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Thread: Modes and 3 nps

  1. #1
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    Modes and 3 nps

    I am having great difficulty in understanding the 3 nps concept. I want to play 3nps so I can increase my speed. I know when the scales are put together they compose one big scale over the entire fretboard but am having trouble putting the puzzle pieces together for the major, minor and major and minor pentatonic.

    Does anyone know of a link that will visually help me to understand.



    Are modes 7 different patterns but with different root notes. There are not 5 positions like learning the 5 linking patterns in let us say the major scale.

    I am having a great deal of difficulty understanding all of the above.

  2. #2
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    To play the a scale as 3nps simply find 3 notes from the scale on one string, go to the next string and play the next 3 notes, repeat this until you run out of strings ie for Cmajor (C D E F G A B C)play CDE on one string FGA on the next BCD then EFG then ABC and so on


    Quote Originally Posted by diesel View Post
    Does anyone know of a link that will visually help me to understand.
    I'm sure someone will come along and post a good link soon....I found it easiest to sit down and work it out for myself ie I started with, say, the C major scale in one position then I found those notes in different positions across the neck. In the end I had 'found' the 5 patterns of C major, learning it like this is much more likely to stick with you than trying to memorise where dots are on some fretboard diagram you printed off the internet

    Of course different people learn in different ways, I learn best by doing, others learn best by seeing (or some other way), rote learning is a poor way to learn...

    Are modes 7 different patterns but with different root notes.

    There are not 5 positions like learning the 5 linking patterns in let us say the major scale.
    No, they are the same patterns with different root notes.

    I assume you know the 5 linking patterns (positions) of the C major scale (C D E F G A B C ) (otherwise known as Ionian mode..).
    C Ionian contains the same notes as:
    D Dorian
    E Phrygian
    F Lydian
    G Mixolydian
    A Aeolian
    B Locrian

    So in effect you already know the 5 positions of those modes too.


    Now to muddle the waters some more

    IMO thinking of modes the usual relative way (ie c major = d dorian = f phrygian ect ) seems to lead to a lot of confusion.
    Thinking of them in a parallel way is more intuitive.


    Each of the major modes have only a single note difference to the natural major scale.
    Each of the minor modes have only a single note difference to the natural minor scale.
    The single note difference is what gives that particular mode it's distinctive 'colour'..

    So you only really need to recall the single 'colour' note for each mode.


    The Natural Major scale (Ionian) = Root 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th
    in C for exe C D E F G A B

    Lydian has a #4 = R 2 3 #4 5 6 7
    in C for exe C D E F# G A B

    Mixolydian has a b7 = R 2 3 4 5 6 b7
    in C = C D E F G A Bb



    The Natural Minor scale (aeolian) = R 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
    in C for exe = C D Eb F G Ab Bb

    Phrygian has a b2 = R b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
    in C = C Db Eb F G Ab Bb

    Dorian has a 6 = R b2 b3 4 5 6 b7
    in C = C D Eb F G A Bb


    Locrian has been left out as AFAIK no songs make use of.

    Other scales can be learnt in this way too eg
    Melodic minor is Ionian with a b3 (or aeolian with 6 and 7 )
    Lydian Dominant is Lydian with a b7
    Phrygian Dominant is Phrygian with a 3
    Last edited by borge; 10-29-2012 at 08:51 PM. Reason: typo's..

  3. #3
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Basic same thing, just phrased a little differently.

    Yes you can use 3nps and a google will find you patterns up the neck of your fretboard. But, give the following some thought.

    Here is the major scale box you normally see.


    Here is that same box with scale degree numbers instead of dots. Look what you can do with the numbers.

    Code:
    Major Scale Box Pattern
    
    E|---7---|--R(8)-|-------|---2---| 1st string
    B|-------|---5---|-------|---6---|
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 
    D|---6---|-------|---7---|--R(8)-|
    A|---3---|---4---|-------|---5---|
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---| 6th string


    On your fretboard - place the R on the tonic note of the scale you want and let the box put the correct notes under your fingers. For example; C major scale. Place the R on the 6th string 8th fret and two octaves of the C major scale await you within the box. Want the G major scale; Place the R at the 6th string 3rd fret and play the major scale - scale degree numbers, i.e. R-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 and this time the notes for the G major scale await you. Want the C natural minor scale? OK again go to the 6th string 8th fret then use the major scale box pattern, but, this time flat the 3, 6 & 7 and you have the notes of the C natural minor scale. Learn one pattern, the major scale box, and then change a few notes for whatever you want to play. Want the Mixolydian mode. Use the major scale box and flat the 7. Lydian, use the major scale box and sharp the 4. Want two octaves just go up to the upper strings. Want to go into the 3rd octave, go up the first string. No you are not running up and down your fretboard and looking cool, but, you have control of two octaves of anything you want within a four fret area.

