Scales to learn for 80s style shred

Tampitump

Member
Messages
435
I've learned many of the songs and solos of my heroes like Van Halen, Bettencourt, Demartini, Rhoads, and others, but throughout my time playing guitar I've struggled with coming up with my own licks, solos, and songs. I want to learn the basic eseential scales, patterns, and licks that will get me in the ballpark of where I want to be musically. From there I think I can more easily move forward, learn, and progress.

Also chords is a very big thing I need to learn that I think I've neglected. Typical chord types used in hard rock music.

If there are any good resources or information out there, please share!

Thanks!
 

willyboy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,643
The basics would be learning how to play up and down the whole neck in any key using the major scale and modes. A lot of rock players use three note per string patterns so thats a good place to start. Search for 3 note per string mode patterns or similar. Also make sure to learn the pentatonic/Blues scales in the same keys. You can begin by picking a key from one of the tunes you've worked on and woodshed the scales in that key. As you are working on the patterns it's important to recognize those scales in the solos you've already learned so you can see how they have been applied to the tunes.

Coming up with your own licks is in part using the vocabulary you've already learned and making them your own; take a lick you like and modify it by changing the rhythms, changing the notes or where it is on the fret board, changing the articulations, etc.... play it like you hear and feel it. And also exploring the scales and coming up with your own melodic ideas is another part of developing vocabulary. Every time I hear something in a tune I like I try to learn it and make it my own by coming up with variations on the original idea. And importantly take those ideas and try them everywhere when you improvise to find where they work.

As mentioned previously analyzing the context is really important in being able to figure out how to use solo ideas. What are the notes and how do they relate to the chord or chords you are playing over, what's the key, etc. Hope that's helpful.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,481
For what you dig, check out instructional materials from Troy Stetina.

http://www.stetina.com

I have used Troy's Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar with some of my more ambitious rock students.




As mentioned, lots of players within the genre favor the three-note-per-string scales, as opposed to something like the Bill Leavitt/Berklee type fingerings. Phrasing can be different, and the three note per string scales are favored by many for legato work, and they certainly set themselves up nicely for triplets.

At the risk of opening a king size can o' worms, if you dig the sound of neoclassical/Yngwie/etc., you might want to dig into the harmonic minor scale. Unlike dorian or aeolian (/natural minor) modes, the harmonic minor (and melodic minor) scales feature a leading tone (half step below the tonic), and typically mean that one is playing in a minor key as opposed to a minor mode, and that if there is a V chord present, it will be A V7 instead of a v minor. Harmonic minor is probably the quintessential neoclassical scale, for what it's worth.

Steve Morse is a guy who incorporates more chromatic passing tones into his rock playing than most. Check him and chromatics out if you dig.

Joe Satriani utilizes some fairly exotic sounds now and then. He does stuff with lydian and locrian modes, among others, but mixolydian is a bread & butter staple for him. In the way that major scale/ionian mode is the scale that outlines a major 7 chord, mixolydian is the sound of a dominant 7 chord. One thing that gives much of blues and blues rock its flavor is the clash of a minor third over a chord that contains a major third. However, many modern blues and blues rock players will instead opt to play a 'neutral third', or as I like to call it, a "teaser" bend. This is simply a minor third bent beyond that pitch, but not quite all the way up to the major third. The mixolydian mode circumvents that and places the major third in there, as with a dominant 7 chord. Mixolydian is simply a major scale (ionian mode) with a b7 instead of a 7. In any event, guys like Satriani get a lot of mileage out of it.

Just a matter of personal opinion, but to me the very best of the 80's rock guys, such as EVH and George Lynch, do in fact call heavily upon blues influences in their playing. In terms of seminal influences among the heavy cats who came before him, many would figure Beck or Hendrix to be the more impactful influence for EVH, when in fact his head was wrapped more around Clapton.

