Scales and what to do with them

johnnysmash

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I can play all 12 basic scales on piano, such as C D E F G A B C and so on. I am teaching myself to play them on guitar. However, I have no idea how to play different types of scales and modes. Even if I knew all scales for guitar, I have no idea of what to do with them or how to apply them. Is there a good book that covers this subject in detail, one designed for a dummy? I am open to all instruction, advice, comments, or whatever. Thank you, johnnysmash
 

johnnysmash

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I noticed on Amazon.com that there is a lot of books on scales and how to use them but which one is best? Has anyone ever used any of them?
 

YogiTom

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I can’t offer much help on reading material on applying scales to your daily routine or songs beyond this: mastering scales so they become muscle memory allows you to call upon them without much thought if you find yourself improvising, composing, etc.

For me, they also help hone my aural skills. Being able to audiate, or hear the music accurately in your mind before it is manifested in your playing or singing, is a crucial skill to develop, and playing different scales, keys and modes helps my ear to memorize the sounds of certain intervals. Then, when I look at new music I’ve never heard before, I can more or less accurately “hear” the song in my head without ever touching an instrument.

That takes a lot of dedicated practice, and I haven’t been that rigorous in many years, but it worked for me when I was developing as a musician. As I’ve paraphrased before, my idol Rafael Méndez once said the key to gaining virtuosity on an instrument is to “play scales, scales, and then...more scales.” It may not be fun or interesting to some, but it really can do wonders for your basic proficiency, even if you only devote 5-10 each day to it in your routine.

I picked up a copy of “The Ultimate Ukulele Scale Chart” by Hal-Leonard for a couple bucks from my local music store when I got started, and I use it almost every day when I practice. Having the visual reinforcement for the scale patterns, even though they stay the same as you move up or down the fretboard, is really helpful for a visual learner like myself.

Hope some of that was helpful! :shaka:
 

bunnyf

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I’d practice ascending/descending thirds. They are a good foundational tool for improv. Also good for hearing that interval and helps you find the melody. Helps playing stuff like fiddle tunes too.
 

johnnysmash

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Is there such a thing as Hanon for Guitar?? If not, can one just use the Hanon for Piano?
 
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Jarmo_S

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Johnny, can you play a melody when you hear it as along with your uke?
Myself I don't much care about scales. I can play a major scale if asked just fine in any key. Minors I know the start but they vary in upper part, so to me the most important thing to me is able to play the tune.
What ever mood or scale.

It is not so easy for me to find the best chords by ear though. It helps if I know the key much, takes some time to figure that out always :)

EDIT: I mean't with guitar.
 
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johnnysmash

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Jamo_S I have to know a song very well to be able to pick out the single note melody on piano or ukulele. Now sometimes on guitar. For example, a song that I know very well is like something I have heard over and over for 20 or more years. More recent songs are very hard for me to pick out. Maybe that is because I favor older tunes. But once I can play the single note melody I know what key it is in because of the sharps and or flats or absence of both. Then I have to use my ears to know which chord in the key goes where. I think scale study would help anyone hear the melody note and many runs, vamps, licks, whatever one calls them are nothing more than scale runs. I see now that on piano I was taught only chords and I learned the runs by rote. Now I realize most of the runs were nothing more then scales or part of a scale. I am mainly looking for Hanon and scales because both should help me speed up my playing and strengthening of my stiff fingers in addition to whatever other benefit I might get.
 

Jarmo_S

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Keyboard is much easier for me to find the key, sort of. Just counting the number of black keys and the most basic note(s). I can't do much analysis on a fret board as easy. As I told, I can usually play the melody though.

Today's popular songs much lack it, so maybe then not so hehe, same as you.
 

maki66

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I picked up a copy of “The Ultimate Ukulele Scale Chart” by Hal-Leonard for a couple bucks from my local music store when I got started, and I use it almost every day when I practice. Having the visual reinforcement for the scale patterns, even though they stay the same as you move up or down the fretboard, is really helpful for a visual learner like myself.

Hope some of that was helpful! :shaka:

Ordered and on the way!