Ignorant question from a newby

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Ignorant question from a newby

Postby chris » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:08 pm

Hi I'm a newby here and want to expand on my guitar playing.I know mostly open chords and am working on bar chords. I can pick out a few intros and pieces and parts of some short solos. My question is what scale or scales should I learn first. I have a book with all of the blues scales but was wondering should I learn something else first. I am totally ignorant to music theory and stuff like that and I am self taught. I have been playing mostly folk and bluegrassy stuff like friend of the devil,ripple,knockin on heavens door, two sisters stuff like that and I really love those songs but I think its time to expand. So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and please remember I am musically ignorant other than reading some tabs so you guys might have to dumb it down for me a bit. Thanks in advance Chris..
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby tigerstrat » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:30 pm

chris wrote:Hi I'm a newby here and want to expand on my guitar playing.I know mostly open chords and am working on bar chords. I can pick out a few intros and pieces and parts of some short solos. My question is what scale or scales should I learn first. I have a book with all of the blues scales but was wondering should I learn something else first. I am totally ignorant to music theory and stuff like that and I am self taught. I have been playing mostly folk and bluegrassy stuff like friend of the devil,ripple,knockin on heavens door, two sisters stuff like that and I really love those songs but I think its time to expand. So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and please remember I am musically ignorant other than reading some tabs so you guys might have to dumb it down for me a bit. Thanks in advance Chris..


Learn a major (Ionian) scale first. The "Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do" scale. Then you can work on a couple of modes of the major scale; the two most useful ones to start with might be Dorian (which starts on the II: "re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do-re") and Mixolydian (which starts on the V: "so-la-ti-do-re-mi-fa-so")
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby waldo041 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:14 pm

doh!

i am sure my bud TS meant that the 2 major modes to start is Ionian and Mixolydian. the 1st and 5th. Dorian the 2nd is a minor mode.

in fact i am positive he meant that!
:lol:
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby tigerstrat » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:11 pm

Did I misspeak? I perhaps have slipped in my knowledge of "the rules", bending the way I perceive them at times, to to make them more useful or friendly to me. I think about the modes in the context of the major scale from which they derive.
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby Stevo123 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:09 pm

Basically the major leaps you're going to have to make to move to the next level of guitar are:

1) Playing up and down the major scale from all positions A LOT. You're need to become so familiar with these positions that your fingers will begin to find the correct notes on their own without you having to think about it. If you spend about 50 hours doing just this, that will be a good start. Work on accuracy over speed. Noodle around and figure out different melodic patterns. When you've gotten that far, you will also automatically know all the modes. One of the tricky parts is learning to get used to the different string relationship between the 2nd and 3rd strings, which is a major third, while the rest are perfect fourths. Which brings me to:

2) Familiarize yourself with the "quality" of different scale tones and intervals in relation to the root: the main ones of immediate importance are 2nds (aka 9ths), major and minor 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, major and minor 6ths, major and minor 7ths, and octaves. Of secondary importance are flat 2nds (aka flat 9), and augmented and diminished 5ths. Practice playing these intervals and incorporating them into melodic patterns.

3) Learn all the chord shapes. They are all based off of the open chords you already know. You will find out through lots of playing around which ones are more useful. Practice playing the same chord sequentially up and down the neck in various positions. It is not highly important in my opinion to be good at playing full (6 string) bar chords, since they just sound muddy and if you plan on playing with people, you should not use them. Concentrate on 3-string triads. Get used to muting the strings you do not want to sound.

4) Once you know all the chord shapes, etc., figure out which scale tones are represented by each string, and learn how to functionally alter the chords, for example lowering the root of the chord by 2 frets makes it a dominant 7th chord, raising the 3rd one fret creates a sus4, raising the 3rd one fret and the 5th 2 frets from the I chord makes a IV chord. You can build licks from these alterations.

5) Learn about the harmonized major scale, as in: I ii iii IV V vi vii I

6) Figure out every way you can move from a I chord to a IV chord or V chord and vice versa. Be able to do this from every major chord position. Figure out which voice leadings you prefer and which ones sound more melodic. The I, IV, and V are really important initially but after you get them down, work on the minor chords, too. Learn songs and start working on being able to play each song you learn a bunch of different ways using different chord forms. Try to come up with your own arrangements and work in the signature licks of the song along with the chords.

7) If you want to sing, work on playing increasingly more complex instrumental parts while singing. Eventually you will be able to mostly forget about the guitar and put more attention into the vocals, which require more attention than the guitar to do well.

Work little by little on all these things simultaneously. This is kind of the path I've taken and in about 3-4 years I've gone from not knowing shit about music or guitar to having a fairly solid grasp of the instrument and how to jam and improvise with others.
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby chris » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:54 pm

Thanks guys this was really a huge help. And it is very much appreciated. I have a lot of work to do now but it will be worth the effort for sure. I also have been reading the thread on JGB RIFFS AND SCALES and it was very helpful also. Also I want to say this is the greatest forum all of you have been very helpful on anything I have posted so thanks to all, and keep on Truckin brothers.
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby phpbb » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:33 pm

don't forget: http://www.guitartabcreator.com/ can display scales such as these!