Modes are dirty words for many. Actually I think giving names to stuff is what bugs some folks, as I don't really know anybody who actually hates the sounds outright. The following might be worth a look if you're potentially interested in Satriani and/or modes:



https://m.licklibrary.com/store/Product/22181

The minor pentatonic gets routinely and mercilessly beaten upon, and rightfully so in certain cases - but - I'd have a tough time paying my bills without them. Killer Pentatonics for Guitar by Dave Celentano starts off in the usual way, but also gets into extended patterns and three note per string applications w/ pentatonics, a la Vai, Holdsworth, Marty Friedman, etc. Also gets into melodic sequences w/ pentatonics a la Eric Johnson and Paul Gilbert, as well as arpeggios with string skipping, along the lines of Gilbert and Nuno Bettencourt.

 
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Tampitump

Member
Messages
435
The basics would be learning how to play up and down the whole neck in any key using the major scale and modes. A lot of rock players use three note per string patterns so thats a good place to start. Search for 3 note per string mode patterns or similar. Also make sure to learn the pentatonic/Blues scales in the same keys. You can begin by picking a key from one of the tunes you've worked on and woodshed the scales in that key. As you are working on the patterns it's important to recognize those scales in the solos you've already learned so you can see how they have been applied to the tunes.

Coming up with your own licks is in part using the vocabulary you've already learned and making them your own; take a lick you like and modify it by changing the rhythms, changing the notes or where it is on the fret board, changing the articulations, etc.... play it like you hear and feel it. And also exploring the scales and coming up with your own melodic ideas is another part of developing vocabulary. Every time I hear something in a tune I like I try to learn it and make it my own by coming up with variations on the original idea. And importantly take those ideas and try them everywhere when you improvise to find where they work.

As mentioned previously analyzing the context is really important in being able to figure out how to use solo ideas. What are the notes and how do they relate to the chord or chords you are playing over, what's the key, etc. Hope that's helpful.
I thought most of it was minor, not major.
 

Tampitump

Member
Messages
435
For what you dig, check out instructional materials from Troy Stetina.

http://www.stetina.com

I have used Troy's Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar with some of my more ambitious rock students.




As mentioned, lots of players within the genre favor the three-note-per-string scales, as opposed to something like the Bill Leavitt/Berklee type fingerings. Phrasing can be different, and the three note per string scales are favored by many for legato work, and they certainly set themselves up nicely for triplets.

At the risk of opening a king size can o' worms, if you dig the sound of neoclassical/Yngwie/etc., you might want to dig into the harmonic minor scale. Unlike dorian or aeloian (/natural minor) modes, the harmonic minor (and melodic minor) scales feature a leading tone (half step below the tonic), and typically mean that one is playing in a minor key as opposed to a minor mode, and that if there is a V chord present, it will be A V7 instead of a v minor. Harmonic minor is probably the quintessential neoclassical scale, for what it's worth.

Steve Morse is a guy who incorporates more chromatic passing tones into his rock playing than most. Check him and chromatics out if you dig.

Joe Satriani utilizes some fairly exotic sounds now and then. He does stuff with lydian and locrian modes, among others, but mixolydian is a bread & butter staple for him. In the way that major scale/ionian mode is the scale that outlines a major 7 chord, mixolydian is the sound of a dominant 7 chord. One thing that gives much of blues and blues rock its flavor is the clash of a minor third over a chord that contains a major third. However, many modern blues and blues rock players will instead opt to play a 'neutral third', or as I like to call it, a "teaser" bend. This is simply a minor third bent beyond that pitch, but not quite all the way up to the major third. The mixolydian mode circumvents that and places the major third in there, as with a dominant 7 chord. Mixolydian is simply a major scale (ionian mode) with a b7 instead of a 7. In any event, guys like Satriani get a lot of mileage out of it.

Just a matter of personal opinion, but to me the very best of the 80's rock guys, such as EVH and George Lynch, do in fact call heavily upon blues influences in their playing. In terms of seminal influences among the heavy cats who came before him, many would figure Beck or Hendrix to be the more impactful influence for EVH, when in fact his head was wrapped more around Clapton.