    This may be a paradigm shift for you, but, once I tried it I never went back to the ole 5 patterns up the neck. Give it a shot. I printed a transparency copy of the pattern and then moved it over a chart, like above, before the light bulb came on. After that it all became clear.


    Scales - Let the major scale box pattern be your go to pattern.

    • Major Scale = R-2-3-4-5-6-7 Place the R and then play the scale degrees and the box will put the correct notes under your fingers - every time.
    • Major Pentatonic = R-2-3-5-6 leave out the 4 & 7
    • Natural Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 Major scale with a flat 3, 6 & 7
    • Minor Pentatonic = R-b3-4-5-b7 Natural minor scale with out the 2 & 6
    • Blues = R-b3-4-b5-5-b7 Minor pentatonic with the blue note (b5) added
    • Harmonic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-7 Natural minor scale with a natural 7
    • Melodic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-6-7 Major scale with a b3.


    Major modes
    • Ionian same as the Major Scale. R-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
    • Lydian same as the major scale, but, with a #4. R-2-3-#4-5-6-7-8.
    • Mixolydian same as the major scale, but, with a b7. R-2-3-4-5-6-b7-8


    Minor Modes
    • Aeolian same as the Natural Minor scale. Or the major scale with a flatted 3, 6 & 7. R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-8.
    • Dorian use the Natural Minor scale and sharp the b6 back to a natural 6. R-2-b3-4-5-6-b7-8.
    • Phrygian use the Natural Minor scale and flat the 2. R-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-8.
    • Locrian use the Natural Minor scale and flat the 2 and the 5. R-b2-b3-4-b5-b6-b7-8.
    I know OMG. Really, not all that complicated. The major scale box is you home base for all major scales or major modes. the natural minor scale box (Major scale box with the 3, 6 & 7 flatted) is your home base for all minor scale or minor modes. Usually change one note and you have something new.

    Here is a video on how to play the modes. We all know how to make modes, it's using them in songs that is the hard part. Scott Devine has a great video on this. Worth your time. http://scottsbasslessons.com/welcome-to-the-shed The glove, skin condition, don't let it throw you.

    Notice Scott will improvise using mode notes in more than one location of the fretboard. That is basically the 3nps in five locations, I think he actually uses 3 locations, you were asking about. For the life of me I can not find those patterns tonight. Google should be able to get them for you. Here is Scott again showing how to move between three positions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN8pECkKO5Y Yes, it's bass, however, the E-A-D-G strings are the same on bass or 6 string guitar. Sorry that is about as close as I can come up with the 3nps up the neck, tonight.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 10-30-2012 at 02:57 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diesel View Post
    I am having great difficulty in understanding the 3 nps concept. I want to play 3nps so I can increase my speed.
    Bad idea, IMO.
    (a) 3 nps may not do that
    (b) no point trying to increase your speed anyway. Practice other stuff (like "music") and your speed will increase naturally.
    Aim to practise everything except speed. (Eg, go for precision and clarity, at whatever speed is comfortable. The more you do that, the more you'll find you are getting faster without trying. And you will always sound good, which is what matters )

    Anyway...

    The 3 nps concept is simply a way of using 3 fingers on every string, and the only advantage I can see (not a bad one) is it takes you out of single-position "box" patterns (where one of the strings always has just 2 notes so you can stay in position), helping you link patterns up the neck.
    I never use them myself (not consciously anyway).

    The pattern system I employ (inasmuch as I think in patterns at all) is based on chord shapes (CAGED), which means fixed positions for any one pattern, but then I know all my notes, so moving from pattern to pattern is no problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by diesel View Post
    I know when the scales are put together they compose one big scale over the entire fretboard but am having trouble putting the puzzle pieces together for the major, minor and major and minor pentatonic.
    You need to learn your notes, quite simply. You will never make much sense of scales or the fretboard until you learn notes, not patterns.

