Help needed memorizing major scale

Boxla

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HI all,

I'm needing some help here. I have all 5 of my pentatonic Maj & Min boxes more than memorized. I just took a lesson and my teacher said I need to focus on, and memorize, the major scale up and down the neck.
Up until now, I have only memorized and used the first position major (if it's even considered the first position)

I found that when I was trying to memorize all of my pentatonics that it was fairly easy because of the boxes. They are very clean and all boxed up.

Now with the major scale, there is so much overlapping that I'm struggling to find a way to really memorize it. I've tried to add in the extra notes (4th and 7th) to my pentatonics but it doesn't seem to be working well.

One thing that also helped with memorizing my pentatonics was using my triads up and down the neck to quickly tell me where I am and what box/pattern goes over that triad. I'm not finding it all that easy to do the same trick with the major scale.

Am I correct that I've also noticed different people/books have different patterns to their Major scales? For instance, in the second position of G major, my book tells me to play the F# on the A string and the B on the D string at the 9th fret, but I could also play them both on the fourth fret and not have the big stretch, the notes would just be a little lower than playing them at the 9th fret.

Can anyone help break my confusion? I know there has to be an easier way to go about this than the way I'm currently doing it.

Starting with G major is how I've been going about it. I know that once I get G, I'll simply incorporate it to the other keys.

I believe the overlapping is what's holding my brain back and I just haven't had the aha moment quite yet. Thanks for any help!
 

beninma

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It's rather easier to just do it by ear. Instead of memorizing fret locations memorize the intervals in that scale? If you're doing it on patterns all kinds of different teachers who teach that way recommend different patterns as far as # of notes per string and when to jump to the next string. But the intervals stay the same and it's knowledge that carries over to any other instrument even one without strings.

But talk to your teacher. My teacher doesn't really care about me knowing the patterns up and down the neck as patterns, more just determining them by ear. I do know all the pentatonics up and down the neck, but they are vastly simpler.

If you memorize all the patterns as fret locations for the major scale the next thing you know there are a giant pile of additional scales you would end up needing/wanting to memorize after that, with many different forms of them.

If you just find the root note and then follow the sequence of intervals in that type of scale you can always figure it out wherever you are on the neck. As my ear came a long this just became pretty easy.
 

PhredE

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No endorsement/no affiliation, but this is one of the first two sites that popped up in a search on the topic:

https://deftdigits.com/2013/09/04/the-5-major-scale-positions/

This is sort of the classic way to graphically depict the fingering/notes. The author includes the scale degree (note) within the scale (root note is dark gray, IIRC and is denoted by '1').

Agree with beninma above, start at the root and work up (or down) and develop your ear to know when that note falls in the major scale (or not). Also, study on the 5 basic shapes/positions similar to the ones outlined in the site above. Start at the root, and work away (up or down). I'll come in time.
 

beninma

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That Fender article is a perfect example of why I think at some point the pattern stuff becomes too confusing.. those are not even the same "Positions" a lot of teachers would teach.

My teacher went to Berklee so I'd assume what I was taught probably came from there.. the way he taught me to think about positions of the scales would have to do with what string you start the scale on and what degree of the scale you are starting with.

That Fender article doesn't even reference starting on the root note on the 6th string which is a very common "pattern" to learn. The patterns in that article do make it easy to see in terms of a pentatonic + adding some notes.
 

teletail

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Jens Larsen has PDFs for the Berklee Fingering system here - https://jenslarsen.nl/pdf-downloads-charts/

Here's the major. Practice every day for 10 minutes, you'll have it in no time. Don't make it more complicated than it actually is.

7 position-Major-Scale.jpg
 

ameetnsharma

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That Fender article is a perfect example of why I think at some point the pattern stuff becomes too confusing.. those are not even the same "Positions" a lot of teachers would teach.

My teacher went to Berklee so I'd assume what I was taught probably came from there.. the way he taught me to think about positions of the scales would have to do with what string you start the scale on and what degree of the scale you are starting with.

That Fender article doesn't even reference starting on the root note on the 6th string which is a very common "pattern" to learn. The patterns in that article do make it easy to see in terms of a pentatonic + adding some notes.