Modes are dirty words for many. Actually I think giving names to stuff is what bugs some folks, as I don't really know anybody who actually hates the sounds outright. The following might be worth a look if you're potentially interested in Satriani and/or modes:



https://m.licklibrary.com/store/Product/22181

The minor pentatonic gets routinely and mercilessly beat up upon, and rightfully so in certain cases - but - I'd have a tough time paying my bills without them. Killer Pentatonics for Guitar by Dave Celentano starts off in the usual way, but also gets into extended patterns and three note per string applications w/ pentatonics, a la Vai, Holdsworth, Marty Friedman, etc. Also gets into melodic sequences w/ pentatonics a la Eric Johnson and Paul Gilbert, as well as arpeggios with string skipping, along the lines of Gilbert and Nuno Bettencourt.


Thank you!

I'm not big on Malmsteen or neoclassical. I'm sticking closer to the style of my bigger influences like Bettencourt, Demartini, and EVH. Or even Dimebag Darrell. I'm just looking to expand what I know, learn many scales, licks and techniques, etc.
 

Megatron

Member
Messages
1,633
For a lot of my students who have interest in various rock styles, aside from arpeggios,
I'd recommend

5 pentatonic boxes
as well as the blues boxes
5 major scale shapes
and 7 -3 note per string scales


there's lots of other things you could add, in time, but these will serve you well. Plus you'll see where all you other licks and solos you've already learned were generated.
And Practice these in all keys. Guitar keys, but eventually all keys.
 

Tampitump

Member
Messages
435
For a lot of my students who have interest in various rock styles, aside from arpeggios,
I'd recommend

5 pentatonic boxes
as well as the blues boxes
5 major scale shapes
and 7 -3 note per string scales


there's lots of other things you could add, in time, but these will serve you well. Plus you'll see where all you other licks and solos you've already learned were generated.
And Practice these in all keys. Guitar keys, but eventually all keys.
What do you mean by "guitar keys"?

Are major scales more important than minor? I thought this style was mostly minor. That's confusing to me.

Thanks!
 

Megatron

Member
Messages
1,633
Guitar keys just means some of the keys that come up more often than others in some guitar driven music.

For now, I wouldn't get to worried about major or minor or even modes. Not saying it isn't important. Guitar players can get really stuck on stuff like that. Learn the scale shapes. Drill them daily. Try to play things in all keys. And rather than Major or minor or even modes-try to see how everything relates. Often times a scale or shape could be either major or minor depending on the harmony(chords) moving underneath them.

Things like CAGED and arpeggios will be incredibly useful too.
 

CharAznable

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,613
What do you mean by "guitar keys"?

Are major scales more important than minor? I thought this style was mostly minor. That's confusing to me.

Thanks!

Guitar keys are E and A and D or so.. the keys that most guitar music is in. i.e. Bb is not a guitar key.

Major and minor are really the same thing. And the modes too. If you can play the major scale all over the neck then you can play minor and all the modes too.

However, if you want that Yngwie neoclassical sound, you want to learn the harmonic minor scale.

Say you're in A minor and you play the harmonic minor scale (same as A minor but with a G#).

A B C D E F G#

From this scale, you can derive a diminished arpeggio: G# B D F

Learn this arpeggio and learn how to play it really fast.

Instant Yngwie.
 

fuzz_factor

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,427
You might want to study some jazz instructional material to get a better handle on harmony, chord and scale construction, etc.

Even if you don't want to play jazz, the Aeolian, Dorian and Mixolydian modes will get you far in styles from blues to metal. So will learning how to construct and play arpeggios and find scalar notes based on neck and chord position (CAGED, etc.).

Premier Guitar magazine has a ton of lessons online covering scale and arpeggio concepts for everything from jazz to shred. Here's a great one covering the scale/arpeggio relationship:

http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/Jazz_Chops_Arpeggio_Blowout
It's a 'jazz lesson', but it applies to soloing in any style and learning your way around the fretboard.
 

