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Scale practice best done over chord progressions and in specific styles?


I've always been thinking of ways to maximize scale practice.

Let me put it this way:

If you just play a shape up and down the neck without any thought to it, you'd be getting finger exercise, but not much else.

you'd get a little bit more benefit if you thought about each note name you played while you did that.

you'd get even more benefit if you thought about each note's interval compared to the root while you played.

you'd get even more benefit if you had the root playing underneath the scale to hear the context.

a metronome would keep you in time (hopefully)

a drum beat would affect your playing...

and finally, a chord progression would guide your scale practice into melodic choices.

So.. would this be the best way to practice a scale? So, having a drum beat playing a jazz shuffle, and having a ii-V-I progression going underneath... and taking the time to think about note names and intervals... would this not be the BEST way to practice a scale? You'd learn so much all at once?



if you recognized that the pentatonics related to the chords, major chord, major pentatonic, minor chord minor pentatonic, you would find that you can play the pentatonic scales anywhere you have a chord in your progression. If you can relate the chords to the modes you will be further along as well

I chord major or Ionian
ii chord dorian
iii chord Phrygian
IV lydian
V mixolydian
vi minor or aeolian
vii diminished or locrian

for the key of G this is

Gmaj chord .........G major or G major pentatonic
Amin chord..........A dorian or A minor pentatonic
Bmin chord..........B phrygian or B minor pentatonic
Cmaj chord..........C lydian or C major pentatonic
Dmaj chord..........D mixolydian or D major pentatonic
Emin chord...........E minor or E aeolian or E minor pentatonic
F#7 b5 chord.......F# locrian, does not fit a pentatonic, but easily derived from the G major scale,


guitguy28 said:
If you just play a shape up and down the neck without any thought to it, you'd be getting finger exercise, but not much else.

I think there's an ear training element there too, especially if you go into it with that in mind.

I like to run through the different modes (and/or other scales) in a particular key, back to back, which probably helps me to focus on the different sounds of each, and also the differences in fingering (which in turn probably makes it easier for me to internalize stuff like "oh yeah, Phrygian mode has a minor third")

Drilling arpeggios along with the scales also helps me a lot, for developing an ear for the chord tones and for building the finger memory of where the important anchor points of the scale are.

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