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Old December 20th, 2010, 05:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
pikachu69
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Tutorial: Breaking down Guitar scales and modes

Ok, so after a bit of discussion on other threads here is my take on guitar theory.

A few things before we get started:

In my mind, there is a large difference between learning to read music/ music theory (which most guitar players really don’t like the thought of) and learning GUITAR THEORY. You can learn all the guitar theory you need, and approach it like any other person using theory, without learning to read music. I am going to show you how to master guitar scales and modes WITHOUT learning to read music. You still have to understand music terminologies so there will be a theory element to the discussion but all will be explained in the lessons as if the reader has no experience reading music.

The only style of music that requires extensive music reading is classical music. I studied classical guitar for a few years up to grade 8 level and could not have done it if I did not know how to read. Now that I don't really play other than for my own enjoyment I don't find myself using this theory knowledge like I used to.

All other styles of music can be played to an expert level with just the theory knowledge of the particular instrument, never needing to ‘read’ a piece of music. Now I am not saying you don’t ever have to learn to read music, if you want to by all means do, it will help your playing, writing and music appreciation but for the most part, in rock and metal only a limited amount of theory is really used and needed so it seems like a waste of time learning something you are unlikely to use.

If you know what style you want to play, research the musicians you admire and see what scales/modes they use most often. These are the ones you want to focus on and understand. There is no real point in learning something in case you might need it one day. This is wasted time and energy.

I intend this to be like a series of mini lessons that will be added on a weekly/fortnightly basis similar to what I would present to my students at their weekly lesson. Because of this the quantity of the lesson may seem small sometimes but it is because it is a small piece of a much larger puzzle yet to be completed but by the time I have covered all I want to cover the reader should then be able to look at the fretboard and just know where all scale/mode options are in any key for jazz, blues, rock and metal within a few brief moments.

Also, please feel free to ask questions relating to the current and/or past lessons, and to make suggestions for upcoming lessons on subjects you would like me to talk about.

IMPORTANT:

These lessons are designed to be used by someone that can already play guitar. It is not a ‘how to play guitar’ lesson but rather how to better understand what the guitar can do for you. I hope this makes sense without seeming rude in any way.

As this first lesson is quite long I have produced a PDF file for you to download which includes the text above so you can view it all 'off line'.


Here is the download:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10584477/Gui...Lesson%201.pdf

Cheers.

Last edited by pikachu69 : March 5th, 2011 at 09:10 PM.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 01:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is very valuable! Thank you very much. The lessons look promising, I'll be sure to keep following them. I think I might finally learn my way around the fingerboard. As a suggestion, I think you should point out how, for example E string 1st fret is a F, and D string 3rd fret is F an octave higher, and how this pattern repeats itself over the neck. Of course students figure that out eventually, but it's a helpful thing to know from the start.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 06:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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One of my guitar teachers (the best one I had) used to draw the patterns so that I could just shift them to the tonic and get the scale for that note. I find that very usefull for learning scales
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Old December 21st, 2010, 10:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot, mate. Looking forward for future lessons.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 02:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prostetnic View Post
This is very valuable! Thank you very much. As a suggestion, I think you should point out how, for example E string 1st fret is a F, and D string 3rd fret is F an octave higher, and how this pattern repeats itself over the neck. Of course students figure that out eventually, but it's a helpful thing to know from the start.
Thanks for your kind words and Im glad you found it useful so far. Thanks for the suggestion too, this will be part of an up coming lessons once scale patterns are introduced. It is a great thing to understand to help navigate round the fretboard faster.

Quote:
One of my guitar teachers (the best one I had) used to draw the patterns so that I could just shift them to the tonic and get the scale for that note. I find that very usefull for learning scales.
This is also coming in future lessons, It's a great way to work.

Thanks for your comments so far guys, I will try to get to part 2 soon, but may not be this side of Xmas, it takes a while to type all that up lol.
Cheers.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 04:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm really looking forward to this, the first lesson wasn't anything new to me, but I think the later ones will help me a lot
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Old January 11th, 2011, 06:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lesson 2 is here!

