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Thread: Should a person know their scales.

  1. #1

    Default Should a person know their scales.

    Should i learn my scales or not worry about them.

  2. #2
    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Yes! I use to think it wasn't necessary because i could play by ear. But learning scales made understanding what i was playing a whole lot easier...Mike

  3. #3

    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Quote Originally Posted by fishtownmike View Post
    Yes! I use to think it wasn't necessary because i could play by ear. But learning scales made understanding what i was playing a whole lot easier...Mike
    How. I can play some by ear. ive played almost 2 years and its not all there like i cant do breaks and stuff but what does it do fro you.

  4. #4
    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Well to start out scales are wonderful dexterity exercises , just running up & down them. They are, for me, how i come up with the notes to play in a break, Usually notes taken from the scales of the chords I'm playing over. Then a mixture of Pentatonic scales symetric scales & chromatic along with some double stops trem picking & arpeggios as well as a good ear can lead to a good break, fill or solo.
    Jim Richmond

  5. #5

    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Of course, it goes without saying. You should use a metronome too.

  6. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Well, suppose you want to play in several different keys. You would be better off knowing what notes are commonly used in, say, B flat. The most commonly used notes are the "do-re-mi" of the B flat scale. If you know your B flat scale, where all the notes fall on the fingerboard, you might be less likely to hit an E natural "clam," and would instead play E flat.

    And, really, the more you know, the better player you become. I am always wondering about posts about "why do I have to learn to read music?" or "why do I need to practice with a metronome?" or some such. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, but getting more knowledge and skill and experience is only going to help in your development.

    I don't think most mandolinists have to learn scales in every possible key, but honestly, what does it hurt? You may never play a break in C sharp in 50 years of mandolin playing, but knowing that you could if called upon play a C sharp scale and follow a melody in that key is certainly a positive.
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    "Should a person know there scales."

    Before you start on scales, work on the difference between "there" and "their" for a while...

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    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    If a person knows scales, it tells them (BEFORE they play a piece) where the notes they most likely will need are located for that piece. It is similar to using a road map while driving (or these days a GPS). You might find a new place without a map or other aid, but if you have one, you may get there a lot easier and a lot more efficiently.

    I am a pretty decent improviser, and am VERY glad I learned the scales and modes in all keys. As a matter of fact, right now, I am expanding that and learning (for Jazz playing) all the bebop scales in all keys and all positions. Even though Iíve only been working on this project the last couple of months, it has already paid good benefits. On the 2 Jazz gigs I played this weekend, the knowledge gained from those scales Iíve worked on (committed to memory and in my hands) allowed me to play some very cool lines I never could have without having done that work.

    Scales and arpeggios are the building blocks of all good improvising. LEARN THEM!!! Youíll never regret it.
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    They dont make a bit of since to me i would have to have a teacher explain how to do them cause i cant get anywhere with them.

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    Registered User Barry Platnick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Check out this link to some basic scale lessons:

    http://http://www.folkofthewood.com/page5296.htm


    And not to be rude but resophil...this aint the spelling bee cafe.
    Barry

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  12. #11
    Registered User Barry Platnick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Barry

  13. #12

    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Wow!

  14. #13
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Gambrel View Post
    They dont make a bit of since to me i would have to have a teacher explain how to do them cause i cant get anywhere with them.
    If you're waiting for us to tell you not to bother, you'll be waiting quite a while. It's not rocket science, and by playing the mandolin, you've learned a lot more than you'd probably admit. But, of course, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. The fact that you've even asked about it, probably means that someone's suggested to you that learning some basic scales, etc., might help your playing. That person wasn't trying to "dis" you or lead you into a lot of meaningless exercises. However, you obviously didn't appreciate the suggestion. So, it's your call. What you may find out is that in a few months or years, you'll be more ready to try some more basic developmental work, besides learning a bunch of breaks to a bunch of tunes. You might even say, "Gee, I wish I'd spent some time on this back in 2009." Or not.
    Allen Hopkins
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    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Platnick View Post
    Thanks

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Scales are the traffic rules of playing.
    You probably know how to drive a car, but you should also know what those colorful signs by the road mean. Scales are just like that.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    "Should you learn to play scales " - only if you want to !. I've managed pretty well on Banjo,Mandolin & Guitar without learning too many scales - BUT- since begining Mandolin,i have practiced more scales & i've found places where i get wonderful 'patterns of notes' that i can dip into when playing. Not very technical as an explanation i know,but in my playing,i learn where to get the 'sounds' i want, & learning a few scales can do that,
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    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Mandolin players should indeed know *their* scales -- these are the 'vertical' aspects of the fingerboard, the chords are the 'horizontal' aspects (this is common jazz terminology). The scale degrees are used to define chords, build suspense (leading tones) etc. etc. etc.

