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Scale & Chord questions

Music Theory
bdrummen  
2 Mar 2012 11:07 | Quote
Joined: 02 Mar 2012
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Hi,

I'm pretty new to guitar & I am curious about scales & chord numbers, as well as how to figure out what scale to play for any combination of chords.

First question, how many different scales types exist & how many scales are their total? (every scale known to man)

Second question, how many guitar chords are there? (every guitar chord known to man)

and lastly, once someone learns a lot of scales in their repertoire (i plan on learning a lot), at what point & how do you know which scales work for a certain grouping of chords? For example, let's say I write a riff with three chords: A, E, and G. I'm assuming there's a bunch of scales you could use for that, but what's the methodology of figuring out what scales would work for it? How do guitarists figure that out?

Anyways, my questions might sound dumb, but I'm really new to this so I hope someone can enlighten me to these things, thanks in advance for any help,

B
Walkwithme  
2 Mar 2012 12:48 | Quote
Joined: 08 Feb 2012
United States
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okay well the first 2 questions aren't really answerable, there are thousands of both. but to the second question, the scale you would be playing for that chord progression, would be based off of the root chord, which as I can see is A. you would be playing an A major scale if im not mistaken... check out this lesson, it talks more about the scales to use for certain chords:

Improvisation in Detail

(and @guitarslinger, how do you make a lesson link, i've seen you do it before)
Guitarslinger124  
2 Mar 2012 13:09 | Quote
Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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Moderator
bdrummen says:
Hi,

I'm pretty new to guitar & I am curious about scales & chord numbers, as well as how to figure out what scale to play for any combination of chords.

First question, how many different scales types exist & how many scales are their total? (every scale known to man)

Second question, how many guitar chords are there? (every guitar chord known to man)

and lastly, once someone learns a lot of scales in their repertoire (i plan on learning a lot), at what point & how do you know which scales work for a certain grouping of chords? For example, let's say I write a riff with three chords: A, E, and G. I'm assuming there's a bunch of scales you could use for that, but what's the methodology of figuring out what scales would work for it? How do guitarists figure that out?

Anyways, my questions might sound dumb, but I'm really new to this so I hope someone can enlighten me to these things, thanks in advance for any help,

B


Check out my lesson, Music Theory: A Look Down the Path of.... After you've read that lesson I would suggest taking a peak at some of my other beginner level lessons.

It is really useful to understand what you are asking before you ask it. Also, your questions aren't dumb. If you don't know something you don't know something. Simple as that. So ask away dude.


Walkwithme says:
(and @guitarslinger, how do you make a lesson link, i've seen you do it before)


You have to use the Hypertext Reference tool. i.e "a href". Here is an example:




That's the gist of it anyway.

Rock on!
Walkwithme  
2 Mar 2012 13:13 | Quote
Joined: 08 Feb 2012
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@guitarslinger124 oh okay. thanks agian bro!

\m/(-.-)\m/

^^ rocker dude lol
bdrummen  
2 Mar 2012 14:33 | Quote
Joined: 02 Mar 2012
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Thanks guys!! i'll look into your links & get back to you on this thread if i run into any confusions/other questions, which i'm sure i probably will lol

Also, how did you know that A was the root chord? (or am i asking that prematurely and it will be answered in the links you posted?)

wow thousands of chords/scales? dang, so i guess no guitarist could ever know all scales. i had the misperception i guess then that i was going to eventually be able to learn all scales & chords that are available but it sure doesn't sound like it now!
Zula110100100  
3 Mar 2012 01:47 | Quote
Joined: 06 Sep 2009
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Yeah, you won't learn every scale, but you will certainly be able to learn the major and minor scales in all keys, the pentatonic scale, and that sums up probably 90%(Just a guess) of the music you hear...probably more. Another thing is that some things can fit more than one scale, but the less obscure is really all you NEED to know, not that you couldn't learn about more obscure scales, but you can do just fine without them for sure. As for chords, once you learn how to build chords, you practically know them all, its just nearly endless positions and inversions possible.
bdrummen  
3 Mar 2012 08:01 | Quote
Joined: 02 Mar 2012
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Ok, so after going through Walkwithme & Guitarslinger's links, I still have a basic question that these lessons don't directly address:

How do you for sure find out what KEY you're in? Is it 'always' the FIRST note/chord in your series of chords? For example, with the one I put forth: A, E, G. Was A the root because it came first and is it always like this no matter what series of chords you choose? For example, if I chose: G, F, D, E Now I would need to use a scale in G because G is the key I'm in?

Is this how it works? what's the methodology of finding the key and/or knowing what the root chord is?
bluesguitar101  
3 Mar 2012 09:15 | Quote
Joined: 23 Jan 2012
Netherlands
Lessons: 1
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when you enter these four chords (G,F,D,E) into the chords-to-scales tool on this site, you get no results for chords.
this is probably because the four chords contain the notes, G,B,D, F#, A, C, G#, E and F. as you can see there are nine notes, whereas scales usually have seven to eight notes. you could solve this by changing E to Em (G# becomes G) and you'll get some scales.

now when you have these scales, there are 2 in C, 2 in G and 1 in D.
this shows that the root note of these chords could either be G,C, or D. now when you add another Chord to this list, (example: A), the only scale that's left is G Japanese.

so to answer your question, it depends on the chords you're using.
for the progression G,F,D,E the key could be G,C, or D (which ever fits you best), but whith the progression G,F,D,E,A the only possible key is G.