    Pentatonics (IMO) are best approached via the fixed CAGED patterns, not the 3 nps system. 3 nps - by definition - means full 7-note scales. The gaps between notes in pentatonic patterns are too wide to play as 3 notes per string.
    Quote Originally Posted by diesel View Post
    Does anyone know of a link that will visually help me to understand.
    A quick google found this:
    http://www.guitarmasterclass.net/gui...howtopic=16647
    Which looks good, but I haven't read it in detail.
    Quote Originally Posted by diesel View Post
    Are modes 7 different patterns but with different root notes.
    Not really. That's how some people like to name fret patterns (after Greek modes, but according to the lowest note).
    The lowest note of a scale pattern is not (necessarily) its root, not in the modal sense, or the chord sense. It's just the lowest note.
    In fact, mode names are OK, as long as you remember they are meaningless, and have nothing to do with modes as used in actual music.
    Eg, a pattern that might be called "E phrygian" has nothing to do with E phrygian mode in the musical sense. As long as you bear that in mind, mode names for fret patterns are OK. But you may well think (as i hope you do) that that means that mode names for patterns is a dumb idea .

    There are indeed 7 different patterns possible for any 7-note scale. They all overlap, and some are (IMO) not practically useful. Worth exploring, by all means, but don't give them mode names. A pattern of the C major scale is just that: the C major scale; some random configuration of the notes ABCDEFG. (Lowest note of the pattern is irrelevant.)
    Quote Originally Posted by diesel View Post
    There are not 5 positions like learning the 5 linking patterns in let us say the major scale.
    Right - I'm guessing you mean the CAGED system.
    Personally I prefer that, because I like to think of the chord shape link. And the 5 patterns overlap well enough - covering the whole fretboard - so there is no need to add 2 more in there somewhere.
    Even so, comparing the 7-pattern system with the 5-pattern one can show you more overlaps, which will help you see the whole fretboard as one linked system, as well as how arbitrary the individual scale patterns are! (And it may indeed aid your speed in moving around the fretboard. But unless you know the notes you're aiming for - and why - speed is irrelevant.)

    The whole point of breaking down the fretboard (one scale) into 3 or 4-fret segments (different patterns) is to enable you to play a whole scale without moving your fret hand: the fingers just play 3 or 2 notes per string, and move across the neck. Any one pattern covers over 2 octaves, which is normally plenty for any normal melodic phrase or series of phrases.
    The 3 nps system - in a sense - makes nonsense of this labour-saving system by requiring you to move your hand from one position to another in the middle of the pattern. Not by much, admittedly (1 fret normally!); and -as I say - if it helps you break out of a box pattern "prison" (if you've got too wedded to the CAGED system without understanding the notes), so much the better.

  5. #5
    3nps I thought was for keeping certain picking patterns or phrasing the same. Like if you did down hammer up, you could then repeat that for the next string.

  6. #6
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    When I tried to 3nps for the minor pentatonic shape it took me from the g on the low e string all the way up to 1string g 15th fret. If it takes me all that how can I do the 4 other positions?

    I don't get it,

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by diesel View Post
    When I tried to 3nps for the minor pentatonic shape it took me from the g on the low e string all the way up to 1string g 15th fret. If it takes me all that how can I do the 4 other positions?

    I don't get it
    Sounds like you've discovered for yourself what Jon already said above about the practicality of playing such scales in such manner.

  8. #8
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Our guitars cover three octaves. That's it. A Guitar is a three octave instrument. No matter what you do on the fretboard you are only going to be able to get three octaves of notes.

    Most songs do not occupy three octaves. If you have a 6 string instrument you can get two of those octaves in one four fret area and if you have a few notes in the song that go into the third octave you just go up the neck on the 1st string and grab what you need. Yep - running up and down the neck is one way of doing it, but, not necessary.
    Code:
    Major Scale Box Pattern
    
    E|---7---|--R(8)-|-------|---2---| 1st string
    B|-------|---5---|-------|---6---|
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 
    D|---6---|-------|---7---|--R(8)-|
    A|---3---|---4---|-------|---5---|
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---| 6th string
    Last edited by Malcolm; 11-04-2012 at 10:50 AM.

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