    Definitely the major scales (Ionian mode) and at least Mixolodian (flattened 7th) and Dorian (flattened 3rd and 7th, probably the most common minor) are everywhere in folk and bluegrass music. For other forms you need additional scales.

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    Registered User David Lloyd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know their scales.

    FFcP makes it all easier to understand. It did for me. Check out Jazzmando.com . Our moms should have said "play your scales" instead of "eat your vegetables" !

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Should a person know there scales.

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    You may never play a break in C sharp in 50 years of mandolin playing, but knowing that you could if called upon play a C sharp scale and follow a melody in that key is certainly a positive.
    Unless you want to play Cryin' Holy in C#, like the CG did on Joe's Last Train. Doyle Lawson's mandolin solo is all closed position (no open strings) and he absolutely nails it.

    I would think just about every mandolin picker we admire today can play scales, in one form or another.

  21. #20
    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know their scales.

    Pentatonic scales are a Great way to start , they'll get you improvising right away. The notes a,c,d,e,g are the C maj and A min Pentatonic scale. With a little help from your ear you can play any one of these notes over a chord progression in C or Am and they sound good. If (and you should) you continue to learn the Mixolydian and Dorian mode scales you will notice how these 5 notes are in those scales. Pentatonics are NOT the only notes to use in a break but they are a great way to start and with practice and a good ear you'll find you know which other 2 notes you can use in an improvised break over any given chord progression. The way I educated my ear to know where those noted were was by playing the scales in all the different keys over and over. A few minutes each practice will do and it's not a bad way to warm up.
    Jim Richmond

  22. #21
    Registered User Earl Gamage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know their scales.

    Yes, Shaun, learn your scales. Like Jim says, pentatonic which is the notes in the chord plus the 2nd and 6th (or major scale minus the 4th and 7th) is easy and gets you improvising very quickly.

    That does not mean don't work on the major scales though. And major scales that are not in the guitar friendly keys. There's no telling who you end up playing with if you learn those.

  23. #22

    Default Re: Should a person know their scales.

    The way a mandolin is tuned, it's pretty easy to find do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti on the fingerboard.

    Look at it this way: If you learn a tune with no knowledge of where it fits on the scale. If you learn a tune as simply a "copy" of a recording or sheet of notes, you won't understand how tunes are related to each other. You are asking you're memory banks to do it the hard way. You can play off sheet music like a player piano plays from a roll, if that is your preference. Music as robotics rather than language. Music is whatever you want, however you want. If you never have to assimilate you'll never have to adapt. So rock on till you can't rock no more.

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    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know their scales.

    A teacher once explained to me that playing (popular vs. classical) music is a wierd mix of discipline and expression. You spend years getting down the little stupid things that you have to learn like scales and holding the instrument correctly. Then you go into a phase of playing what you feel, and then you go back into a serious study phase. What you learn in the process however, is that each time you go to an expression phase of playing, you have a deeper natural understanding of the fretboard, your runs reach higher, your riffs are more interesting, your melodies are more thought-through. Learning to play an instrument is not easy -- if it were, everyone would be a Bill Monroe. It takes hard work.
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    Registered User Eric Taylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should a person know their scales.

    Shawn- I'm probably a little biased on this topic. My aunt is a piano teacher, with a degree in performance and a minor in music theory, and I'm a music composition minor. I also took violin lessons for over 10 years beginning when I was 11. In fact, I use the same scale and exercise book for my mandolin now (Kreutzer 42 studies for violin- it's a workout!!!). And David: my mother didn't shy away from the vegetables, but I heard "remember to practice your scales" SEVERAL times during my childhood. Remember, a solo is just a scale played out of order- for me it helps to actually know what it is I'm playing, for you it may not. Just do whatever suits you best.

    Eric
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  26. #25

    Default Re: Should a person know their scales.

    My last teacher i had about 8months ago didnt use scale. i ask him if he could teach me and he said they where useless. I do appreciate the link you sent ive been working on it,

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