Phletch

Member
Messages
9,896
OP, don't forget that Nuno and EVH (especially EVH) are heavily engaged in rhythmic chops, and I don't mean the rhythm guitar parts, although that is also a big part of what makes those guys tick; they are every bit great rhythm players as they are soloists. A great deal of the magic Eddie brought to the table in those VH albums with DLR and Sammy was his rhythm playing which directly translated into and informed his solo style. EVH swings like a motherf***er, and a large part of that bounce and swing is because he's such a great rhythm player. So, I'd say that HOW you play - syncopation, rhythm, timing - is as important if not more important than note selection.
 

Matt L

Member
Messages
11,662
Thank you!

I'm not big on Malmsteen or neoclassical. I'm sticking closer to the style of my bigger influences like Bettencourt, Demartini, and EVH. Or even Dimebag Darrell. I'm just looking to expand what I know, learn many scales, licks and techniques, etc.


Honestly, a lot of those guy's playing was based more on shapes and patterns than any specific mode or scale they were going for. Van Halen came out of a blues-based pentatonic thing and added the influence of Holdsworth's legato and wide intervals, if not his actual harmonic choices, and his own person flavor. DeMartini, Bettencourt and Dimebag were then influenced by Eddie himself, and took his style and added further techniques or personal licks. The more you learn their playing, the more you'll see and hear the kind of licks and runs they use. I hear EVH's influence in all three of those guys, and I can hear Schenker and Roth pop up in DeMartini's soloing a little bit.
 

cugel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,844
When I think 80s I think Viv Campbell. I sure hear an awful lot of pentatonic in his playing but often at blistering speeds. His major influence was Gary Moore IIRC.
 

Oneofthe

Member
Messages
254
You have already learned them. Now just analyze the solos. In depth.

Muzishun is really, really guiding you on the right path, friend. Please, do listen to him.

A humble recommendation I'll make is it's easier to come up with licks when you have context. What I mean by that is buy or get from youtube practice track music for Hard Rock and Metal and just play over it. The Practice Track provides you the context for your solos, your licks. Take what you know from what you have learned (which is quite big and no easy feat) and just noodle around over practice track and even record yourself. Then take your licks and play them without practice track music, just noodling around the board creating free form in a way.

A last note I will make with humility, is don't try to box in the geniuses like Van Halen; they were thinking musically, from creativity and being them is like me asking you what box patterns I can learn to play in Wimbledon next year. These guys are the greats of history, it's not easy to do what they did and do. Don't take this the wrong way but making the Mona Lisa took Creativity and Creativity is something we can all develop but it flowed in their veins.
 

Oneofthe

Member
Messages
254
I thought most of it was minor, not major.

This is the Major Scale, the Natural Minor of it is Aeolian:

http://www.fretjam.com/major-scale-positions.html

With humility writing that says you got some ways to go if you choose this path but I would not recommend it. My mentor got me off this path six months ago and I love the road I am on.

Here is a video of Dime Bag Darrell where he talks about not knowing any of this stuff. Long road ahead, frustrating road ahead if you take this road (Scales, Theory that road) instead of one like Dime and everyone else. I can't find the video. So much is being scrubbed from Youtube. In it all Dime Bag says he knows is the basics of Pentatonic and he doesn't bother with scales at all. If someone else can find it.

I went down this road for four years, didn't like it. I can quote it all the theory, none of it matters when you are playing because my brain feels it not thinks it.
 

Oneofthe

Member
Messages
254
I really feel the need to reach out to you and that is why I'm multiposting. I know this path, and I do not recommend it. You are better off learning to read music where you will see the board and the licks if you need to see them and learn the board at the same time without memorization.

But, Here is some junk I did with the Major Scale over some practice track music. This is all scales, I'm not thinking, I'm just going up and down the scale and not thinking or feeling and it sucks to play this way; you never feel it, you never know what you are doing or why, you just let the scale make the decisions for you. It's a frustrating way of playing and there is no enjoyment in it. You are like a frustrated, memorizing robot.

But here it is as an example, but I would not recommend this path and I love the path I am on right now. Oh, the amp in it sucks but it was the only High Gain amp I had at the time.



This is a three or four year old link, my playing is way better now. Especially, in the last six months and for once I'm enjoying guitar.
 




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