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  #1  
Old 06-17-2009, 01:37 PM
cward cward is offline
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Default Scales Help Please.....

Well, I've been "playing" bluegrass rythm about 2 years now and I am gonna now try to learn to simple flatpick. I am under the understanding that I need to learn Major Scales first. Is that true? If so, I have printed out the tabs for all the major scales.

The confusing part for me is, do I use say, the Major G Scale when playing a melody in open G key, the Major C Scale when playing a melody in open C key and so on?

If not, how and why do I use the scales when I learn them. Thank you very much for any advice.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:19 PM
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Livingston Livingston is offline
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C. Ward,

I'm no expert but in a nut shell, the notes in the G major scale definitely work over a G major chord. The notes in a C major scale work over a C major chord as well...but the notes in the G major scale also work over a C major chord. The only difference between the G scale and C scale is F vs. F#...and both notes (F and F#) will work depending how you use them.

In short, scales are great for understanding the basic building blocks of melody and chord construction. In conjunction with this kind of music theory knowledge, it's great to listen to single note solos and even greater to try and copy the solos (play them note for note yourself) to understand how to build an mprovised solo.

Good luck in your quest!
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:28 PM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Originally Posted by cward View Post
...The confusing part for me is, do I use say, the Major G Scale when playing a melody in open G key, the Major C Scale when playing a melody in open C key and so on?
Hi cw...
Yes, the notes in the G maj scale are good to go for all the naturally occurring chords in the key of G, and the same applies to other major scales and keys.

You need to correct for accidentals and dominant seventh chord notes, & your ear will be your guide for exceptions.
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:36 PM
Malcolm Malcolm is offline
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Originally Posted by cward View Post
The confusing part for me is, do I use say, the Major G Scale when playing a melody in open G key, the Major C Scale when playing a melody in open C key and so on? If not, how and why do I use the scales when I learn them. Thank you very much for any advice.
Song is being played in the key of G. Safe thing to do is use G major scale notes for your melody. Yes, same thing for a song that is being played in the key of C -- you use the C major scale notes for your melody. You asked why play a specific scale, I'll add - why not play everything in C no sharps or flats? It's a range thing. I like to sing in the key/scale of D. I can hit all the high notes and grab all the low notes in D. If we decide to play the song in the key/scale of D (D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#) that scale will have different notes than say the key/scale of C (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) So...... all of us need to be using the correct set of notes.

Hang on...... going deep.
Song is written in the key of C here is what you could do.
If written in the key of C you probably will have a chord progression of C F and G7 chords. You can use C major notes over the entire chord progression or you could just use C Major pentatonic notes over the entire progression. C Major pentatonic has five notes - three of them are notes found in the C chord - which is the tonic tonal center chord. Thus you can improvise a safe melody with those five notes. Chords and melody notes will harmonize (sound good) if they both have some of the same notes. Read that again, it's kinda important.

Let's take that fact and use it to our advantage. How about over the F chord -- well, the C major pentatonic will work, as the F chord contains the F, A & C notes and the C major pentatonic has the C, D, E, G & A notes -- so two notes will match and harmonize, but the F Major pentatonic will work as well. F major pentatonic has these notes; F, G, A, C, D. Here you have three notes harmonizing. Which sounds the best? Leave that to YOUR ear. Your ear is the best judge. Same logic over the G7 chord use C Major pentatonic or give the G Major pentatonic notes a try. Now we finally get down to which notes? It's your melodic phrase you could just run them in scale order, but that is no fun. Take those 5 notes and hang out around the notes in the chord using the two non chord tones as passing notes. You just harmonized a melody over the chords used in the song, congratulations. Experiment. You've now got a melody going over a chord progression all you need are some lyrics and you just wrote your first song. Yep, take it one step at a time..... and it turns into a song. Hopefully that "big picture" pulls it all into focus.

Here is a chord and scale generator that will help you see what notes you need to be working with.
http://www.looknohands.com/chordhous.../index_rb.html
It will tell you what notes are in the C Major Pentatonic scale, etc.
C Pentatonic Major
intervals: 1,2,3,5,6
half-steps: 2-2-3-2-3
notes: C,D,E,G,A
You can also use it to find that the C chord is made of the C, E and G notes. Those are the ones you want to hang your hat on and use the D and A as passing notes. Do that same thing for the F and G7 chord.

That should give you something to work with and keep you busy for the next couple of weeks.

Last edited by Malcolm; 06-20-2009 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 06-20-2009, 04:33 AM
3rd_harmonic 3rd_harmonic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi cw...
Yes, the notes in the G maj scale are good to go for all the naturally occurring chords in the key of G, and the same applies to other major scales and keys.

You need to correct for accidentals and dominant seventh chord notes, & your ear will be your guide for exceptions.
I now know what this means..... after 20-30 years of screwing around on my own.

I just started taking weekly lessons after all this time. Half the lesson typically is learning a new song. And half of the lesson is going over scales and modes. I always told myself that I didn't need to learn scales. How wrong could I have been!!! It'll take me another 20 years to get em down because I'm so dang slow when it comes to this stuff. But it's my goal and I'm working towards it.
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:07 AM
Malcolm Malcolm is offline
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It'll take me another 20 years to get em down because I'm so dang slow when it comes to this stuff. But it's my goal and I'm working towards it.
Great thing about our music and our guitars is there is always something new to learn. Makes life interesting.
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