How many different ways can you play a C major scale on guitar?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by cantstoplt021, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    As I try to learn the fretboard completely I keep thinking about how hard learning guitar really is. I'm not sure about other instruments, but I know on piano for instance there is one way to play a C major scale. I think most horn instruments are like that too (I might be wrong). I'm sure this issue is found on all string instruments. Guitar has the fortune of using an odd tuning to complicate things further also. Anyway I'm just curious about how many different ways there are to play things on guitar. Sure we get to use patterns, but there's so many different ways to play things that its a catch 22.
     
  2. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Read the first three pages of Mick Goodrick's Advancing Guitarist.
     
  3. DivineTones

    DivineTones Member

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    Yeah, pretty much as many ways as you can devise. You're taking not only standard 4-fret box positions, but also extended 5-fret (three notes per string) patterns, and then mixing those one into the other, and finding a mind boggling number of transitions when you take into account fingering differences, slides into the next pattern, string skips, etc. I wouldn't even waste time on counting, just keep playing with the connections and learning the sound as well as the patterns all around the finger board, using intervals/coils/whatever until you don't have to think about it.

    FWIW, all the guitarists I knew at conservatory were as pissed as myself that everone was required to pass a piano proficiency, but pianists weren't required a guitar proficiency, lol. Those guys had practiced those linear scales and arpeggios for years before arriving at school, so they'd tear through the proficiency in the first week while all the rest of us spent a full year taking piano lessons in order to barely pass the exam, lol.
     
  4. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    and then Guitar Lore by Dennis Sandole
    followed by the William Leavitt books.
     
  5. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    As for me, I've worked mostly on these eight: the five box positions, and 3-, 4-, and 5-notes per string. Then various patterns within the scale.

    If you're going about this to learn the fretboard, there are a bunch of other things you might try too - especially arpeggios. I worked on Garrison Fewel's arpeggio approach in this book http://www.amazon.com/Jazz-Improvisation-Guitar-Melodic-Approach/dp/0634017721 until I had those arpeggios down as cold as my major modes in the box positions and pentatonic scales....
     
  6. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

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    If there's only one way to play it on piano... How is there more than one way on guitar?

    The notes are the same.

    I mean I guess I get what you're thinking... different positions or patterns, right? But, really, the notes go up or down in the same intervals on both instruments, you can thinking linearly by string and compare that directly to a keyboard, or you can recognize the advantage of not having to walk so far and hit the next string.

    If I had it to do all over again, I'd probably work a lot harder on memorizing the notes on the fretboard and spelling out chords rather than noodling on the major/minor/pentatonic scales. I'd stop thinking in static positions and thinking more about relations of intervals. But, that ship sailed for me a lotta years ago... LOL
     
  7. deeohgee

    deeohgee Member

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    +1 on this!
     
  8. stevel

    stevel Member

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    There is a finite limit, I'm sure, but that limit would be incomprehensible without some restrictions, such as, one octave only, and/or ascending only, etc.

    But the real answer is there is only ONE way to play a C Major Scale on Guitar, and that is MUSICALLY.

    Otherwise, you're barking up the wrong tree.

    Steve
     
  9. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Have you noticed how many people out there of, let's say, questionable intellect, can play guitar - quite well in many cases?

    It's playing MUSIC musically that's difficult.



    No, most wind instruments do have the capability of playing many of their notes in different ways. So there are multiple fingerings for the same note.


    Yes, most can play many given notes at least in two different places, if not more.

    It's not odd at all. It evolved in conjunction with music. Prior to our now "standard" tuning, there were many types of tunings (and non-standardization amongst instruments for that matter).

    The tuning we now have evolved because the music demanded a tuning that allowed for chordal and single note work to play the kinds of harmonies and melodies most typically found in music. Occasionally, a different type of tuning might be applied for a musical purpose (modern classical guitarists tune the 3rd string to F# to emulate the lute for just one example).

    The reason the guitar is not tuned, all in 4ths for example is, it makes playing the type of music most of us want to play impractical (there are certainly exceptions, but I'm talking traditional music here).


    Are you learning to play guitar?

    Forget it.

    LEARN TO PLAY MUSIC on guitar.

    If you need to play X note, play X note. It doesn't really matter which fingering you use, or which string its on, AS LONG AS THE RESULT IS MUSICAL.

