Fareed Haque -
Playing Scales on the Guitar
Scales are the basis for the creation of chords and melodies. They are alos useful for worknig on guitar technique and they will help you develop an understanding of how keys work. Generally speaking, scales are NOT used in improvisation. The problem with using scales for improvisation is that they limit us to ONE set of notes from which to make melodies. Unfortunately, most good melodies use all kinds of notes...not just the notes found in one scale. That's why using scales to create melodies never really works... But knowing scales as a BASIS for creating melodies and chords is very important. Eventually you must HEAR the relationship between chords and melodies - no amount of Jazz Theory will do that for you - and understanding how scales sound and what they are all about is an important first step. For the most part there are THREE scales that are the basis for 99% of all western music including almost all of modern jazz and modern classical music. These are the MAJOR scale, the MELODIC MINOR scale and the HARMONIC MINOR scale. The Major scale follows the intervalic pattern of two whole steps and one half step, then three whole steps and another half step: 1-1-1/2-1-1-1-1/2 in C Major it would be: C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C The Melodic minor scale Simply Flats the third and the major scale. The Harmonic minor scale Flats the third and Sixth of the Major scale. We create chords on each scale degree by stacknig the scale in thirds. That creates 21 different chords, 7 from each scale. These ar ethe 21 chords that are the basis for almost all western music. From the C Melodic Minor Scale: Cm(M7), Dm7, EbM7#5, F9#11, G9b13, Am7b5, B7alt. from the C Harmonic Minor Scale: Cm(M7), Dm7b5, EbM7#5, Fm7, G7b9b13, AbM7, Bdim7 To learn how to play these scales on the guitar I suggest the following approach. Keep in mind that there are any number of systems and methods out there that will show you how to finger and learn different scale patterns. The differenc is ithat this approach does force you to think of scales in 'my' way or someone else's way, as most "systems" do - This approach comes from the nature of the guitar itself and will [hopefully!} allow you to explore scale fingerings in your own way. We will learn major scales in three ways:
- Two Octave scales fingerings
- One Octave Scale fingerings
- 'Perpetual Motion' key changing exrecises
- ALWAYS play on the tips of the fingers
- Keep your wrist only very slightly bent away from the fingerboard, with knuckles straight in line with your hand.
- When ascending try to shift from 3rd or 4th to 1st or 2nd finger, so that you always have somewhere to go.
- When descending shift from 1st to 2nd finger or 3rd or 4th.
Thursday July 7th, 2011