Essentials

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by eclipsex1, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. eclipsex1

    eclipsex1 SS.org Regular

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    Hello everyone. I've made a few posts here, although I'm mainly a lurker. I've been feeling completely out of it for about a year now.. I've been playing guitar, but rarely did I feel up to learning anything new. I've not progressed much in my opinion. I bought a new guitar, which helped a little, but I've still been in the same slump. Not just in guitar, but in life.. But that's aside from the point. Today I really cleaned my room, and I came across an old poster that my cousin gave me when I first started playing.. It was from an older guitar world magazine, and it says something like BULLSHIT FREE ZONE ESSENTIAL SCALES AND CHORDS. I knew the basic chords, but it had some other ones (that weren't overbearing, and that I've used but didn't know the names of before), and a few scales, which I only knew one of. It actually made me want to sit down and practice them and learn them, unlike the big chord poster I have on my wall that has probably over a hundred chords on it.

    So my question is what chords, scales, sweeps, etc. are essential? I know that there are plenty of resources on this forum alone that list all of them, and that's not what I'm asking for. I want to know which ones I should learn.. At least on a basic level, and then what I should build to.. Also, shouldn't I be able to just learn (excluding open chords) one chord/scale/sweep and move up and down the guitar neck the according number of steps to get to the right note? Just to cut down on what I need to actually learn to make it easier. I plan on printing out the essentials, and then more and more. It was easier to do with it not being on the computer for some reason. Also, if a book could be recommended, that would great too.

    If it makes any difference, the stuff that I generally play is as follows: Nevermore/Jeff Loomis, John Petrucci, Periphery/Bulb, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Lamb Of God. Metallica... I really play anything that sounds good to me, but those are what I generally go through.

    tl;dr

    What chords, scales, and arpeggios are essential to learn?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. Lasik124

    Lasik124 SS.org Regular

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    To help recommend some things to learn can I ask what you do know to start?

    Can you play a given Major/Minor scale all around the fretboard for example?
     
  3. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    I don't recommend this, at all. If you do that then you just learn shapes, rather than notes, which often then detracts from musicality. For instance, if you were playing a chord which had one note which clashed with whatever the rest of a group was playing but all the other shapes you used clashed as well, then you would need a lot of time to work out a new way of playing the chord which didn't clash. If you knew the notes and which one was clashing it'd be much easier to fix the problem.

    I'd say to learn the major scales by learning the notes. Do so by learning about the cycle of fifths so you can be comfortable working out the notes if you forget the "shape" you're used to.

    From the major scale, learn all of the major modes. Use this to develop a knowledge and understanding of intervals which will make you appreciate everything else as a variation of what you've learned so far.

    From the 6th mode which is the Aeolian mode (otherwise known as the natural minor) learn harmonic and melodic minor scales, how to work out their notes and then go on to their modes.

    Learn the bases of chord construction and use that to learn to work out the chords of the scales and modes mentioned above. It's much better to have an understanding you can use to work things out, rather than relying on memory.

    Have a look at the free sample chapters of my book which is linked in my sig.
     
  4. eclipsex1

    eclipsex1 SS.org Regular

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    I know all of the major chords except for B o.o
    Uhm. I know Am, Dm, Em. I know the A minor pentatonic scale, although I originally learned it on the 12th fret, so it was E minor pentatonic, as well as C major open. I know some sweeps, but I know none by name.. I'd just learned them as I went from Loomis songs and such. And no, I can't play either all across the fretboard yet. Only in one position. How would I go about learning it all across the fretboard?

    Can you explain what I'm supposed to learn about the circle of fifths? Am I supposed to memorize it or just use it to see what notes are prevalent to which scale?
     
  5. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    As you can't name your sweeps, that tells me you do not actually know your chords. Sweeps are generally just some quality of arpeggio (that is to say comprised of chord tones), so if you can name them, you will know both your chords a lot better and have a better relation with your fretboard.
     
  6. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    Use the cycle of fifths as a way to work out the accidentals in each key and from that then work out all the notes of each key. That way you can play something in that key wherever you are around the neck and not be limited to where you know the scale shape in one position.
     
  7. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net

    Go through all the lessons there, and you'll be on your way. As for what's essential, let me break it up like this:

    Shit you simply gotta know - key signatures, major scales, minor scales, harmonic and melodic minor, major triads, minor triads, diminished triads, augmented triads, intervals, basically how to construct all of that, and how to notate pitch and rhythm.

    Shit you probably should know - all the seventh chords, major scale modes, as many of the note locations on the fretboard that you can handle, and intervals, intervals, intervals.

    Shit you should look forward to knowing - any chord that could possibly be conceived, how to analyze form, having your technique to a point that you can do whatever it is you want to do, getting down with modulation.
     
