Major scales

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Major scales

Postby CashWiley » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:21 pm

I wish when I was a buttheaded teenager in the 80s, I had learned major scales.

I jammed with a great local bassist last night, but he plays more modern blues (I call 'em "white guy blues") and we had very little repertoire overlap. So he throws in a cd to jam with and I could only play the most rudimentary stuff because I don't know jack for major scales :| I mean, I know major scales, just not well enough to have all the sweet spots available when soloing.

Kinda bummed out about this hole in my playing style. My blues rhythms also need so much work. Blah, I blame (early) Buddy Guy :) But as always, I try to use negative experiences as a lesson, it showed me how selective I've been in my repertoire development. And honestly, at this point in life, I'm cool with that. Just going to be tougher to sit in with random folks.
User avatar
CashWiley
Regular
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:13 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Major scales

Postby LesFromChicago » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:06 pm

One thing I do (not expertly, it takes lots of practice) = Have you tried migrating the licks and chords you are familiar with up or down the neck to accomodate various keys? Someytmes you have to bar most of the strings to make it work. I think it is called 'theory' or something like that.
User avatar
LesFromChicago
Regular
 
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:18 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA, North America

Re: Major scales

Postby CashWiley » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:31 pm

Oh, I can play in any key. It's just playing major scales that kills me. In a major key, I can often fake it with the minor pentatonic, but the stuff he wanted to play last night was no-faking major key modern jump style. Not my favorite style, so it's not the end of the world, but I do want to find some common ground to play with these guys now and again.

It'll probably be easier for them to learn a couple songs I know before I'll learn a whole section of playing :)

I also didn't realize how riff-based a lot of the stuff I play is.
User avatar
CashWiley
Regular
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:13 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Major scales

Postby LesFromChicago » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:48 pm

Then I guess I don't understand what you mean by playing scales.
I thought people played scales only for practice or tuning.
I've been playing guitar for almost 50 years (not just chords) and I don't know if I've ever played a scale. Do you mean like in hillbilly backup guitar one might play a run from C on the 5th string up to C on the 2nd string?
Or do you mean a boogie type run? Since you used the term pentatonic I expect your answer might be over my head. (I know penta means 5 and tonic means sounds) Can you cite an example where soneone is playing a scale as part of a published blues song? Is there scales playing going on in Charlie Patton, Lightning Hopkins, B B King, and like that? Maybe I have been hearing and playing scales and did not know they were scales.
User avatar
LesFromChicago
Regular
 
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:18 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA, North America

Re: Major scales

Postby goldbrick » Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:05 pm

What I do is improvise over each major chord by using the chord tones ( 1,3,5 and 7 or 9 ) and following the changes. That will give you a major feel and put you in comfortable positions you already know. Think Dickie Betts

I'm not much for just playing scales in shredder mode
goldbrick
Regular
 
Posts: 821
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:34 am
Location: Miami

Re: Major scales

Postby CashWiley » Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:32 pm

:wha:

Uh..nm.
User avatar
CashWiley
Regular
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:13 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Major scales

Postby muku » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:00 pm

I swtched to major scales around 20 years ago. You'll like it when you can fluidly do them leads.

Chuck Berry, rockabilly and alot of up tempo songs sound better.

Alot of guitarists I play with like them in contrast too.
mike
muku
Regular
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:46 am

Re: Major scales

Postby Slim Pim » Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:20 pm

Try this for a start: if you play in A. where you normally play an A minor pentatonc scale... move your hand three frets down to F# and play the F# minor pentatonic. That is your A major pentatonic. For blues feel you normally switch back to A minor penta while over the IV-chord (D in this case) You need to do this along with the music or you won't understand what I'm talking about. This was one of my great AHA-moments a couple of years ago.

