Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Help me with this Scale Chart!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by hateater, Nov 25, 2003.


  1. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    my teacher told me to learn these 9 scale positions, and their corresponding arpeggios, he was very brief, and left me a bit confused... if anyone can shed some light on what he is trying to accomplish here, it would be appreciated.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. lowerclef

    lowerclef

    Nov 10, 2003
    Well, from the looks of it, it's a G major scale starting on the low C on the B string. The note with the square around it is the root (G). The blue notes form the arpeggios. Looks like it wanders into a couple different keys there - not too sure what's up with that.

    Anyway, the arpeggios are good - learn those. Playing the same scale in 9 positions is crap. You won't get any decent basslines or solo ideas going by doing that. Don't even waste your time.

    Try this, though: turn the notes of the scale (G A B C D E F# G) into a big arpeggio by skipping every other note (G B D F# A C E G) and go up and down the neck with that. A BIG help here would be to play the chords on piano (or have someone else play them) while you play along - a big help in getting your ear training together. You get used to hearing how all the chord tones and extensions work over the chord.

    Another good one is to play the all the chordal arpeggios up and down. In G, the chords made from the major scale would be Gmaj7, Am7, Bm7, Cmaj7, D7. Em7, F#m7b5, so you would play G B D F#, A C E G, B D F# A, C E G B, D F# A C, E G B D, F# A C E over a G chord. Make sense at all?
     
  3. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    The thing I don't get is what is up with the 9 positions? What are they? Where did they come from? Why the hell did he make me learn these??? (Yes, it is too late for me, I have learned all of this already).
     
  4. lowerclef

    lowerclef

    Nov 10, 2003
    Those would be different modes. In other words, you're playing the same scale over and over again but starting on a different note each time. Although positions 3 & 4 seem to be the same notes played in different positions, if that makes sense. This gets to be extremely complicated after awhile as you learn about the many different scales out there, since every mode has its own name for some reason even though it's all the same notes! Practicing all of this doesn't really yield much fruit musically, you're better off working on chordal patterns.

    As to why it's taught, I have no idea. I guess it's making a lot of people a lot of money. There is so much bad information out there. Look at the popular music education market. It's all books with tablature, transcriptions of rock basslines (yes, they sound cool but don't teach you anything musically), videos that have every sick technique in the world but don't teach you how to groove, and lots and lots of scale books. And if you look at a lot of the bassists who get all the press, too often it's flash over substance. There are so many deeper things that can be communicated with a bass without the constant pyrotechnics show, and I think that's kinda sad. Anyway, enough of my rant.

    It's important to know what scales are and how they're constructed, but there's no real point in practicing them a lot. Learning about chords and chordal patterns is a lot better for learning your neck, playing usable lines in a group situation, and ear training than scales are.

    If you haven't read the Help Me With Improvisation post, I talk about this a lot. It's the method taught by bass legend Carol Kaye - check out www.carolkaye.com - she has the best bass educational material I've ever used, and it's very inexpensive compared to a lot of the other fluff out there. Check it out!
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think this is a bit misleading!

    It is very useful to learn modes if you are going to be improvising or creating lines over chords.

    So - for example - you can use the Dorian mode over a minor chord - so you don't need to think about minor scales, but can actually use the 2nd mode of your major scale "pattern" to function in a minor context. Similarly you can use other modes to work with Dominant 7th chords etc etc.

    Modes are incredibly useful if you understand them!!
     
  6. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Thanks for the responses!
     
  7. wow!!! I guess since im new here maybe i should keep my opinons to myself but then i wouldnt be me and thats not right. I currently teach music in the prison i work at and ive seen these guys come thru with every scale and mode book on the face of the earth and i really hate dots on a fret board. To me it would make more sense to teach why those dots are there and that is what i currently do with some of my more advanced students. Its not as hard as what most teachers try to make it you know the ones that want your $20 a half hour. any one that would like to know more feel free to email me and i will respond with some very easy explinations and some charts to help you out free of charge(haveing some one learn is and understand is payment enuff for me) laters :D
     
  8. lowerclef

    lowerclef

    Nov 10, 2003
    Bruce,

    I don't deny that the scale and mode notes work, I just dispute their usefulness in learning improvisation. It's okay for rock, because solos in that style often go up and down the scale. But to me, it sounds terrible in jazz.

    Patterns that skip intervals and focus on chord tones just flat-out sound better than running scales imo. And having studied chord/scale relationships for years and getting nowhere with it, I feel the chordal approach is a lot easier to learn and results in much hipper lines. My improvising has dramatically improved with this approach, learning some great jazz patterns and how to make them function over different chords. I could never get my lines to sound authentic using scales and modes.
     
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You have to know both - use as many resources as you can - but we are talking about a beginner here and this is a useful starting point in lessons.
     
  10. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Is he trying to teach modes? I don't think so, based on those diagrams.

    I would interpret the exercise as playing a G major arpeggio using all the notes available in a given position (some extension allowed to avoid shifting up and down). As such, it's quite a useful exercise and worth extending by playing in more positions and using different arpeggios.

    I think the 'dots on the fretboard diagram' is probably a generic template that can be used for several purposes - if the teacher has failed at any point, it's in not giving hateater enough information go away and use it without having to ask on TB.

    Wulf
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I must admit that I didn't even look at the charts - I was just responding to the assertion that learning modes bears no fruit - I have found modes very useful in Jazz and as part of understanding Jazz improvisation - although I would always mix that up with chords - which to me are inseparable - so certain types of chords go with certain modes etc.

    So - it's impossible to understand what people like Miles Davis were doing in "modal Jazz" without an understanding of modes, for example.:meh:
     
  12. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I certainly wouldn't disagree that modes are very useful. The time I spent getting my head round the concept was an invaluable foundation of my musical development.

    Wulf
     
  13. lowerclef

    lowerclef

    Nov 10, 2003
    According to the original post, the teacher asked hateater to learn "these 9 scale positions and their corresponding arpeggios." Although a couple of the diagrams are the same set of notes fingered differently, it sure looks like a G major scale with its modes to me (unless I've completely lost it).

    As for hateater, it is precisely because he is a beginner that I recommended learning chordal arpeggios and patterns to him, because I was well-versed in scale theory for years and frankly wish I hadn't been. I wish I hadn't wasted all that time learning to "Play that scale over this chord." Phooey!

    The most detrimental effect that practicing this method for so long and getting nowhere had on me was leading me to believe that I simply didn't have it in me to play real jazz. That is very frustrating for someone who has tons of live and studio experience in a wide variety of other styles. There is absolutely no reason in the world why I shouldn't have been able to learn jazz, yet somehow I couldn't. I would have been much better off now had I learned the chordal approach from the start. Since working with this method, it is so much easier to hear what is going on and solo effectively over it.

    Again, I want to emphasize: it's important to know what scales and modes are, how they're formed, etc. but I fail to see the value in endlessly practicing them on your instrument once you understand the concept.

    I also fail to see why it is impossible to understand what Miles was doing in modal jazz without studying modes. Take "So What", for example. If I were to play lines based off the chord tones and their extensions (D F A C E G B), then you already have all of the dorian notes right there. Start throwing in some approach notes, outline some cool chord subs (like an occasional A+, for example), move the licks around a little bit, and you've got one nice, long, melodic solo. You're training your ear, playing melodies, learning the neck on a much deeper level than running scales, and best of all, not sounding like you're running scales!

    For me, the bottom line is this: you can analyze and play scales 'til you're blue in the face. But if you get into a real playing situation and you don't know the chords, you're toast.

    For the record, I would love to know what you guys are getting out of modes that eluded me for so long. What did I miss?
     
  14. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    To me it looks like each box shows the notes from G major as circles, with the primary chord tones (1, 3 and 5) highlighted. I think the point of the exercise is to be able to reach these anchor points for G major whatever position you start in on the neck.

    I don't think the exercise is about learning modes, because it's all about cycling through every instance of G, B and D in a given hand position. I'd expect a modal exercise to stay in one 'box' but work through the different sets of notes - G B D (Ionian), A C E (Dorian), etc.

    FWIW, I think you do need to get a handle on modes to understand what was going on with modal jazz. I recently read a book about Kind of Blue which included a photo of the 'score' for "So What" - most of the tune is summed up by D dorian and Eb dorian scales and a note to "play the sound" of them (or something to that effect).

    If you start off with "So What" and begin playing whatever notes you like, you could be playing jazz but arguably are failing to play within the mould of that tune. Not necessarily a problem - but you're not 'getting' modal jazz if you're not getting a feel for the different character of the mode for a given song.

    Wulf
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    I agree - but I was thinking more of something like "Flamenco Sketches" - the last track on "Kind of Blue".

    So - it has no tune specified and no chords!! Only a series of modes.

    So - how are you going to play that if you don't know modes!!?? ;)
     
  16. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Flamenco Sketches has chords or should I say chords that fit in with what Miles and Coltrane are playing.
     
  17. lowerclef

    lowerclef

    Nov 10, 2003
    Oh, dear!

    Either I'm not understanding you guys, or you're not understanding me...

    Yes, the triad notes are highlighted in the exercise, but the name of the thread is "Help me with this Scale Chart" and the page itself says "5-String Scale Patterns." If it was merely intended as an arpeggio exercise, why include the scale notes? Why call it a scale exercise? If each diagram starts on a different note of the scale, you have modes, do you not? Maybe that wasn't the point of the exercise, but they are there.

    I never advocated playing "So What" using "whatever notes you like." I provided specific ideas using patterns based on the chord tones. You have all your modal notes right there in the chord.

    If you insist that there must be an understanding of modes to play modal jazz, then fine, I'll bite. I would just point out that if you really understand the chord, you understand the scale. If you understand the scale, you understand the modes. It's all the same notes.

    Not to mention that modal jazz is not the entire jazz idiom. Unless you're doing a jazz set that has only modal tunes, I would think it a good idea to get your chordal theory together in case someone calls a tune with changes in it.

    I'd assume you guys would say to play an F# locrian over an F#m7b5 chord. I would call it G major. Better yet, I would play an Am7 or D9 pattern over it.

    Oh well, I guess we should agree to disagree...







    :confused:
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But there are no specified chords!!

    Have you seen the chart? It is just specified modes - no chords!
     
  19. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    They're there if you want to draw them out of the patterns of dots but I'm sure that wasn't the point of the exercise. Since the teacher talked about 'corresponding arpeggios' and highlighted the chord tones of G major in each position, I'm pretty sure that he was focussing on breaking out of being stuck in one position on the neck for a given scale.

    Certainly, if I was teaching, I'd want to see my students building some confidence with moving around on the neck before laying the concept of modes on them.

    Wulf
     
  20. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Why do I need to see some chart, when I can just listen to the song and create my own based on the bass and the chords the pianist is playing?

    The abscence of specified chords on a piece of paper that you have does not mean they are not in the tune. Is that so hard for you to hear Bruce?