RSS

Tag Archives: major scale

Become great at Improvisation Pt 10 – Note skipping

Hi there,

So the next step in your quest to be an improv god is note skipping through your scales.

Note skipping is where you play your first note of the scale, skip to the 3rd, come back to the 2nd note, skip to the 4th, come back to the 3rd and so on.

It’s a truly excellent way to learn your scales as you really have to know your shapes well to be able to do this effectively. It also allows you to further randomize your shapes, providing you with more ideas for coming up with riffs and melodies.

Here’s the 1st shape of the A minor pentatonic using this exercise. (both ascending and descending)

PENTATONIC NOTE SKIPPING

Here’s the 1st shape of the A major scale using this exercise. (both ascending and descending). This is also known as going up and down in 3rd’s

NOTE SKIPPING WITH A MAJOR SCALE

Remember you can get perform this exercise with all 5 shapes of the minor/ major pentatonic and all 7 shapes of the Major/ Natural Minor scales, plus any other scales you learn.

You can find other free excellent info on all things guitar via the Jsmusicschool twitter feed @jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic

Many thanks for reading

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

James

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Improvisation

 

Tags: , , ,

Become great at Improvisation – Pt. 9 – Major/Minor scales on 1 string

Hi there,

In the next part of this Improv series we’ll look at learning to play your major/minor scales on just 1 string. This is another excellent way to fully absorb your shapes and move about the neck freely. Also to helps to fully absorb the notes on the neck.

To start with let’s get the notes of a major scale. Let’s say D major:

Using our TTSTTTS rule (tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone)  Tone is 2 notes (e.g. A to B) Semitone is 1 note (e.g. A# to B) :

D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#

Although D is your key centre, it’s best to practice on all your strings from your first available note. So for example on the 6th E string you’d start from the open E then F#, G and so on.

Here’s how it would look for the 6th string.

d major scale on 1 string

So practice this for all 6 strings (the A string would go A, B, C#, D and so on) and all 12 major keys.

Do this for your minor keys as well. Your Natural Minor scale is made up of a Root note (1), Major 2nd (2), Minor 3rd (b3), Perfect 4th (4), Perfect 5th (5), Minor 6th (b6) and Minor 7th (b7).

Major 2nd = 1 tone, Minor 3rd = 1 1/2 tones, Perfect 4th = 2 1/2 tones, Perfect 5th = 3 1/2 tones, Minor 6th = 4 tones, Minor 7th = 5 tones

G minor would be G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb, F for example and your first available note would be an F on the 6th E string.

By doing all this you are essentially learning 3 things at once:

  • Further integrating your scales to provide you with runs on each string and move around the neck effectively in a particular key
  • Reinforcing your knowledge of keys
  • Reinforcing your knowledge of the notes of the guitar fretboard

So get cracking 🙂

Thanks for reading these blogs, hope you find them useful.

You can find other excellent free info via the Js Musicschool twitter feeds @jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic

Many thanks

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

James

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Improvisation

 

Tags: , , ,

Become great at Improvisation – Part 7 – Major/Minor scale bends

Hi there,

Thanks for reading my blogs, feel free to ask questions or suggest a subject matter you are having issues with.

Our next part of this improv series focuses on pitch bends using the major and minor scales. The previous blog centered on the essential bends of the pentatonic scales. Remember the pentatonic scales are simply 5 notes from the possible 7 available from the major/minor scales. Depending on the type of chords being used and style of music, one type of scale may be more suitable. With the Major/Minor scales you have 2 semi-tone bends which can be great for adding variety.

In the picture below i’ve highlighted the most essential bends that you can play around with. Red dots are Tone bends (2 notes/2 Frets e.g. G to A) and Blue are Semi-Tone bends (1 fret/1note e.g. G# to A)

CLICK ON THE PICTURE FOR A LARGER IMAGE 🙂

MAJOR SCALE FULL + SEMITONE BENDS

So a great thing to do is practice each shape up and down but performing the bends as you go along. By doing this you’ll get used to the tension needed to perform each bend accurately and you’ll give yourself a wealth of possible pitch bends to use in each key.

