# Scales, more than box shapes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by drewphishes, Mar 21, 2017.

1. ### Spin Doctor

Nov 14, 2008
Southern Maryland, USA
This might shed some light...

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2. ### SteveCS

Nov 19, 2014
Hampshire, UK
Yes, i agree and believe this to be true, but I don't believe it necessary to relate everything to the intervallic structure of the major scale other than for learning by reference to a well known baseline (no pun intended). For example, the distance between the 6th and 7th degrees of the harmonic minor scale is the same as a minor third but it's arguably an augmented 2nd.

But, trying to get back on topic(!), shifting practice and exercises should be devised to encompass a wide range of positions and intervals and a variety of finger/string combination, not just steps and half-steps on the same string...

3. ### HolmeBass

Jan 18, 2007
Charlottesville, VA
Right, and one reply, now a classic chestnut on TB, was forget scales, just learn chords and arpeggios. I replied that chords were built upon, in my opinion defined by, scales. And thus here we are.

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4. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
THIS!
4 string bass

maybe 5, I have the itch to try a five banger

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5. ### HolmeBass

Jan 18, 2007
Charlottesville, VA
Great info on the inversion notation! So a 2nd inversion would have a 4 superscript?

And very funny about charts from people you play with. I was a thinking formal charts. Charts from "folks" sometimes don't even have major/minor indicated on them. "You're a bass player, what do you care if it's major or minor?" Also using minor to indicate a 7 chord or vice-versa. And never a barline in sight. I guess I don't consider those real charts. I refer to those heiroglyphics disdainfully as "singer music".

6. ### Jazz AdMi la ré sol

I think you need the full picture to get rid of boxes.
Keys, intervals, scales, chords, modes are different points of view to a single reality.
You pick things up by whichever corner and progress through to the whole thing, until it all makes sense.

7. ### mambo4

Jun 9, 2006
Dallas
If you know interval the construction of a scale (like 'w w h w w w h' for major )
and you know how to identify the notes on your fret board

I recommend figuring it out on your own and creating your own fingering charts
I have sketchbooks from my youth filled with these
you remember so much more having done the work yourself.

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8. ### MVE

Aug 8, 2010
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9. ### MVE

Aug 8, 2010
Yeah, I really like the index/pinky technique as it just seems easy for my brain to process, "index = time to shift" then the old pattern for a string until my index hits the next string and then "index = time to shift", etc... It works great both up and down the scale.

Again, thanks to that Scott Devine video for that piece of technique.

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10. ### Lobster11Supporting MemberSupporting Member

Apr 22, 2006
Williamsburg, VA
Yeah, I understand how these things go -- like the popular cartoon in which the guy is up all night at his computer because "Someone is wrong on the Internet." I hope you didn't take offense or interpret my post as mean-spirited, which was not at all what I intended. I probably should have added a winky or smiley emoticon.

That said -- and I hope this will be relevant and helpful to OP -- I'm sure you would agree that while it's important to learn scales all over the neck using a variety of fingerings, it is at least equally important to do the same with arpeggios (also, not instead of). And just because you can do the former doesn't necessarily mean you can automatically do the latter, as I learned the hard way myself. I spent a long period of time seriously working on learning the major scale up and down the neck, using a variety of patterns, and one day some random TB post somehow rang a bell and reminded me that I should do the same with arpeggios. "How difficult could that be?," I thought: I just have to do what I've been doing, but leave out all the non-chord tones. And I discovered it wasn't so easy after all. When you're playing scales, it's easy to get in a mindset in which all notes are treated the same -- none more important than any other -- so it was much harder than I'd anticipated to just play the chord tones and skip the other notes as I worked my way up and down the neck. Since then I've been more or less alternating between practicing scales up and down the neck and arpeggios (for common chords) up and down the neck.

