all the notes on the fretboard-it makes things much easier when tyring to be a fluent player.
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