Skipping patterns altogether and learning scales on single strings?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by cantstoplt021, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    One of my big music goals for 2015 is to really try to learn my fretboard much better. I'm pretty sick of playing in boxes and then switching to another box and then getting lost and returning to another box and playing the same thing in that box....well you get the point. Other than composing solos and trying to match vocal licks to my guitar (see my other thread) I think I want to start working on knowing scales on a single string. How is the best way to go about doing this? Since guitar is a shape based instrument this will be a big challenge for me. You guys that can do this A) how did you practice it? B) how do you visualize the scale? Maybe with this the key is knowing the notes so well that it's automatic. You want a Bb major scale on the B string well you just know right where the notes are instead of relying on a pattern. Is this the general gist of how you get to be scale fluent on single strings? Is it more know the notes like the back of your hand versus know the whole step half step formula from a starting point?

    And I'm going to start with majors scales too btw
     
  2. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Advancing Guitar-Mick Goodrick....first ten pages.
    You might want to look up 'tetrachord'.
     
  3. bayAreaDude

    bayAreaDude Member

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    I try to memorize scales just as patterns of intervals. That way you can even switch to a different instrument.
     
  4. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

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    I love playing on a single string. I do it often. But I dont think you can just skip patterns. I recommend learning scales and arps by prerecording and playing a chord or progression slowly behind the scale youre working on.

    Jamey Abersold used to elongate certain jazz tunes so you could play longer on each chord to get the sound in your head. I have had good luck with this approach and should do it more myself. It can work with any style of music.
     
  5. anyone

    anyone Member

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    I think you're better off embracing patterns and using fretboard symmetry to your advantage. Learning the location of octaves over the fretboard will help tremendously.
     
  6. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

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    Octaves are a huge helper in the "where am I now" battle.
    Also chord shapes.
     
  7. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    1. Know the notes in the scale.
    2. Know the notes on the strings.

    I second the Advancing Guitarist recommendation. I started working with that book when it came out and it's been an invaluable resource ever since.

    One of the best things I ever did for my improvisation and fingerboard knowledge was limiting myself to a single string. Playing melodies, scales, arpeggios, improvising, sight reading, etc.

    Take it slow. Give yourself time with it. You won't be able to play your usual "stuff" nor will you be able to play fast. That's not the point of it so don't get discouraged. The point is to break yourself out of finger patterns and stock licks and also learn the fingerboard more completely. I'd start with one string and really milk it. Doesn't matter which one. If you've learned it well, each additional string added will be easier than the previous.
     
  8. cameron

    cameron Member

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    I remember when I first started playing guitar, people would often comment on how strange it was that I would play lines up and down on a single string. That just seemed the natural way to play. Eventually I learned to play across the strings as well . . . kinda . . .
     
  9. gennation

    gennation Member

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    You're on the right track. But even more importantly, learn melodies on one string. By learning scales you are still learning a pattern, but one that is physically linear more like a piano. By focusing on melodies you'll find that music isn't a pattern, it's not linear, and many melodies don't necessarily conform to a single scales boundaries.
     
  10. celticelk

    celticelk Member

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    +1. The patterns can always emerge through application.
     
  11. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    Maybe not completely skipping patterns but at least spending some time on single string stuff. There's so many different ways to play the same thing on guitar so I would imagine that if you had each string down cold you would have a lot of freedom. I've seen videos of Robben Ford and Eric Krasno playing pentatonics all over the neck in no particular order. They aren't playing patterns 5 the just know where all the notes are all over the neck. I'd like to get to that level
     
  12. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    well, it sounds like you need to learn the neck, completely; so?
    so, it's not that hard.
    it seems likely to me that it might only take as much time as your clear concentration will bear, when devoted steadily & regularly.....

    ..... add to which, of course, the basic confidence --- not cockiness --- that can arise from a good bunch of real experience with on-demand musical application.
     
  13. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    In terms of learning to think along a single string, choose a reference note that is convenient - like an open string.

    Ex. Practice an E major scale along the high E string, pedaling against the open note:
    0 2 0 4 0 5 0 7 0 9 0 11 0 12

    Ex. Then try short melodic segments:
    0 2 4 0 4 5 0 5 7 0 7 9 0 9 11 0 11 12

    If you have a looper, record a drone and play against that. Try the different modes of the major scale. Try E Lydian, E Ionian, E Mixolydian, E Dorian, E Aeolian, and E Phrygian against an E drone, playing the mode along the string.

    Have fun!
     
  14. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    A) I took a string at a time and did all 12 keys of some kind of scale going around the circle of 5ths. It's really way easier than it seems.

    B) You don't visualize the scale, that's the whole point. You know the seven notes that make up the major scale, you find the seven notes on one string. Circumventing pattern visualization is the whole point of the exercise

    The guitar can be seen as a very pattern-based instrument. It was never my goal to specifically reject that, I just didn't want to have to rely on it. Exercises to temporarily disengage the shape recognition can help with this.

    And when I practiced scales I always just jumped right to improvising with them rather than drill running them up & down
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  15. Lpmusicservices

    Lpmusicservices Member

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    +1,000! That book completely changed the way I interact with my guitar. It is what you are looking for, isolating a string and really mastering the connection of ears to instrument. Highly recommend for everyone.
     
  16. WKG

    WKG Member

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    I had a teacher years ago who taught me scales first by learning each string down the neck and then shapes afterwards. I learned my neck and it became very natural to navigate wherever I wanted to go.
     
  17. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I used to teach group guitar lessons and this was my approach to get folks to let their ears guide their improvisation. Beginning guitarists were making intentional musical noises in no time.
     
  18. cantstoplt021

    cantstoplt021 Member

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    So question for you guys. Let's say you're comfortable with single string soloing and you want to play over a blues and use the minor pentatonic. Do you think note names then or do you think in terms of relative major scales?
     
  19. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    I don't think nomore. I just hear it before I play it.
     
  20. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    BTW I hear the rhythm at the same time.
     

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