    You don't typically want to play C on the first fret B string and jump to a D on the 12th fret of the D string (exceptions possible) because that large jump is most likely going to create an unmusical result, such as creating a break between two notes that might otherwise need to be legato (which means connected, not slurred as now-all-too-common-internet-misuse-of-the-term is used).

    Stop worrying about how many ways there are to play something. In fact, I'm going to be mean here for a second - it sounds like to me you're making excuses. It sounds like many many people I've heard over the years who refuse to learn something because it seems to hard to them (and who often pursue insanely bizarre and impractical things to try to make it easier!).

    Learn to play something the way it works. Or better, the way it works for you. The more you play, the more other ways you may encounter that either also work, or may be even better.

    My son was behind me a bit ago trying to learn a lick from Ozzy's "Over the Mountain". He's learning it without the slurs. Why? Because he can play it. If he spends time trying to the slurs it's going to take him a lot longer. It's far easier to learn to play it "one way" and then add in the slurs later (and that is yet another thing that can be done in more than one way - playing lines legato, staccato, slurred, bent, etc. etc. etc.). He'll spend less time overall working on one facet at a time.

    If you can't play an A chord, don't worry if you play it 1 2 3 or 2 3 4. If you can't get the E string to ring out playing it 1 2 3, then try 2 3 4 . If that works, great, now get on with learning to make music with that chord, such as playing songs that include it, strumming it in different ways, whatever.

    I can tell you right now that if I play an "E" in a song, I might play it low, high, high with the Low E, high with the Low E, and B and E open, I might play a 2 note power chord, a 3 note power chord a 6 note power chord with duplicates, a 5 note power chord with a muted inner string. Whatever.

    In some situations I might choose one over the other because it works for the music. If I feel like it needs to be a "full" sound, I might choose the high one with the low E. If it needs more balls, I might just play the 6 string major chord. If I'm trying to copy another guitarist's move in a cover song, I may play exactly what they did. If I'm trying to emulate another guitarist's move in a cover, but because I'm the only guitar in what was originally a two guitar band, I might add something.

    There are many ways to play EVERYTHING in music. What you do is learn the TOOLS to make music with, and use them as the situation demands. I"m sure you've heard "pick the right tool for the job". Sometimes any old hammer will work but sometimes you need a sledge hammer.

    Right now, you're like a carpenter who just bought his first tools. YOu might be able to build a somewhat functional birdhouse. Maybe later, you get more appropriate tools and you're able to build a birdhouse that's not only functional, but one that is artistically pleasing as well.

    As musicians, we collect tools, learn how to use those tools, and choose the right one for the right task.

    Here on TGP, some people concentrate on one set of tools - like the right amp, or the right pedal for the job. Others concentrate on a different set of tools - the right scale, or the right note choice for the job. Still, some others are able to learn as much as they can about all the tools, and collect as many as possible, and to use them with artistic merit.

    If you don't know the notes on the fretboard, that's the tool you need. But you don't need the whole blessed set of English and Metric Torx bits. You need a one-size fits all Standard and Phillips bit.

    Get one Major scale form down, and one Minor scale form down.

    Then add more as necessary.

    You want to learn the notes on the fretboard? Great, but you don't do that with scales necessarily. Wrong tool for the job. You do it with music. You need to get everything to work together, like when you want to make a birdhouse, you would likely use a tape measure, saw, nails, wood, and a hammer at the very least. You either copy a birdhouse by sight (play music by ear) or use a plan (read music!).

    Learn to play a melody - but not as part of a scale, or fingering pattern. Just learn the notes of the melody (on the staff preferably) and then where those notes are on the guitar. The more you do this, the more familiar you become with your tools and the more options you'll have, and the more musical the results will hopefully be.
     
  10. Neer

    Neer Member

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    I am glad there was no internet when I was learning to play. Seriously, I would have never gotten anything done.

    Get a simple book with scales and harmony and spend as much time playing and listening to recordings as you can. Digest the information in your own way.
     
  11. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    Oh my goodness YES. Too many options, half of them useless.
     
  12. bayAreaDude

    bayAreaDude Member

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    I find symmetrically tuned instruments like the mandolin, bass , tenor guitar, etc. much easier for getting a grasp on the fretboard and patterns because the patterns can always be moved anywhere without alteration. Standard tuning guitar is wonky for sure. Playing lead lines on the mandolin is so much easier for me than on guitar.
     

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