So I got a book of scales and modes...

So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby abica » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:14 am

Sometimes a guy gets sick of staring at a screen- I figured an actual paper book would be nice to look at while I'm trying to figure this out.

Keep in mind that I'm just starting out, but I'm trying to go beyond what I've been doing- learning chord progressions for a dozen songs and learning (from tabs) some simple intros and a lead or two.

Anyway, the scale book is all in E. That is, it gives 5 patterns for each mode in E. Therefore, that can be moved around the neck to play in any key, right? Just plunk the root onto a different fret, and you've got whatever mode you've picked out in a different key.

Right?

So, making sure I'm clear on this-

QUESTION #1

I'm looking at the 5 patterns covering the neck for E Locrian. Well, I want to play G. So, I just shift everything up 3 frets so the roots land on G, right?

QUESTION #2

I've got to start somewhere...and figuring out where and how is my problem. I've read several conversations on here about application of this stuff, but I'm still struggling to gulp it down.

I know that simply banging away for months learning these patterns won't turn me into a lead player. I also know that it's too big a monster to gobble up all at once, so I guess I need to take a small part and work with it.

Maybe, as a warmup before daily practice, I work on a different mode each week? (With some reenforcement of the stuff I went over in previous weeks of course)

Question #3

It seems to me that the patterns for the modes are much more important than *plays the C Major scale* ... *plays A Minor scale* because if the modes are known, then if we're jamming in A, I can pull from my bag-o-tricks, which might contain 3 memorized modes, slap that on A, and noodle around over a I-IV-V progression or the like.

How's that sound?


Any advice on how to approach scales and modes would be appreciated. I've put some time in reading other posts on the subject, but it hasn't congealed into a practical way to learn.
abica
Rosebud
Rosebud
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:02 am
Location: Belleville, IL

Re: So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby jackr » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:31 pm

We all want to be able to play like pros - yesterday.

It would be my humble advice for lead to start with a simple minor pentatonic scales in all keys and positions. That in itself is a major task. And then learn the major scales. With those you can do 90% of everything.

Get it down pat and then move on. Also practice them slowly, speed will come with time. Most important thing is to get the notes in the scale correct and the all the notes in a chord clean.
On tour '76 - '81
Clean & Sober since '87
User avatar
jackr
Senior Member
 
Posts: 1051
Joined: Wed May 30, 2007 1:16 pm
Location: Wellington Florida

Re: So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby wisedyes » Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 pm

The best advice I can give is twofold :

1. If you do not have a metronome, buy one now. Always practice with it ON. Make it your friend. Sleep with it if you have to. Bad timing negates everything else about your playing instantly.

2. The best way to approach modes is to not think of them as separate scales from the Major scales. All they are is the SAME NOTES of the parent Major scale in a different order, lined up in order to fit the chord of the harmonized scale that they go with. That's it. If you take the time to learn the five positions of the Major scale, in all 12 keys, and have them down pat, you already know all the modes. The trick is to listen for the various chord tones in the scales - that's what Jerry G. and all the great melodic players do - emphasize the chord tones.

You should know that chords are constructed by stacking thirds. If you do not understand this concept, find yourself a basic theory primer online and study until it clicks. After that, you will see one scale really will fit all, and trying to memorize separate modes is an unbelievable waste of time. You do, however, need to understand them.

Here are the notes of all the modes in C Major, with their tonality and chord tones next to them:

Ionian - C-D-E-F-G-A-B Major7 C-E-G-B
Dorian - D-E-F-G-A-B-C minor7 D-F-A
Phyrgian - E-F-G-A-B-C-D minor7 E-G-B-D
Lydian - F-G-A-B-C-D-E Major #4 F-A-C-E
Mixolydian - G-A-B-C-D-E-F Major b7 G-B-D-F
Aeolian - A-B-C-D-E-F-G minor7 A-C-E-G
Locrian - B-C-D-E-F-G-A half diminished ( minor7b5 ) B-D-F-A

So, what this means is that if you are playing over a song in C Major, when you come across one of the chords, your lines will sound best if you target these notes over that chord. Playing other notes are fine, but try to end your lines on one of these before the next chord change. So, over say a G7 chord, you should target G-B-D-F; E minor E-G-B-D, and so on.

BUT, notice how all these notes are contained in the same Major scale. What changes is the intervals between them ( the spaces ) when they are lined up starting on different notes. This is what gives you the major or minor tonality and allows you to follow the chord changes with your lines.

