Scales Question for Guitarists

#1
Hi Folks,

Did anybody practise scales/modes while learning to play and if so what of what value were they?

Alternatively, what was your method of learning and what did you find most valuable for your progress?

I'm not a guitarist butam interested in methods that are transferable to my banjo.
 
#2
When I started out the best thing for me was learning songs /riffs I liked, that way I actually enjoyed it more than just learning patterns all the time, as I progressed started to understand how the tunes were put together and identify particular patterns. And if you like the sounds you're making you'll be more likely to practice
 
#4

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FrosteeMARIA

LE
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#5
I found that rather than playing notes of same length, playing a scale with dotted quaver and semi-quaver pattern (and the reverse) improved speed.
 
#7
When i was playing regularly I used to use and practice scales alot. Forwards, backwards, poition changes, with single note picking through to 8ths or sixteenths or anything inbetween with string bends, vibrato and any other embellishment as the mood takes you, on beat or upbeat, and so on and so forth. It's all good for the muscle memory for the fret board and as you get better with them it really helps with improvisation as you learn what notes and position changes work well together.
 
#8
Some good advice above. And I thought all you needed was Bert Weedon's "Play in a Day"...........

In fact, that book wasn't a bad starting point. I don't recall it covering scales as such, but it DID include such good advice as carrying out regular practice but stopping when it got too boring or your fingers hurt too much.

Banjo? A great instrument, but do you play five-string or tenor? From my own experience with the five-string, my smallish hands meant I found it better to use a capo ( you then needed to use an additional "capo" such as a small bolt under the fifth string ).

Whatever, don't be put off by guitar purists who decry the "three-chord" method of playing. If you can produce music, it will be appreciated. And even better, if it IS appreciated the chances are that you won't have to buy a drink if people are enjoying themselves......
 
#9
Some good advice above. And I thought all you needed was Bert Weedon's "Play in a Day"...........

In fact, that book wasn't a bad starting point. I don't recall it covering scales as such, but it DID include such good advice as carrying out regular practice but stopping when it got too boring or your fingers hurt too much.

Banjo? A great instrument, but do you play five-string or tenor? From my own experience with the five-string, my smallish hands meant I found it better to use a capo ( you then needed to use an additional "capo" such as a small bolt under the fifth string ).

Whatever, don't be put off by guitar purists who decry the "three-chord" method of playing. If you can produce music, it will be appreciated. And even better, if it IS appreciated the chances are that you won't have to buy a drink if people are enjoying themselves......
I'd like to thank everybody for their advice and input but I've quoted Wightsparker as he asked a couple of questions.

It's a 5 string banjo that I've got and had for about 3 years, although I had to stop playing/learning for about 18 months of that. Picked it up about 5/6 weeks ago and am trying to do sort of structured practise/learning. I'm never going to use a capo. I seem to have an inbuilt aversion to them.

So far I've got 3 bluegrass tunes that I'd say I'm fairly fluent in, pickin' wise, and from tonight. will be practising them with a backing track. Got another 4/5 in the process, which should take 3/4 weeks to achieve muscle memory of them. I go for small differences in two bar phrases so I've got a familiar base with a couple of extra learning bits with each new song.

As for 3/4 chord songs, I could probably make a stab at a lot, if I could remember songs that I like. I'm expecting within the next 6 months-ish, to have a large enough repertoire of 2 bar phrases to be able to make a fair fist of hundreds of 3 chord stuff.

My quezzie with regard to scales was to find out if they were really worth putting in to my structured practise. Taking note of the advice I've had here, I had a crack at the mixolydean mode scale for G and within a short while could see the benefit, primarily in increasing finger dexterity and strength. It also increases knowledge of the fingerboard in relation to where individual notes are. Once learned for G of course, movement around the fingerboard as a pattern gives me several mixolydean scales for any key. And then add in further scales as and when. There's also associating the sound of each note with it's position.
 