Remember to practice in all 7 shapes in all 12 keys. The tension of the strings varies up and down the neck (it’s the tightest near the nut) so it requires more strength at the start of the fretboard. Have fun!

Our next blog on the series will help to further integrate the scales by just going up and down the scales on one string at a time.

You can find other excellent free info via the Js Music School twitter feeds @jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic

Many thanks

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

James

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Improvisation

 

Tags: , , ,

Become great at Improvisation Pt.5 – String skipping, hammer on’s and pull off’s

Hi there,

Thanks again for reading my blogs, if you’ve found them useful feel good about recommending other guitarists to read the blog.

So on part 5 of the Improv series we’re going to look at integrating String Skipping, Hammer on’s and pull off’s into your scale exercises.

So far we’ve looked at learning your 4 essential scales, then patterns of 3’s and 4’s. IMHO the next exercise is another excellent way to help integrate your scales into using them in a more musical context.

  • Often in riffs and solo’s guitarists will play a pattern and then switch to a string that’s not necessarily next to it. Being able to jump across strings whilst still using the same scale is a great skill to have.
  • Hammer on’s and pull off’s are used a lot in creating riffs, melodies and solos as they provide you with different sounds and ways of connecting up shapes.
  • A ‘hammer on’ is where you pick a note on a string and literally hammer on the next note with another fretting finger (without picking)
  • A ‘pull off’ is where you are picking a note and then creating another note by pulling off your finger (with another finger already pressed down)
  • This exercise combines 3 techniques at once so it’s a fantastic one to learn.
  • With the 3 examples below when ascending up the shape you use hammer on’s and coming back down you use pull off’s

Here’s the 1st shape of the A minor pentatonic using the exercise:

A MINOR PENT STRING SKIPPING

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:

Here’s the 1st shape of the A major scale using the exercise:

A MAJOR STRING SKIPPING

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:

Here’s the 1st shape of the A minor scale using the exercise:

A MINOR STRING SKIPPING

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:

Have fun using these exercises, you’ll also find them great at stretching those fingers. Remember to practice them in all shapes and keys.

You can find other excellent free info via the Js Music School twitter feeds @jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic

Many thanks

Rock ‘n’ roll

James

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Improvisation

 

Tags: , , ,

Become great at Improvisation Pt.4 – Groups of 4

Hi there,

Thanks for reading my blogs,

So far in this improv series we’ve learned the essential scales that you’ll want to use to improvise with. The last blog introduced a great exercise to integrate with the scales in order to start randomizing the scales. One of the challenges of improvising is to
not sound ‘scale like’ which is why lots of interesting patterns will help solve that issue.

In the last blog we looked at ascending and descending through the scales using groups of 3. Now we can have a look at Groups of 4. You can think of it in 2 ways:

  • Playing 4 notes from the first note of the scale, then 4 notes from the second note of the scale and so on
  • Playing 4 notes, then go back 2 notes and then play the next 4 and so on.

With these patterns it may take a little while to get used to them but after you get the pattern you can then apply to all shapes and scales.

Here’s the 1st shape of the A minor pentatonic using groups of 4: (you can click on the picture to bring up a larger version)

A MINOR PENTATONIC (4'S)

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:

Here’s the 1st shape of the A major pentatonic using groups of 4:

A MAJOR 4'S PT 1
A MAJOR 4'S PT 2

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:

Remember to practice these patterns with all shapes and keys. It’s also very useful to play these along to a metronome or drum machine and gradually increase the speed once the accuracy is there. Go for crotchets then quavers, semi quavers, triplets etc.

Hope you’ve found this blog useful – in the next few chapters we’ll look at hammer on’s, pull off’s and string skipping

You can find other excellent free info via Js Music School on twitter. @jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic

Many thanks

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

James

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Improvisation

 

Tags: , , ,

Become great at Improvisation Pt. 3 – Groups of 3

Hi there,

Thanks for reading my blogs. Hope you find them useful.
This is the 3rd blog in the series on improvisation after blogs 1 + 2 which map out your 4 essential improv scales.