/shameless plug
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby jackr » Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:20 am

tigerstrat wrote: I think about the modes in the context of the major scale from which they derive.


I think about it that way too. Basically I think about the major scale with a different root.

For example, the topic came up the other day about playing jack straw using the E Mixolydian scale. Then that would be an A Major scale. A B C# D E F# G# A. However since the root is not A it should be like this E F# G# A B C# D E. (same notes just a different starting and landings points.

Here is a little chart I made that tells you what major key you would play when playing the mode.
It looks clean in excel but this was the best I can do here. If anyone knows how to copy something from excel to make it look nice and formated here I can email you a clean file of the chart. (or i can email it to anyone that wants it)


Key Ionian Dorian Phrygian Lydian Mixolydian Aeolin Locrian
A A Maj G Maj F Maj E Maj D Maj C Maj Bb Maj
B B Maj A Maj G Maj Gb Maj E Maj D Maj C Maj
C C Maj Bb Maj Ab Maj G Maj F Maj Eb Maj Db Maj
D D Maj C Maj Bb Maj A Maj G Maj F Maj Eb Maj
E E Maj D Maj C Maj B Maj A Maj G Maj F Maj
F F Maj Eb Maj Db Maj C Maj Bb Maj Ab Maj Gb Maj
G G Maj F Maj Eb Maj D Maj C Maj Bb Maj A Maj

So I definitely agree that learning the Major scale first is very important. However, when I have a student I usually teach them the minor pentatonic first because it is easier and sounds good with most classic rock songs. That way they dont get too frustrated and quit before the magic happens.
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby Stevo123 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:32 am

That's one of the ways I think about modes, the other way (which I think makes a lot of sense) is to think about it like this:

First of all, the majorly useful modes are: Ionian (regular major scale), Aeolian (regular minor scale), Mixolydian (starts on the 5th scale tone), and if you want to get really spacy, Dorian (starts on the 2nd scale tone). All the other modes to my knowledge are more for really atonal, modal jazz kind of stuff, which isn't really for me anyway.

The most important notes of any chord is the third and seventh as they play a huge rule in defining the tonality. The sixths are of secondary importance.

Ionian has a major third, a major sixth, and major seventh.
Aeolian has a minor third, a minor sixth, and a minor seventh.
Mixolydian has a major third, a major seventh, and minor (flat) seventh.
Dorian has a minor (flat) third, a major seventh, and a minor seventh.
Someone please correct me if I've made an error here.

When you look at it this way, you see that Mixolydian and Dorian are basically hybrids between pure major (Ionian) and pure minor (Aeolian). So in jams, if done properly, they can actually serve as bridges between major and minor. For example, in a purely major jam someone can play a flat seventh, and if everyone jumps on it then you can move the jam into mixo (which would be a jam over a dominant seventh chord - bread and butter of the Grateful Dead).

This is where, if you're a rhythm guitar player, learning to functionally alter chords on the spot comes in key.
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby abica » Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:21 pm

Hey Chris-

I'm in the same boat, slowly trying to let basic theory sink in. So a few kung-fu tips from my experience:

1) Read over this stuff a LOT. A tiny bit soaks in each time.

2) The best practice method to incorporate scales I've heard so far is to use part of your practice time on a scale, then play a tune in that key. Then go over the scale again. Then do whatever other stuff you feel like. Then repeat the scale, tune, scale again at the end of practice. Your mileage may vary- point is to reinforce the scale in your brain and under your fingers, and to develop your ear little by little too.

3) I was overwhelmed and frustrated. Then a few weeks ago, a buddy came by and we talked about 3rds. Just roots and 3rds...not even triads. Say you have the open A string. The octave is on the D string 7 fret. So noodle around with the open string and the D string around that A...you can start picking out intervals from A and see how they sound. Now, on the G string, find your major and minor thirds. Then, make up progressions, noting how sometimes you have to use a minor 3rd, sometimes a major, to make the progression work. Also notice how/when you land on that A on the D string.

#3 has been a mind-expander for me. Apply this to the open D string and explore the G string's relationship to the B- the thirds are in a different place on the B. Neat-o. All the sudden, when you're noodling around, you don't land on horrible notes on the B all the time!

Hope I've helped more than hindered. These things haven't led me to "where the magic happens" yet, but have helped open my eyes. (I just wasn't down with scale practice because it made no sense- like reading sentences out of a phrase book in a foreign language. Now I know some words, the phrases make a bit of sense, and it's less confusing)
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby GratefulPat » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:23 pm

chris, a little mexicali lesson.

http://www.youtube.com/user/gratefulpat ... fZf1kNH0W8


heres a little tid bit to an easy tune, it was late and im playin on my 4 year olds guitar so spare the tuning issues and mess ups. but its a fun song, good luck
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby GratefulPat » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:25 pm

if that link is tempermental just search gratefulpat6595 and its under rukind help
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby chris » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:49 pm

Thanks you guys are the best. Chris
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Re: Ignorant question from a newby

Postby tiffcheese » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:53 am

this thread is chock full of juicy goodness that I can use. muchas gracias amigos! :cool:
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