Hope this makes sense to you and helps you out.
Out of the loop? I didn't know there was a loop!
wisedyes
Magic Hand
Magic Hand
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:10 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby abica » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:43 pm

Yeah, this is definitely helping put the pieces together.

1. I'm going across the street to pick up a metronome after work. Mom n pop store (B&G Music in Belleville, IL) where I buy all my stuff. No online monster stores for me, even though one opened up in the "corporate concrete town" just up the street.

2. So this example in C Maj, much like the E that the book works with...I bet both of these fit the major scale pattern, just slid up/down the neck?

I'm going to take this example and the scale and mode patterns in the book and compare them to see how things fit together. I read something a few weeks ago about the major scale formula, so this is slowly making sense now.

So...

This example might be really "odd" but I'm trying to get a feel for "how things work" and how the simple theory stuff fits in.

So please bear with me, and point out the strangeness or impractical things or what have you.

Let's take a 12 bar blues pattern. Looks like, if we'd want the lead to dabble in various modes of C, a chord progression could be Em7- Am7 - Bmin7b5 (wow that's a lot of minor-mess?...I wish I had a guitar at work...I'm learning the power of 7 chords to spice things up though...)

So the lead would play a phrase in C Phyrgian. Then he'd shift gears up to C Aeolian, then C Locrian, as the chord progression chunks along? Or since those chords ought to be complimentary to each other, might he stay in C Phyrgian?

Is this one way it works, in a general sense? Is this the "application of theory" I'm searching for?

This is very interesting stuff. I know I need to slowly develop an understanding of it- I'm starting to be able to create simple runs by finding roots and delving into intervals around the root note, but it's still blind groping, and consequently, I have no idea about proper chord voicing when someone's crankin' out a lead.

I think that if I start to learn these patterns, once I find that root when someone's playing a chord progression, I'd be able to apply the pattern and have a good idea which notes to land on?

Seems like the best way for me to go about the learning process is to work on chops by learning songs, keep learning some intros and simple leads, spend a bit of time on the scales, starting with....uh....a few..., and study theory and chord construction little by little during the process.


Thanks a lot for the advice! I've read several theory primers on the net, and now, if I go back, maybe they'll become a bit clearer.
abica
Rosebud
Rosebud
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:02 am
Location: Belleville, IL

Re: So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby abica » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:47 pm

Furthermore,

Learning all positions of the minor pentatonic scale in all keys...the key comes from where I put the minor pentatonic scale pattern on the neck, right? That in itself doesn't sound soooo bad, and should help me learn the notes on the neck.

That's the way I conceptualize this...not positive about it...
abica
Rosebud
Rosebud
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:02 am
Location: Belleville, IL

Re: So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby wisedyes » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:46 pm

Well, blues are generally based on the I-IV and V ( 1, 4, 5 ) chords of any given key, and are usually all played as 7th chords. Unless it's a minor blues, then it is still the I-IV-V chords of a minor key, with the I and IV chords as minor 7ths, and the V chord as an altered ( adding a sharp or flat 5th or 9th ) dominant seventh. So in C major the chords would be C7, F7, G7. In a C Minor blues the most common treatment is going to be Cm7, Fm7, G#9 or Gb9.

Further, the most common scale to use over a blues is the minor pentatonic treating say the C Minor pentatonic as the scale of choice over the C7, F Minor Pentatonic over the F7, and G Minor Pentatonic over the G7. This is not the way I do it, nor is it the way Jerry usually approached a blues either. But, if you listen to SRV, or Jimmy Page, early Clapton, the Stones, or most of the original blues guys, this is the majority of what's going on. In short, blues really isn't the best place to try to apply theory because the reason blues sounds the way it does is largely due to the fact that it's theoretically "wrong", which gives it that edge.

Try this exercise. The construction of any Major scale is W-W-h-W-W-W-h steps ( with W being a whole step and h being a half step ). Play any of the Major scale patterns you have in your book starting on the root note, ascending and descending. So, if you were doing it in C, play C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-B-A-G-F-E-D-C. Now, play the sequence starting on the next note, D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-C-B-A-G-F-E-D. Then do it with E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-D-C-B-A-G-F-E. Then F, then G, A, B. You have just played all the modes.

Now, if you have a way to record yourself or a friend, and you know some jazz style chord forms, record say a D minor7 chord over and over again. Now play the D-E-F-G-A-B-C-B-A-G-F-E-D sequence over it. You have just played the Dorian mode over it's home chord, a minor 7th. Next record say a G7 chord, and then play G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-F-E-D-C-B-A-G over that. You have just played the mixolydian mode ( Jerry G's favorite, btw ) over a dominant 7th chord, which is where it belongs. If you keep doing this for each chord in a harmonized scale for all the different keys, you will definitely begin to hear the intervals and the different tonalities between Major and minor, and what fits where.

