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peter_traj
06-18-2003, 11:01 PM
hi guys here i am again asking what might be silly questions but here it goes.my teacher has taken me over the last 2 years through a lot of scales.open position,closed,3 octave,2 string,3 string etc,melodic,harmonic,and a whole bunch of variations on each.it has been a HUGE task. i recently spoke with a guitarist back stage at a gig in sydney and i asked him how long it took him to learn all his scales.his response was ,i didnt learn any!!!
i said please explain and he did.he said that what he done is he learnt all the notes on the fretboard to the point at which they become second nature and then memorised all the keys and their sharps until they became second nature and then he could play freely in any key he wished without being limited to patterns.
i said that people have been learning the guitar by way of scales for hundreds of years so there must be some reason for it.his answer was that the real value of scales is to build speed and dexterity and thats about it,and that they actually restrict you musically.is this TRUE??his explination makes so much sense to me that i had to post this thred. what do you guys think.can scales help me musically or are they just a cop builder.?thanks bye for now,Peter

loveguitar
06-19-2003, 02:28 AM
hi Peter,

I still think it's useful to learn some scales as a start.
Harmonic, melodic, modes or whatsoever. It brings to us
some basis on why certain songs sound rock, or why
certain songs sound blue.

Scales also help us to build some licks pattern, shredding
and so on.

But still, it's not the only things that I think I want to focus
on. There's no end to learning scales. You can even create your
own scales. The key thing is to express yourself musically,
you play what you want it to sound.

You may be using the pentatonic, but if you should decide
to add a 9th note to it because you wanted a 9th note sound
in addition to the pentatonics, why not? If we only think
of the pentatonic boxes, that is quite restrictive.

Bizarro
06-19-2003, 05:29 AM
he learnt all the notes on the fretboard to the point at which they become second nature and then memorised all the keys and their sharps until they became second nature and then he could play freely in any key he wished without being limited to patterns.

This must be a drastic oversimplification of his method of learning! I bet if you really talked at length how he learned then it would be a different story.

It's like learning where all the letters on the keyboard are located and then memorizing the spelling rules and becoming a good writer! It just doesn't make any sense.

I think you should memorize all the notes on the fretboard and all the keys with the sharps and flats. That's just the beginning. I think your teacher is going about things the correct way, but you might want to ask him/her to put things in perspective and give you the big picture.

Learning guitar and theory can take an extraordinary amount of time and energy. That's just the way it is!

Anubis
06-19-2003, 03:43 PM
My answer would be that your teacher is both right and wrong cause there is no right way of doing things.
We all have different approaches.
However I do think he is more wrong then right since he seems to discard a way that many people uses especially some really good guitar teachers out there.
And when he says that that the real value of scales is to build speed and dexterity he is simply wrong.
I would say that you can learn scales and still do what he does.
Also remember that many guitar players out there are just simple
amateurs like myself.
We have no intent to become the next super guitar hero.
Scales at least helps us find our way around the fretboard and understand what we're doing.
I am always very skeptical about people who say that "this is the right way" a better way to say things would be "this is how I prefer do to it but there are other ways"
Personally I would find it impossible to teach other guitar players soloing without using scales.
I have taught many beginners and when they ask me how to solo over this or that chord progression I can't answer "learn all the notes on the fretboard and memorise all the keys and their sharps until they became second nature and then you can play freely in any key"
I can assure you that if I do that guy won't return for more lessons :)

snufeldin
06-19-2003, 03:53 PM
I've taken the same path as you and I don't find it limiting at all.

I often hear people talk about getting stuck in positions, but that has never happened to me. When ever I learned a scale position, I would work on being able to freely move from one scale position to the next.

I think that you shouldn't worry about the path you have taken b/c it doesn't matter that much. What I did when I got to the point where I had those scales memorized is tried focusing on hearing things before I played them. This is slow, but very rewarding work. And it definitely gets you away from the stupid runs up and down the scale.

To give a sum up: scales are musical. Just don't do the stupid runs that will make people think "gee he's fast." This might be rewarding for a moment, but when you get on stage with a blues guitarist you're going to get your butt kicked.

Bongo Boy
06-19-2003, 06:59 PM
Originally posted by peter_traj
he learnt all the notes on the fretboard...and then memorised all the keys and their sharps...and then he could play freely in any key he wished without being limited to patterns.Memorizing all the keys and their sharps is the same as memorizing the scales, right? What I think the guy is saying is that he simply approached the fretboard from a different perspective than that of memorizing the patterns themselves. While it may be true that he doesn't think of the fretboard in terms of patterns, those patterns are still useful tools, I'd think.

I started a thread in the Beginner forum, I think, entitled "Fretboard Pattern Overload". The members dialog there about this same topic. What I took away from that thread was that, if you simply try to remember everything in terms of patterns on the fretboard and that's all you do, you'll indeed have some problems knowing the notes on the fretboard. I think it's fair to say you may be more tempted to stay in the boxes, too.

I've memorized a few patterns until they are truly second nature--now I'm using that to 'automate' the placement of my fingers at the frets, and at the same time naming the notes as I do it. In other words, the pattern memorization allows me to correctly place my fingers on what I know are the correct notes, scale memorization allows me to correct name the note from memory, and the only thing I'm concentrating on now is visually noting the physical location of the note on the fretboard (and how it sounds, of course).

This is how I'm trying to learn the fretboard--it's slow as hell but I don't know what else to do other than sight read. I have too many crutches available and too little discipline to make sight reading work--it's a tough slog.