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11. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
well mr lobster do you have any tips for learning arepeggios ? I want to learn it all just got to start somewhere is all

12. ### mambo4

Jun 9, 2006
Dallas
well arpeggios are combinations of intervals

major chord = root, major 3rd from root, perfect 5th from root
minor chord = root, minor 3rd from root, perfect 5th from root
and so on

so learn the interval shapes
then grab some graph paper and get to charting

13. ### drewphishesSupporting Member

Feb 14, 2017
so it seems to learn arepeggios you should learn scales first...

14. ### BurnOutIt's The Billy Baloney ShowSupporting Member

Feb 1, 2015
The Natti
This is a great thread, chock full of great information. I'm being serious here on TB for once.

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15. ### Lobster11Supporting MemberSupporting Member

Apr 22, 2006
Williamsburg, VA
Sure. Let's take a simple G chord as an example, which contains the notes G, B, and D. If you stay in your "box," you might play this arpeggio using the G (middle finger) on the E-string, then the B (index finger) and D (pinky) on the A string. To work your way up the neck, though, try playing both G (index finger) and B (either pinky or ring finger -- opinions will vary on this) on the E string, and then D (index) on the A string. From there you have two options to repeat for the next G: (1) Go up to the D string for G (index), and then repeat the same pattern as above on the D and G strings, or (2) go all the way up to the G on the A string (pinky), and then go to B on the D string (ring) and then D on the G string (index). Or, shift 2 frets so your index is on the G of the A string, and then follow the "box" to go for the B (index) and D (pinky) on the D string. There are lots of different ways to mix-and-match: Make it a point to learn and practice all of them. Does that make sense?

16. ### HolmeBass

Jan 18, 2007
Charlottesville, VA
I agree, but mostly so you know how to build arpeggios. It winds up that different fingerings are often useful for scalar runs and arpeggios.

The working on the scales also helps you learn the fingerboard and visualize "the box" as a tesalation pattern that repeats up and down and across the entire neck.

17. ### MVE

Aug 8, 2010
Um, no.
I would recommend you practice both equally. A little of each one each day.
I suggest you work on the major scale, two octaves up and down, starting from C and run the circle of fifths at 60 bpm. Practice that for about 5 or ten minutes each night, until you can make it all the way from C to F at 60. You will know when it's time to turn up the metronome. It will take a few months.
At the same time work on 3 part chords: M, m, aug, dim. Again 60 bpm, circle of fifths. Like C major, C minor, C aug, C dim; G major, G minor, G aug, G dim, D maj, D minor, etc.... work on this for five or ten minutes each night. This should only take a few weeks. Move on to four part chords after you have learned all the three part chords. Maj 7, 7, Maj 6, minor, minor 7, Diminished. Etc... same deal, circle of fifths to a metronome at 60 until you can do the whole shebang without any mistakes.
Spend the rest of your practice time learning some songs and having fun.
It sounds overwhelming, but it's really just a few months and you'll have it for the rest of your life.

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18. ### StatesideRambler

The word "arpeggio" translates to "broken chord" and is simply a chord, any chord, played a note at a time. Anything definition fussier than that is for advanced theory, not for learning at the level our OP is interested in.

19. ### SteveCS

Nov 19, 2014
Hampshire, UK
Many good suggestions for learning scales and the notes within them, for memorising differences and even mixing up note values and inversions in more compositionally interesting ways. Also the physical aspects of actually developing the mechanics and dexterity necessary to execute notes on the fingerboard have been covered. But there is an ongoing point to scale practice which often gets overlooked. Knowing the notes is scales 101. Thereafter, practicing them is a vehicle for developing accuracy (including shifting), L/R synchronisation, tone, timing, intonation, dynamics, articulation and so on. YMMV.

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20. ### ReedyBass

There is a very simple observation in the video below but I hadn't thought about it in this way before; that is: In the first 12 frets of each string, each note (A-G#) occurs once and only once.

This might help with learning the notes. Knowing the notes helps to repeat the scales up or down the neck.

EDIT: start the video about 4 minutes in....

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