It's hard work, but what you want to do is develop your ear more than your sense of formulas to use, if you catch my drift. But the way to do that is to work the hell out of the formulas.
Out of the loop? I didn't know there was a loop!
wisedyes
Magic Hand
Magic Hand
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:10 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby abica » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:57 pm

Thanks a lot for this explanation!

I'm kinda both left and right brained. I get lost and frustrated if I have no idea what the "science" is that's making something tick. But at the same time, I (and I guess no player) can actually figure something out without a good deal of intuition and feel.

When I'm at work tomorrow, I'm printing this out and go to town on it. For now though...the buzz cometh :drink:

Oh, I scored a wittner super-mini metronome yesterday...clicky clicky.
abica
Rosebud
Rosebud
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:02 am
Location: Belleville, IL

Re: So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby wisedyes » Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:38 am

Also, keep in mind that he pentatonic scales are also dual purpose - they can be both Major and minor. It depends on what the root is. If you play the most common form starting at the 5th fret:

E ---5------8
A ---5----7
D ---5----7
G ---5----7
B ---5------8
e ---5------8

Treating the A as your root, it's a minor pentatonic. If you treat the C as your root, then it's a C Major pentatonic scale. Minor pents for blues and rock, Major pents for country, jazz, and some rock - like the Dead or Allmans.

If you try to play along with Dead tunes, using minor pents you will notice that they don't sound right most of the time. Use the Major pents instead, and you're right there.

This is because the 6th mode of the Major scale, the Aeolian mode, is also known as the natural minor, and is the relative minor key to it's parent Major key. It is what minor pentatonics are based on.
Out of the loop? I didn't know there was a loop!
wisedyes
Magic Hand
Magic Hand
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:10 am
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby Crazy 9.5 Fingers » Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:43 am

I agree with Jack's advice and start off with the learning the minor pentatonic scales in the 5 different positions. Basically the first position starts from the root, the 2nd the minor 3rd, and so on up the degrees of the scale. The great thing about this is that you are essentially learning 2 sets of scales in one as every minor pentatonic is another key's major pentatonic as stated above.

When I used to teach guitar I always had students play over a loop of "Me and My Uncle" toggling between the two chords Em and G. E minor pentatonic is the same a G major pentatonic. The theory here is that you take your minor pentatonic scale root, in this case it's E. Move up one and a half frets and you have the relative major pentatonic. Don't shift positions, play the same notes. Both scales are the same notes but on top of a G major chord, those notes take on a major sound.

Once you get a good handle on this positions, start to work in the Major scale, the 7 tone scales people have listed above. Ionian, Dorian, etc. You will see that same pentatonic pattern inside of all of those positions. It's all related and getting a harness on the minor and major pentatonic scales will really make things easier for you when you work on the Major Scale theory.

Set up a loop of the Em to G in Me And My Uncle and practice that E min pentatonic/ G maj pentatonic. It's more fun and more practical to run your scales over a progression as you start to see how it all works melodically.
There are only two mantras. Yum and yuk. Mine's yum.
User avatar
Crazy 9.5 Fingers
Senior Member
 
Posts: 777
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:14 pm

Re: So I got a book of scales and modes...

Postby abica » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:00 pm

This is all awesome information!

I've got a bit of background in blues- I used to sit in with a couple bands on harmonica, and I had a clear enough grasp of I-IV-V progressions that the guys were always happy to have me up, but I felt like a total hack because that's as far as the knowledge went. When we'd play jazz and r&b standards, I'd fight the harp because I was a one-trick pony, and those dissonant blue notes no longer worked. I always tried to imitate Pigpen's crazy, dirty, intense harp style...it worked best when I was all fueled up...damn that guy could play!

Back on track-

Anyway, reading these comparisons between blues and "non-blues" I'm starting to figure things out. All the explanations and examples have combined with the other reading I've done- I'm starting to get a handle on the "rules" in my head at least- playing's going to be another matter :lol:

I've got an MP3 player that records acoustic pretty well, so I can crank out looped progressions in short order between that and Audacity. The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is working with the patterns in the context of music- I think that's really going to help both with ear training and memorizing the patterns, as stated by you guys.

After my guitar and I have chewed on this for a while, I'm sure I'll be back here with more questions.
abica
Rosebud
Rosebud
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:02 am
Location: Belleville, IL


Return to Frequently asked questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests