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Pacman's sure-fire scale practice method

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Pacman, Jun 11, 2002.


  1. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I gotta get on some of these methods. Its always good for me to practice this stuff.
     
  2. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    That first F is properly called E#.
    Getting enharmonic names correct is part of the exercise.
     
    MarshallNole likes this.
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Other than calling the E# F in your example, yes, it looks like you've got it.
     
    MarshallNole likes this.
  4. MarshallNole

    MarshallNole

    Dec 1, 2013
    Thanks for the replies. Still getting used to referring to F as E# in this scale.
     
  5. ThemBones

    ThemBones

    May 2, 2014
    NC
    I have been playing guitar off and on for 16 or so years (mostly off :( )
    I recently started playing bass and really enjoy it. A friend has been helping me for about 6 months initially with guitar but now with bass.
    I say all that to say I felt the same way you did when you said this.
    I had this SAME conversation with him
    Remember. There are 7 notes in a scale. A, B, C, D, E, F, G
    I think of it as a note cannot be repeated in a scale.

    For instance the F Scale. While A# is technically the same note as a Bb, you cannot have two As.
    F, G, A, Bb, C D E F
    I II III IV V VI VII ROOT
    This may not be the absolute most sound way of music theory BUT it helps me remember.

    He has also worked with me on learning I IV V VI or I V VI IV etc and not thinking about the names of the notes but where they lay in the scale.
    By doing this if you learn the scale patterns of where the notes are you can realize that you can easily change keys.

    I hope some of this makes sense.
     
    MarshallNole likes this.
  6. E_3

    E_3

    Aug 12, 2013
    Ran into some confusion while trying to get this method down. What is the correct fingering for this exercise? I feel as if I'm thrown off because I was advised that when playing a major scale I should have my middle finger on the root of the scale (same fret column). It gets especially tricky at the beginning because of the use of open strings.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    With every box, you'll start on your first finger.

    That said, it's a good idea to be able to play the major scale starting on your index, middle and pinky fingers. Don't get stuck in one method (which is kind of the point of this method).
     
    PaulYeah likes this.
  8. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    One of the main points of the exercise is to help you learn and practice multiple fingerings for the major scale. The fingering you're familiar with (and that everybody learns first) -- i.e., that starts with your middle finger on the root -- is only one of several possibilities.

    For example, play the G major scale the way you normally would, starting with your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the E string. When you get to the octave (5th fret of the D string), the root (G) is now under your pinky rather than your middle finger. Instead of shifting your hand to get your middle finger on the G to start over, you can just continue playing the G scale by switching to a different fingering that starts with the root under your pinky. There are basically three different fingerings (in a given position) for a major scale -- the third starts with the root under your index (first) finger -- and playing the scales across all strings and in different positions makes you switch back and forth among them.
     
    noeinstein likes this.
  9. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    N.H.
    Great stuff guys.
    I still feel like an idiot on bass after all these years of playing/gigging.
    If I live long enough I hope to learn how to solo musically/proficiently.
     
  10. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    that would be a different exercise.
     
  11. Scott Devine has a few lessons that cover this fairly extensively with a method similar to Pacman's.
     
  12. ThemBones

    ThemBones

    May 2, 2014
    NC
    I played guitar for years before learning "theory" of any kind.
    I also felt like an idiot, and I don't think you or I should. It is never too late to learn.
    But starting to learn it on guitar and then moving it to bass as I started playing bass has accelerated my understanding of how songs work and it has helped me with the fretboard and learning note position.
     
    Pacman likes this.
  13. MarshallNole

    MarshallNole

    Dec 1, 2013
    okay well I can play my scales with the standard fingering playing notes 1-8. I am going to start this practice method. What should I be looking for when playing these notes? It was mentioned that a pattern evolves... I feel like when I am practicing my scales in the traditional way I am just playing notes... not sure what it teaches except which notes make up each scale.
     
  14. Part of this is to highlight the fretboard patterns. Use your eyes and muscle memory to feel these patterns out. Like Pacman said there are only 3 boxes (patterns if I understand correctly) that appear. After running through these they should reveal themselves to you.

    Additionally as noted above, Scott Devine does a nice job explaining this in a few of his videos on scales where he focuses on what fingers you start on. Those would be a nice addition to your practice.
     
  15. BAG

    BAG

    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    That's a great tool however it won't work on my tablet. This one is also very good, works on Android, but doesn't give all the chords in the key on the same page. SmartChord app
     
  16. nesbuddha

    nesbuddha

    Sep 14, 2018
    Bringing this one back!


    Can I get some help with the section above? I can play all three boxes no problem, but am not exactly sure how to proceed afterwards. When you say "continue moving these boxes up the neck", i cant figure out what that means.
     
  17. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    You simply are moving the starting note up the neck , following the scale

    Box 1 starts on the open E
    Box 2 starts on the F
    Box 3 starts on the G
    Box 4 starts on the A
    Box 5 starts on the B
    Box 6 starts on the C ...
    ...and so on up the notes of C major

    Note that each box is a different fingering pattern
    When Pac Man asserts the are only 3 patterns
    He means within the 3 note range along a single string
    He does not mean not that there are only 3 'boxes'
     
  18. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Nice explanation. The only thing I'd add is that an ideal way to do this is going up and down: That is, follow the first "box" from open E as far as you can go across strings in that position, then shift to reach the next note in the scale on the G string, and then come down a different way. When you get back to the E string, shift again to start on the next higher available note in the scale and go back up, etc.

    If there's one thing I've learned from practicing scales up and down the neck, it's that learning how to go up is way easier than learning how to come down -- but both are equally important!
     
    nesbuddha, mambo4, Pacman and 3 others like this.
  19. nesbuddha

    nesbuddha

    Sep 14, 2018
    Thanks guys that is the info I needed. Much appreciated
     
    Lobster11 likes this.
  20. nesbuddha

    nesbuddha

    Sep 14, 2018
    Can anyone speak on as to how this applies to the natural minor scale?

    Would the same principal apply?
     

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