Once you’ve learned all your shapes in every key for the 4 types of scales (major + minor pentatonics, major and minor scales) the next step is to integrate lots of cool patterns to help you turn these scales into riffs, melodies and solos.

In my humble opinion 2 of the best exercises to use are groups of 3’s + 4’s. Millions of riffs and melodies use these patterns and is a great way of learning your shapes inside out.

Groups of 3 means that you go up the scale pattern for 3 notes, come back a note then do 3 notes from that note and so on. Using alternate picking (down, up, down, up) with this pattern is extremely useful. You’ll want to practice this pattern going up and down each shape in each key.

Let’s take Pattern 1 of the A minor pentatonic using this exercise and you’ll get the following:
A MINOR PENTATONIC - 3'S

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it :

Here’s the 1st shape of the A major scale using the same sequence:

A MAJOR SCALE - 3'S

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it :

Remember this pattern can be used with all shapes in any key 🙂

Hope you’ve found this blog useful – the next blog will explain groups of 4

You can find other excellent free info from Js Music School on twitter @jsmusicschool and @harvey_jsmusic

Many thanks

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

James

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Improvisation

 

Tags: , , ,

Become great at Improvisation Pt 2 – Major + Minor scales

Hi there,

Thanks for reading my blogs so far – I’m doing a series of blogs to help aspiring guitarists to become great lead players.

This blog will focus on the Major and Minor scales. In the previous blog I showed the major and minor pentatonics. These are great for creating riffs and melodies and as they only have 5 notes within 5 shapes, they are fairly straight forward to learn. To develop your improv skills further you’ll want to learn the major and minor scales.

  • The pentatonic scales are simply 5 notes out of the 7 notes contained within their ‘parent’ scales. So the pentatonic scales are simply a condensed version of the below.
  • These extra 2 notes though can give you lots of cool stuff to work with. Especially when we get to pitch bends later you’ll be able to add nice semi-tone bends which aren’t available using the pentatonic scales.
  • There are 2 ways of learning these shapes – my preference is the 3-note per string patterns below, I feel they are more symmetrical and cover more of the neck with each shape.

Here are the shapes: (you can click on the picture for a larger image)

MAJOR AND MINOR SCALE SHAPES

  • As with the minor and major pentatonics, the shapes used for the major scales are the same as for the minor but with different ‘root’ notes. These are the white notes. These are the ‘key’ notes so if you were playing in F major all the white notes would be F’s. This works for the minor scales as well.
  • Again with these shapes the root notes become very important for creating melodies and riffs
  • When you are practicing the shapes, go up and down the shapes and end on one of the root notes at the end to reinforce the sound of the shape.
  • The shapes link together like a jigsaw the same way the pentatonics shape do, your 2nd note of any shape becomes the first of the next e.g:
  • F major scale 1st shape would start Fret 1 (F), 2nd shape Fret 3 (G), 3rd shape Fret 5 (A), 4th shape Fret 6 (Bb), 5th shape Fret 8 (C),  6th shape Fret 10 (D), 7th shape Fret 12 (E)
  • F minor scale 1st shape would start Fret 1 (F), 2nd shape Fret 3 (G), 3rd shape Fret 4 (Ab), 4th shape Fret 6 (Bb), 5th shape Fret 8 (C), 6th shape Fret 9 (Db), 7th shape Fret 11 (Eb)
  • Remember there are 12 keys in music so 12×7 = 84 different places on the neck to play these shapes (best to think of it as 168 with major and minor as the root notes change)

Hope you’ve found this blog useful – any questions feel good about asking them in the comments section

You can find Js Music School on twitter @jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic for regular free guitar/ music related tweets

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL

Many thanks

James

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Improvisation

 

Tags: , , ,