Ok so after a longer break than planned here is part 2 of my lessons for you all here at Ultimate Metal. I apologize for the time it has taken to get lesson 2 done but all this is written up just to post for you so it takes a while.
Anyway here it is:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10584477/Gui...Lesson%202.pdf

Hope you enjoy and I will get onto lesson 3 when I get back from holiday, i am off this Saturday for a week so it may not be for another 2 weeks or so. Post any questions you may have and hopefully I will have time to check while i'm away.
Cheers.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 09:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nice lessons, dude. I bought my wife a guitar and we've tried wrapping her head around it a few times, but something about the transition from piano just fucks her right up. The keyboard diagrams in Lesson 1 might be just thing she needs.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 10:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Cool, I hope it helps her. Remember to ask me any questions if parts still seem un clear to her I will do my best to help and explain it in a different way.

I am not a fan of learning from a book or video/DVD as only a live tutor can tell you to play something again and again until it is right or pick up on more subtle things like technique. Kind of like a spotter at the gym. This is why I say to let me know if there is still a drama, I hate the thought of someone learning from me and not "getting it."

Cheers.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 11:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Really enjoyed the second lesson too, keep up the great work
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Old January 16th, 2011, 10:49 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Very very good work!!!
Thank you very much,
hope you keep on writing this lessons!
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Old January 17th, 2011, 12:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Very very good work!!!
Thank you very much,
hope you keep on writing this lessons!
Thank you so much for your kind words. I will keep writing these for sure as there seems to be a small amount of interest brewing.

BTW, welcome to the forum.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 07:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Lesson 3 is here!

I found the time during my holiday to write up lesson 3 so here it is:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10584477/Gui...Lesson%203.pdf

I hope for the small amount of people following this it has been helpful so far and as I said before, let me know if there are things you want me to cover in these lessons and I will be happy to try.

Cheers.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 11:12 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Reading these is on my list of things to do when I'm not too busy. (I haven't finished reading the first one yet. )
But I'd like to show my appreciation and thank you for taking the time to do this.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 02:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks ;-)
And i think more and more people will follow this soon, because now your thread is on the sticky list :-D
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Old January 30th, 2011, 05:10 PM   #16 (permalink)
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So this is what it feels like to be sticky...

Lesson 4 will be coming soon.

I would still like a few suggestions from you all about future lessons and what you would like me to discuss. These can be about anything not just scales and modes. If you want to know about chords, arpeggios, technique or anything else guitar related let me know and if there is a few people keen I will continue to write up lessons once this series has finished.
Cheers.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 08:57 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I'm interested in chords, since I do make up all kinds of weird chords from time to time, but I would like to know the basic forms (well, not basic, more like sus and whatnot, the not-so-basic-but-still-quite-often-used ones). I do know the open chords and major/minor ones, even thought I'm pretty bad at playing them.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 01:45 PM   #18 (permalink)
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OK, after I have finished writing about scales I will produce a few lessons about chords too. The good thing is all of the theory info that is being covered in this series crosses over to the chords so it will be easier to follow once you have read the scales lessons.
Thanks for the input Fama.

Cheers.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 04:51 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Lesson 4 is here!

Time for lesson 4.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10584477/Gui...Lesson%204.pdf

This lesson deals with key signatures.

As always if there are any questions let me know.

Cheers.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 01:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This thread is very cool.
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this time will be different.
just like every other time.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 07:59 PM   #21 (permalink)
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lesson 5 coming soon....

I will be talking about the relative minor scale in lesson 5. This series of lessons is almost at an end, maybe another 2 or 3 lessons will be needed to discuss everything I wanted to share and by then scales and modes should be a lot easier to understand providing all the lessons were well read and practiced.
Cheers for your patience.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 02:34 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Great thread! Can't wait for lesson 5.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 02:08 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Is Lesson 5 ready yet? Can't wait. These lessons are amazing!
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Old April 8th, 2011, 03:34 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Hey.
Sorry for how long part 5 has taken. I have been over run with work and have not had 5 min spare for the last few months or so. I just finished mixing/mastering a full album last night so I should have more time on my hands this week so I will get it done asap I promise. Once again sorry for the delay.
Cheers.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 05:27 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Lesson 5 is here!

Hey guys,

For those that are following these little lessons here is lesson 5 as promised:
(better late than never eh)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10584477/Gui...Lesson%205.pdf

Hope you enjoy it and learn something from it. Please let me know if you spot any errors or if something just plain doesn't make sense and I will re explain if I can.

Cheers.
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