  8. eclipsex1

    eclipsex1 SS.org Regular

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    I know how to get the apreggio from a scale, but I don't really know many of the scales haha.

    And I know how to make major scales already.. but not much more lol.

    Thanks Schecterwhore :p. I'm looking through the lessons now, and now I have an order to.. learn important shit in. haha.
     
  9. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    For the most part, you should focus on the major and minor scales. Harmony is derived from those, so it makes the most sense. Also, the major scale gives you a template for constructing other scales. Check it:

    C major - C D E F G A B
    C major - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

    C minor - C D Eb F G Ab Bb
    C minor - 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

    C harmonic minor - C D Eb F G Ab B
    C harmonic minor - 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7

    You use the major scale as a basis of comparison. As soon as you learn how to do that, you don't need to learn all of the other scales because you already know them. Or you know the formula, at least.

    1 b2 3 #4 5 6 7, start that shit on D, D Eb F# G# A Bb C#. What's that scale called? Fuck if I know, it's some sort of phrygian major 7 thing with a #4, but I have the numbers so it doesn't matter what I call it.

    Your priority really shouldn't rest on scales, though. Learn how to construct a chord progression in both the major and minor mode, and you'll get much further much faster. Also, make sure that you're relating arpeggios to chords rather than to scales. While it's true that you can derive chords from scales, you don't want to be thinking "Okay, this is an F mixolydian arpeggio," because that's just fucking weird and doesn't mean anything (Although if somebody said that, I'd be thinking that they mean an F7 arpeggio; but who really knows? The purpose of music theory is to at least provide a common language, so keep it in mind to try to preserve that and learn from it.).
     
  10. Adari

    Adari Beethoven Pwns All

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    Seriously, the easiest method by which to learn the entire fretboard, IME, is by progressing through Frederick M. Noad's Solo Guitar Playing Bks 1 & 2.

    It's classical guitar, but it gives such a thorough understanding of fretboard knowledge and reading that it can easily be applied to the electric.

    When you want to start learning interesting scales and arpeggios, I recommend Frank Gambale's Chop Builder (which also vastly improves your speed and accuracy, as the name suggests).
     
  11. StratoJazz

    StratoJazz SS.org Regular

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    Alot of SW's advice here is really good. If you know basic Major vs. Harmonic minor vs. and Melodic minor and how it applies to harmony, you'll understand that virtually all tonal music is based off that. From there Practice your scales off each note to get each of it's seven modes. Then if you want to be really cool learn about more intervallic based scales like Whole-Half and Half-Whole(Octatonic Scales) and Whole tone scale(whole tones or 2 semitones).

    For practicing sweeps, i suggest learning smaller patterns first. 3 string sweeps should be learned before 7 string sweeps, you'll find that this also helps with insomnia ;).

    Keep working on your basic chord shapes, but try to transition to a triad over bass note approach when you know your chords well. C/C is your standard C major chord. C/Eb could act like a C7b9 chord. D/E would be like a Dominant chord as well.

    Musictheory.net will help you tremendously. Check out that link as well.

    Hope this helped you.
     
  12. nostealbucket

    nostealbucket aint no gahdam woman

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    Intervals are so much help.

    Major = nothing flat
    Minor = flat 3rd
    Diminished = flat 3rd and 5th
    Augmented = raised 5th.
    Apply that, and you just learned some new chords. :yesway: :yesway: :yesway:
    And.
    Scales =/= arpeggios. :nono:
    Arpeggios = chords. :yesway:
     
  13. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    I don't think I understand.

    C/Eb ≠ C7b9.

    C/Eb is Eb C E G, where the third is split. I'd call that C(3!), or maybe C7(#9) if you had a Bb somewhere in the chord. C7b9 is C E G Bb Db.

    And D/E doesn't equate to a dominant seventh chord, either.

    D7: D F# A C
    D/E: E D F# A, I'd be more inclined to call this an add9 chord (once again, unless there way a seventh in it).
    Unless you're trying to establish E as the root of the chord, but even then, you're missing a third and I don't think it would sound like E7.

    Could you give us some voicings on these?
     
  14. Kr1zalid

    Kr1zalid Archrocker

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    :scratch:

    I think you have to say....
    Minor 3rd = flat 3rd
    What exactly you're trying to say for diminished?
    Augmented 5th = Raised 5th

    or...

    Minor = Flatted (Lowered a half)
    Diminished = Double flatted (Lowered 2 halves)
    Augmented = Raised a half

    Interesting things here going... I would say ShecterWhore is correct about the bolded lines so take note. Also C/Eb would make more sense if you are playing a C minor chord or Cm7, with the Eb note as the bass that way...

    Anyway, feel free to correct me...

    About the "D/E would be like a dominant" statement... Hmm, let me think...

