Pro-Guitarist Scales

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by maromad89, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. maromad89

    maromad89 Member

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    Hey, which are the essential scales used by Jimmy Page, Hendrix, Vaughan, Clapton (In Cream), Duane Allman, David Gilmour, Brian May and Jeff Beck.

    I hope you can help me, at least with one artist´s scales.
     
  2. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    1st and foremost - minor pentatonic.

    After that, learn the major scale and the modes based off of them. Allman brothers used a lot of Mixolydian, Page uses a lot of minor pents and the minor, major, dorian,and mixolydian scales. Clapton is all about the blues scale, gilmour mixes it up, lots of dorian and minor, clapton used the minor pents a lot, vaughn too.
     
  3. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    I think you may be approaching this "guitar" thing a little weird. :eek:

    I think it might be a good idea for you to find a good teacher and have them explain to you what scales are and why we study them.
     
  4. maromad89

    maromad89 Member

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    I think you´re being kind of agressive, because I detect a little irony in your speech and I really can´t figure out how could this comment help me. If it is not the case, please accept my apologies.
     
  5. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I'd agree with that. Your just asking what some common scales are, you didn't ask about theory. And IMHO, there isn't a "wierd way" to approach the guitar. Whatever works for you IS THE BEST WAY!
     
  6. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    I'm largely in agreement with brad347, but I'll offer some of my observations re: scales used by blues-influenced rockers of the sort that you list, in the hope that they may be of some use.

    In a nutshell: most of the players in your list tend to use pentatonic scales modified on an ad hoc basis by relevant chord tones.

    In many (maybe most?) cases, the base pent scale the player will use is minor, even when playing a major blues tune. In that case, the minor third over played the I chord (e.g., C when playing over Adom7 and variations) is a "blue" note and is often bent upward by a small amount, in many cases to the just intonation pitch for the major third, which is somewhat flat of the equal temperament pitch. The dominant seventh (G in the key of A) in the minor pent can similarly function as a blue note over the V chord (E) and can be bent to the JI major third of that chord as a melodic device.

    When the major pent scale is used, it is often used as a momentary replacement for the parallel minor pent (see Eric Clapton's early playing, Duane Allman, and Leslie West). In this case, the major sixth (F# when playing in A) can be bent up to the dominant seventh when playing over the I chord, again working as a kind of blue note.

    The real key to successful use of pents is knowledge of the tones in the chords you're playing over, so you're able to add/alter notes in the pent scale to fit the moment. If you're not conversant with chords and voicings, finding a teacher/mentor to help in this area would be a good idea.

    The most obvious anomaly in your list is Brian May. He can be somewhat more sophisticated in his use of scales than the typical rocker, and he obviously has some amount classical training and/or experience. To develop any real mastery of scalar concepts at his level, you really do need to find a teacher, and you should be prepared to spend some years working on the concepts and techniques.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  7. ecm1117

    ecm1117 Member

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    Learn your pentatonic scales up and down the neck. When you've got that, move on to learning major scales the same way. Make sure you also learn how to apply these scales. A teacher can make this process easier and quicker to go through.
     
  8. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    I might recommend buying a good transcription (mag or book) and then marking the notes used in a given solo on a neck diagram paper. On the simple side, you'll just draw a pentatonic in one position, a more complex solo might involve more notes and locations.

    This helps beginners see how a player envisions the neck for a certain passage or solo.
     
  9. Idlewilde

    Idlewilde Member

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    Learning this stuff is cool and helps but don't let it take up all your time. Everything is based off the major scale give or take. I've been playing 22 yrs and as much as I like theory in general nothing takes the place of learning and playing alot of songs. listen to everything in the song besides the guitar. I've always benefitted alot from that. Just my thing. To each his own.
     
  10. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Apologies if I offended you-- what I said was without irony. Let me see if I can clarify what I meant a little bit.

    Most guitarists do not create their solos based upon 'scales' alone. Certainly most guitarists making great music do not use scales as a 'prescription' for what to play.

    Scales, like most elements of music theory, exist as a means to describe various phenomena in music; not as a means to prescribe what to play. I think I'm starting to repeat myself-- anyway....

    The reason the guitarists you listed all have their own unique sound is NOT because they are utilizing different "scales." There are many, many elements that make up their musicianship. If you were to break down and analyze the solos of those you mentioned, you would actually find a lot of common ground in terms of vocabulary and harmonic content (i.e. 'scales' and 'chords.') Where you would find the differences (and brilliance) is mostly in the melodic choices they make.

    Additionally, unless a piece stays on one chord or in one harmonic area for the entire song (most do not), an analysis of any solo will show many different 'scales,' dependent, of course, upon what the chord is.