After that you have to you need to do some hard work putting together your "major palette" of riffs and phrases since plain scales ain't music :-)
much like what you did to learn the blues in the first place. Good luck!
Slim Pim
Regular
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:38 am
Location: Gotland, Sweden

Re: Major scales

Postby CashWiley » Fri Mar 27, 2009 2:38 pm

Thanks, Slim. I do know that plain scales isn't music, but you can't play music without scales :) That's one thing that makes it so tough, because minor scales are my musical DNA, don't even have to think about them and can improv in minor keys in some pretty interesting ways because I've completely transcended having to think about anything but coming up with cool musical ideas...in minor keys.

Major keys is nothing but a struggle, I don't have all my sweet go-to spots, my automatic bends in between ideas, etc. I do know the trick for the major pentatonic, but my brain is still rejecting it :)

I know what I have to do, I was just grumbling about it and I put it in this forum to warn anyone who thinks about taking shortcuts, it WILL hobble you somewhere down the road. Even if it's twenty five years later, shortcuts come back to bite you.
User avatar
CashWiley
Regular
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:13 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Major scales

Postby maxx england » Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:28 pm

I used to do nothing but minor, but I simply started exploring and found some good things. That's about it, try hitting any string at all and see how it fits with what's going on; save the information to the inside of your head, download when appropriate. There's a change that happens to you when you've got the hang of it, you no longer hear bum notes, you just hear interesting but inappropriate intervals.

Whisper it quietly: I can even do jazz
User avatar
maxx england
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 3944
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: Birmingham UK

Re: Major scales

Postby Slim Pim » Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:34 pm

One thing I really, really like about he major scales in blues is that when you do a solo in a major fashion for a while... you return to that old minor pentatonic, and the contrast is; Wow! that is some bluesy shit!
And of course, the other way around; when I feel that my minor vocabulary is going nowhere, I slide into the BB King box and suddenly every note feels fresh!
(We have a lot to learn from that 83 year old geezer.)
Slim Pim
Regular
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:38 am
Location: Gotland, Sweden

Re: Major scales

Postby CashWiley » Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:13 pm

I also retreat to the BB box when I'm stressed, like playing with some world-class guys. I really love to bend (thanks David Gilmour), so when I need to re-group, I hit the box and work it until the cats cry, gives me some time to try to remember that I know how to play other stuff.

It's funny how the change from playing alone to playing for others makes me forget 90% of what I know :)
User avatar
CashWiley
Regular
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:13 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Major scales

Postby DaveG » Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:13 pm

CashWiley wrote:It's funny how the change from playing alone to playing for others makes me forget 90% of what I know :)


How true :D .
DaveG
Regular
 
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 4:45 am
Location: Redmond, WA USA

Re: Major scales

Postby rustyslide » Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:00 pm

Knowing scales/theory only gets you so far - once you've figured how to express what you already play in those terms and you can do anything.

Learning to play the licks you already know in different positions (not in a different key - same key, different place on the neck) really helps too.
User avatar
rustyslide
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1942
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:01 am
Location: Halifax, Canada

Re: Major scales

Postby CashWiley » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:54 pm

Definitely true. I can play things all over the neck, and one of my exercises is to create leads from chord arpeggio bases when there's interesting changes, trying it in different positions each time. The song I started doing that on was Wild Horses, where they run through some good changes, it was originally just to solidify some of the CAGED theory stuff, but it sounds pretty nice, too. Great mental workout.

That's why I mention major scales in particular. With minor and minor pentatonics, I can pretty much just focus on expression without thinking about theory at all, but with major scales, I don't have all my sweet spots in automatic mode, so I'm pretty crappy soloing in a major key (unless I'm faking it with a minor pent over a major or dom progression!).

It's outside my normal playing, but most guys in the area aren't playing the style I do, so if I want to sit in more, I'm going to have to adapt to some new ideas. Which is better for my playing overall, just a pain in the butt to feel like a newbie again.
User avatar
CashWiley
Regular
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:13 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Next

Return to Guitar

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

cron