#10
Tablature was my method of learning. I can't read music. Books in my young day...
Likewise. A few weeks ago I stumbled on this piece of video of Tommy Emmanuel on his style, using a thumbpick, and watched as his thumb went blue; it'll be the first part of him to die:
 
#11
You should at least have pentatonic scales with both 6th and 5th string roots nailed, as well as transitioning seamlessly from one to the other up or down the neck k. The extra notes around them can be learned by playing along to songs. Although there's a certain value add to learning various modes and so on, they're mostly just pentatonics with extra notes and/or a couple of notes changed, so unless you're a pro and writing your own stuff the value added of spending a whole bunch of time memorising them by heart is out of proportion to the effort required, and you'll get far more pleasure by learning them indirectly by learning other people's solos from tab.

And remember this truism: Almost all published tab is wrong. But most published tab is useful :D
 
#12
I'd like to thank everybody for their advice and input but I've quoted Wightsparker as he asked a couple of questions.

It's a 5 string banjo that I've got and had for about 3 years, although I had to stop playing/learning for about 18 months of that. Picked it up about 5/6 weeks ago and am trying to do sort of structured practise/learning. I'm never going to use a capo. I seem to have an inbuilt aversion to them.

So far I've got 3 bluegrass tunes that I'd say I'm fairly fluent in, pickin' wise, and from tonight. will be practising them with a backing track. Got another 4/5 in the process, which should take 3/4 weeks to achieve muscle memory of them. I go for small differences in two bar phrases so I've got a familiar base with a couple of extra learning bits with each new song.

As for 3/4 chord songs, I could probably make a stab at a lot, if I could remember songs that I like. I'm expecting within the next 6 months-ish, to have a large enough repertoire of 2 bar phrases to be able to make a fair fist of hundreds of 3 chord stuff.

My quezzie with regard to scales was to find out if they were really worth putting in to my structured practise. Taking note of the advice I've had here, I had a crack at the mixolydean mode scale for G and within a short while could see the benefit, primarily in increasing finger dexterity and strength. It also increases knowledge of the fingerboard in relation to where individual notes are. Once learned for G of course, movement around the fingerboard as a pattern gives me several mixolydean scales for any key. And then add in further scales as and when. There's also associating the sound of each note with it's position.
All banjo players should learn Bodhran as well. Then you can be a complete social outcast...
 
#13
You should at least have pentatonic scales with both 6th and 5th string roots nailed, as well as transitioning seamlessly from one to the other up or down the neck k. The extra notes around them can be learned by playing along to songs. Although there's a certain value add to learning various modes and so on, they're mostly just pentatonics with extra notes and/or a couple of notes changed, so unless you're a pro and writing your own stuff the value added of spending a whole bunch of time memorising them by heart is out of proportion to the effort required, and you'll get far more pleasure by learning them indirectly by learning other people's solos from tab.

And remember this truism: Almost all published tab is wrong. But most published tab is useful :D
I think I'm unlikely to play the banjo other than for myself and my initial question about scales was to see if it would be a major help in learning to play.

I've made great strides in the last couple of weeks. After learning a couple of bluegrass tunes exactly according to the tab and associated tutorials and suddenly hearing the melody amongst all the picking and then prolonged practise with a few licks . . . another breakthrough. I noticed a relationship between the licks and could ad lib them through the learned tunes, as well as sticking in the odd rest or frippery. I could interplay between 2 or 3 tunes, as the whim took me, while remaining fluent.

I realise that I've been practising chord conversions up and down the neck in various keys that I don't even take note of.

One of the rolls I do, I used to use on the guitar about a hundred years ago and I can get up a fair speed. This leads to a second version of Alhambra that I've made up.

Lots of up the neck banjo stuff is only tabbed as part chords, which made it difficult to remember, especially for me but when I realised I could just use the whole chord shape, it fell into place.

I felt a couple of nights ago, that continued practise would cause the 'click' sometime in the next couple of months and I'll be able to say that I can play the banjo and it'll be a case of refining skills and adding a couple of small new things every day.

As for scales, I'll continue to include them as part of my structured practise. Maybe their value will become clear when something else 'clicks'.
 

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