    Dadd9 = D F# A E
    D9 = D F# A C E
    Dsus2 = D E A
    ...

    :ugh:

    My theory is limited :lol:

    Are you trying to say it sounds like a dominant chord or something, if that's even possible?... You really have to explain this one to me SratoJazz...

    Anyway, to the OP, remember to learn to identify scales and chords, since I hardly believe you can actually do that now...and learn whatever ShecterWhore posted above... :agreed:
     
  15. celticelk

    celticelk SS.org Regular

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    nostealbucket was talking specifically about triads: a minor triad has a flatted third, while a diminished triad has both a flatted third and a flatted fifth, both in comparison to a major triad with the same root. When talking about individual intervals (a third or a fifth or a sixth or...), "minor" and "diminished" both mean "down a half-step", but "diminished" is generally used only for the fifth ("diminished fifth" vs. "perfect fifth"), while "minor" gets contrasted with "major" for most other intervals (second, third, sixth, seventh).
     
  16. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    Don't forget diminished 7ths, which are double flatted as well.
     
  17. StratoJazz

    StratoJazz SS.org Regular

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    I meant to say C7#9 for C/Eb. The #9 would be Eb, silly mistake i made. Generally the third and seventh are more important than the fifth or even the root(that's what a bass player is for, otherwise root is most important). However, in an odd sort of way, C/Eb would be the the 3rd and b9 of the C7b9. It wouldn't have to strictly be dominant, it could also be some wacky Maj7 chord with a flat b9 on top. D/E is similar, It could also be a Maj7-like sound, Dominant sound, or even minor. It really depends on the melody and how it's used. If you were to play a mixolydian lick it would work over that chord.

    So the resolutions of the melody define harmony, Slash chords like D/E give it color.

    A better example would've been Bb/G which is Gm7, Or Dmin/Bb which is BbMaj7. Edim/C would be C7.

    The idea is your looking at a triad, then playing a bass note under it. This how alot of piano players visualize chords. It also opens up a whole new realm of voicings.

    E------0
    B------1
    G------0
    D------2 Just a regular C chord
    A------3
    E------x
    A------x

    E------0
    B------1
    G------0
    D------x Still a C chord, notice the Triad on top
    A------3
    E------x
    A------x

    Move it to Bb, instant dominant chord(7th in da bass)

    E------0
    B------1
    G------0
    D------x
    A------1
    E------x
    A------x

    You may be familiar with this voicing

    E------x
    B------3
    G------3
    D------3 Gm7 Drop 3
    A------x
    E------3
    A------x

    All that really is, is a Bb triad over a G or Bb/G. You can invert the triad on top, which will yield more chord voicings.

    D/E could involve inverting D major triads over a bass note. This voicing is a bit of a stretch. LOL

    E-------x
    B-------7
    G-------7
    D-------7
    A-------7
    E-------x
    A-------x

    This one really is a stretch though, E/D is a dominant chord.

    E--------x E-------x
    B--------9 B-------9
    G--------9 G-------9
    D--------9 or D-------9 for more ass
    A--------5 A-------x
    E--------x E-------x
    A--------x A-------5


    G/B

    E------x
    B------3
    G------4
    D------5
    A------2
    E------x
    A------x

    So the weird slash chords(like C/Eb or C/Db or D/E) can be stretched wider harmonically as opposed to C E G Bb D#/Eb <----set in stone.

    Hope this long explanation helps.
     
  18. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    I've never liked that approach. Just call it what it is and learn how to voice a chord, that's what I say. Alas, different strokes.
     
  19. StratoJazz

    StratoJazz SS.org Regular

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    To use a Triad/Bass note approach you still have to understand how to voice a chord. If you don't know how to build a seventh chord, you probably won't be able to build a slash chord that IS a seventh chord. Here's the formula

    -Minor triad a Major third up from bass note yields MAJOR 7th
    -Major triad a Minor third up from bass note yields minor 7th
    -Diminished triad a major third up from bass is a dominant 7th
    -Diminished triad a minor third from bass note fully diminished 7th
    -Minor triad a minor third up from bass notes yields half-diminished 7th

    The Triad/Bass note approach will give you more voicings to play with. It doesn't really change what it is, Bb/G is still going to be a Gm7, it's the visualization that i'm trying to emphasize. It's like kind of like C6 being Amin7.

    Still, there isn't just one way to do something and probably there won't ever be. What's important is what works for you.
     
  20. Kr1zalid

    Kr1zalid Archrocker

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    @StratoJazz I think your loooong explanation about the chords is kinda messed up a bit but I think I can understand what you're trying to say there.

    Your way to understand slash chords is.......different, IMO. For me, I'll use more of chord inversions e.g. 1st Inversion of C = C/E, 3rd Inversion of C7 = C7/Bb that kind of way.

    QFT :agreed:
     

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