I hope this explanation is usefull and correct. (o) (o)
_




matt8675  
3 Mar 2012 10:53 | Quote
Joined: 15 Apr 2011
Australia
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Look at the circle of 5th's tab at the top of the screen, its useful for beginners. And Btw, you dont need to know every single scale. Theres only a few you will ever need to know. This picture I have found very useful when I first learned scales. Where it says N, that is the root note or whatever note you start on, and for ex when it says n+2, move up two frets for that scale to stay in the same key. Hope that helps some.
bdrummen  
3 Mar 2012 12:08 | Quote
Joined: 02 Mar 2012
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@bluesguitar101 Oh wow, that chords to scales tool is really helpful! And your explanation did clear things up for me a lot! So, basically you can have possibilities for multiple root notes/chords (based on what chords you use) and therefore have multiple possibilities for scales. Just depends on which one you think sounds best...cool :)

@matt8675 that circle of fifths tool seems potentially cool, but it's too bad there's no description or lesson explanation next to it..i'm having a hard time understanding what it's telling me. It seems to be showing me three chords (that fit together well or something??) when I click on one note. and I guess the menu at the left tells me the best scale to use with those chords?? am i understanding it correctly?

Also, i'm still confused with these 7 modes. Are the 7 modes in EVERY scale? In other words, no matter what scale you learn/play, do the Ionian, Dorian, etc. situate themselves in the entire scale at certain spots (7 total) or are those seperate..in other words, the Ionian for example just shows you it's single note setup (17 notes within it) and you're required to move that note setup forward seven times? I don't know if my questions are even making sense for this one psh! confused on these modes.
Guitarslinger124  
3 Mar 2012 14:37 | Quote
Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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Moderator
These are a little heavier in theory, this is what you're looking for:

This one will teach you the scale basics:

Music Theory: These Ain't For No Weight

This one will teach you how to use them.

Music Theory: Chord and Scale Application

Don't hesitate to just browse the lessons section man. That is what it is there for.

Rock on!
bdrummen  
3 Mar 2012 16:18 | Quote
Joined: 02 Mar 2012
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Thanks dude! ya, apologize for not seein' everything..there's so many links up there, it's got me dizzy ;) i'm on it!
matt8675  
4 Mar 2012 11:27 | Quote
Joined: 15 Apr 2011
Australia
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It's actually not too complicated, once you figure it out it comes easier.
Walkwithme  
4 Mar 2012 11:50 | Quote
Joined: 08 Feb 2012
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@bdrummen,srry i havent been on the last couple days, but you figure out the key by looking for the root note in a song.. the root note in a song is usually like, the name of the chord you always come back to or the song is like.. based off of. like if the chord progression was A, E, D, A, as you can see it starts with A and comes back to it to start over, so more than likely you'de be playing in the key of A... if you were doing a minor key,(Am, C, Em, G), its a lot different. you look at the root chord and use the relative major as your scale, if you dont know what that is, find the root note that is the key you're in... then you skip 2 frets up and play the 3rd one, (C), major scale. Someone correct me if im wrong by the way please haha :p
bdrummen  
5 Mar 2012 07:55 | Quote
Joined: 02 Mar 2012
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Cool! that helps Walkwithme.

Ok, so far here's how I understand the modes now. You can basically build any scale in any major key with the 7 modes (because their note placements always stay the same) but they're just placed at different areas on the frets for whatever key you're in. Right? (sorry, the lessons aren't that easy to understand in some places)
Walkwithme  
5 Mar 2012 11:07 | Quote
Joined: 08 Feb 2012
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bdrummen says:
Cool! that helps Walkwithme.

Ok, so far here's how I understand the modes now. You can basically build any scale in any major key with the 7 modes (because their note placements always stay the same) but they're just placed at different areas on the frets for whatever key you're in. Right? (sorry, the lessons aren't that easy to understand in some places)


anytime! and well i cant help you much with modes, modes arent the same scale as majors and minors and stuff, they are a whole different thing.. im still learning them too... if guitarslinger dont show back up, just private message him or some other admin and ask about the modes
FiniteZer0  
5 Apr 2012 18:44 | Quote
Joined: 27 Jan 2010
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You don't really need to memorize all of the chord progressions and scales. You simply need to learn the formula needed to create progressions and scales.

The most basic scales are as follows: Major, minor (natural), minor (melodic) and minor (harmonic).

Here is how you create these scales:

Major
W W H W W W H

natural minor
W H W W H W W

melodic minor (ascending)
W H W W W W H

melodic minor (descending)
W H W W H W W

harmonic minor
W H W W H (W+H) H

W = Whole Step
H = Hal Step

The most common chord progressions follow these patterns and luckily they have the same names ^^

Major
I ii iii IV V vi vii0 (diminished)

natural minor
i ii0 III iv v VI VII

harmonic minor
i ii0 III+ (Augmented) iv V VI vii0

melodic minor
i ii III+ IV V vi0 vii0

for chord progressions capital letters indicate Major triads and lower case letters indicate minor triads.


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