    Certainly, what Jimi Hendrix played over "Little Wing" would not be the same as what he would play over a blues, because the chord progressions are different. So knowing what "scales" he "used" over one piece would not necessarily translate when approaching another piece.

    Also, there are no "pro guitarist scales." When you become a professional, you don't suddenly learn these scales. The ones you could find in a Jimi Hendrix or Brian May etc. solo are the very same ones you can find in a Mel Bay beginner book-- the magic, as I said, lies elsewhere. And you said "at least one artist's scales," but the thing is, they are all dipping into the same pool. They all use the same stuff, more or less. They just do different stuff with it. They're using the same stuff you do, too!

    Now, had you asked the question "what is Jeff Beck playing in this particular song," or something similar, THAT is a question that can be answered with relevance. It would be a useful question, too, so that you could learn a little bit about what JB played at that moment, for educational/observational purposes. But it still wouldn't be a 'prescription' for what to play! :)

    Learning to play guitar is not hard, but it IS more involved than learning a bunch of scales and then playing them when you want to sound like a certain artist. That's why I suggested that you find a good teacher. I just feel like you're approaching the whole thing a little weird and could benefit from having someone more experienced share their experience with you in a way that sets you on a course toward actually learning/accomplishing things in music that will give you satisfaction and joy. I also felt like the kind of direction you seem to (in my opinion) need is beyond the scope of help from an internet forum.

    So what I said was without irony and was intended to help. Forgive if I was a little blunt.

    Good luck! :) :) :)
     
  11. lifeinsong

    lifeinsong Member

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    These answers are way too heavy and I could see where they would be confusing to some.

    Based on the players that you mentioned, you should start by learning your major and minor pentatonic and blues scales. As others have stated, just running/playing scales is not the way to go...learning the sound/tonality of the different types of scales is very important and learning how to create little melodies(riffs) from the notes within those scales is how you learn to improvise/solo.

    There is a ton of information available on this site and others around the internet. Youtube.com is also a great source for instructional material because you can actually watch other guitarists demonstrate what they are saying...it's like having thousands of mini guitar lessons.

    Best of luck and have fun!
     
  12. maromad89

    maromad89 Member

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    Thank you all my friends, I know a little theory, I´ve been playing for 5 years now, but every comment here can help me. Sorry Brad, and thank you all for the data!
     
  13. crzyfngers

    crzyfngers Member

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    there are only 11 notes. no matter where you are you're only a half step away from the right note. play what sounds good to you.
     
  14. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    This is a Catch-22 subject. Try to respond to the question as asked, and you've got to presume some level of experience and insight on the part of the questioner. Respond based on musical, rather than technical, criteria, and you'll either be accused of dodging the question or being judgemental or harsh.

    The concept was articulated in a way that struck home with me a few years ago on the Yahoo jazz guitar list by Clif Kuplen. He said that scales tell you where to find the notes, whereas you must learn to rely on your ear to tell you what to play.

    Even though I did it for years myself, I no longer subscribe to the notion of extensively practicing scales in a linear fashion, unless that is what you envision yourself playing. IMO, you need to practice the ideas you want to be able to play fluidly. You can use a thorough knowledge of scales to help you find those notes, however, just as you can use the ability to read music in learning new ideas. They are the tools, not the music.

    Having said that, it remains the case that many well-known rock/blues guitarists play mostly out of pentatonic-based concepts. If you want to sound like they do, you should probably work from the same "note pool" as they do.
     
  15. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Ummm...make that twelve...

    (FWIW, I agree with Brad347...the scales those guys have are no different than the ones everyone else uses and you already have access to...I think you're barking up the wrong tree)
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  16. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    When I entered this thread I thought it was going to be about pay (mula)
     
  17. Chris Rice

    Chris Rice Member

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    $0.07 for each note played, $0.00 for each rest. Chords are $0.025 per note.
     
  18. evanjackson

    evanjackson Supporting Member

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    Lots of good info here, but to start off I'd learn the minor pentatonic, major pentatonic and major scale. That way you can start playing solos now and just kind of blend in the more involved stuff as you go.
    You can play a whole heckuva lot of great stuff with just those 3.

    Oh, and another point that I think is important...think of a solo as a little mini-song...have a beginning, middle and end...maybe start off with a slow major scale thing and build to a faster pentatonic motif...just try to create dramatic tension. I think that can be more important than using lots of different scales. You can do alot with a little.
     
  19. crzyfngers

    crzyfngers Member

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    the first one is the same as the last one it's not a different note. that makes 11. i can't speak to the western obsession with even numbers. scales are exercises. learn 'em and forget 'em. there's nothing musical about playing scales.
     
  20. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    i love the pro major scale. it comes with a free soy chai and some licorice piglets.
     

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