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Unread 12-31-2012, 01:22 PM   #1
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A Question About Scales

I was wanting to learn some scales to help me learn lead guitar better, and a lesson I found online said to find tabs or transcribe solos of your favorite guitarists, and learn the scales the solos are based off of, and it's supposed to help you with that style of music. Can anyone tell me how to do this?

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Unread 12-31-2012, 02:01 PM   #2
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While I think that parallel learning of scales and solos is beneficial, learning just the scales themselves has extra benefits, such as synchronizing your left and right hands, learning the various intervals used to create the scales, muscle memory, timing practice (if you use a metronome...and you SHOULD use a metronome!) and more.

You could learn some of the scales which are most commonly used in pop music, such as the diatonic major and minor, mixolydian, pentatonic major and minor, harmonic minor and maybe the melodic minor or phrygian. Knowing them would familiarize yourself with leads and licks in songs that utilize them.

I'd suggest learning a few easy solos, too. Start slow and small. Listen to what it is you want to learn over and over and over until you can memorize the solo in your head...one teacher use to tell me that if I could hum or whistle something, I could play it...and they were right, so memorization is key to learning a lot of this stuff.
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Unread 01-01-2013, 06:10 PM   #3
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I think what you're talking about is for once you actually know the scales and modes. Like guitar dave said, there are quite a few reasons to learn the scales themselves. By learning scales/modes, you can understand the structure of a solo, how to create a solo, what notes to use, etc.

So, it is probably better to start with learning scales.
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Unread 01-01-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
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You should definitely learn scales and modes. They're one of the most useful things to learn if you take time to memorize the right shapes (3-note per string) and then really learn how to apply them. If you learn all the seven different modes and their shapes on the e and a strings, you can essentially line them up and have a knowledge if the whole fretboard. For example, in the key of c you can play c major (Ionian), d Dorian, e Phrygian, etc, and it will all sound good in c major. You should also learn the different sounds of the modes and the general feeling of each one. I can't stress how much this helped me, it opened so many doors as far as improvisation and just general fretboard knowledge.

Hopefully that helps (and makes sense :P)
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Unread 01-01-2013, 08:26 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, this stuff helped!
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Unread 01-01-2013, 09:03 PM   #6
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Modes are great, and as a player who has devoted most of his energy towards lead playing, I use them all the time. That said, if you're just getting started playing leads, the pentatonic scale will take you a long way. That's not to say that you shouldn't devote any time towards modes or other scales, but I personally found it easy to learn the pentatonic very well and build from there.
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Unread 01-02-2013, 07:30 PM   #7
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I thought this YouTube on understanding modes in 15 minutes, was very, very informative.
Learn the modes In Just 15 minutes - Part One (Very easy lesson) - YouTube
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Unread 01-11-2013, 11:17 AM   #8
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In my opinion if you're serious about playing lead guitar, you must abandon playing rhythm guitar or at least play rhythm minimally and focus on the lead portion - you should however have rhythm concepts down before attempting lead.

Playing lead requires a lot of dedication and practice. Learning scales is good, but applying them is hard when all you do is go from one octave to another. What I would do is find basic rock licks and find out what scale this lick fits into.

For example:


This lick falls under A minor blues scale


See where different licks fall in a scale and play them with different chords. A recording device would be a big advantage in doing this. In addition try creating your own licks and work them into your playing.

This is a different approach to learning lead guitar instead of practicing mind numbing scales all the time.
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