Ah, you're right. I just assumed 2nd position was with index finger at 2nd fret. But that may not be the case.
 

beninma

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Yah that Berklee chart is what I was taught. But it's organized a little different than the way I think they teach it.

I think you might normally start with the 5th pattern on that chart as "position 1" though as that is the pattern that starts on the root note, then the 2nd pattern starts on the 2nd note in the scale, etc.. But they would otherwise be in that order.
 

Larry F

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A Modern Method for Guitar, Books 2 and 3, shows how to finger every major scale in 12 positions. Learning these helped me obliterate the concept of positions. Not for everybody, but essential for me.
 

scook

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I’m with @BigDaddyLH on this. Build on what you know. Just find and add in those extra notes to the major pentatonics you already know. I’m guessing the ones and positions you know are out of the CAGED system. Later you can go back and learn other patterns/groupings for the major scale.
 

Gimble

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Only three patterns to learn covers entire fretboard:

4A8F9794-4248-4ECB-BB81-63840C858949.jpeg


In the key of G shown here. The pattern divide where the fret are empty on all strings.
 

Timbresmith1

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HI all,

I'm needing some help here. I have all 5 of my pentatonic Maj & Min boxes more than memorized. I just took a lesson and my teacher said I need to focus on, and memorize, the major scale up and down the neck.
Up until now, I have only memorized and used the first position major (if it's even considered the first position)

I found that when I was trying to memorize all of my pentatonics that it was fairly easy because of the boxes. They are very clean and all boxed up.

Now with the major scale, there is so much overlapping that I'm struggling to find a way to really memorize it. I've tried to add in the extra notes (4th and 7th) to my pentatonics but it doesn't seem to be working well.

One thing that also helped with memorizing my pentatonics was using my triads up and down the neck to quickly tell me where I am and what box/pattern goes over that triad. I'm not finding it all that easy to do the same trick with the major scale.

Am I correct that I've also noticed different people/books have different patterns to their Major scales? For instance, in the second position of G major, my book tells me to play the F# on the A string and the B on the D string at the 9th fret, but I could also play them both on the fourth fret and not have the big stretch, the notes would just be a little lower than playing them at the 9th fret.

Can anyone help break my confusion? I know there has to be an easier way to go about this than the way I'm currently doing it.

Starting with G major is how I've been going about it. I know that once I get G, I'll simply incorporate it to the other keys.

I believe the overlapping is what's holding my brain back and I just haven't had the aha moment quite yet. Thanks for any help!
Learn the notes on the neck. There are a bunch if ways to play these scales, but ideally, you should be able to start on any note in the scale on any finger on any string and be able to play the right notes faster than you can say them.Probably not the answer you were looking for, but it opens up every mode wothout having to remember fingerings.
 

BryMelvin

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think do re me scale from grade school. Play that over and over with different starting notes. That's the major scale for that starting note key. Practice at that and muscle memory will take over. After a few hundred "doe a deer" practices Play things like twinkle little star and yankee doodle.

When you get good get a partner and learn dueling banjos.
;)
 
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JL_LI

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I don’t know if this will help or confuse you even more. I know my scales by number. For a major scale, I know where 1 is, where 2 is etc. For minor scales, I know where the minor third and flatted seventh are. I know where the scales numbers are relative to each other. This allows me to move up and down the neck at will. I play in Dorian mode so I know where 6 is and that in a minor key I want the 6 flatted. The drawback is that I can’t tell you which notes are in an F# scale by name but I can find them all.

When I download lyrics and chords, the first thing I do is change the chord names to number notation. This makes transposing a snap. If I download a song in G, I can play it in C, D, or Bb for that matter.

This doesn’t mean you don’t need to read chords or music. It’s not even really a shortcut. But it is a way to easily transpose and improvise up and down the neck.
 

Rockinvet

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Alex_C

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Mowgli

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Strongly recommend the following in this order because you should be able to play each major scale in one position:

1. Learn the "structure" 1st (i.e. whole step - whole step - half step - etc.). But don't rely on this because it's inefficient. Professional and many good amateurs know the scales by their individual notes but learned them AFTER first "understanding" the major scale structure.

2. Learn the individual notes in each major scale by rote (e.g. A,B,C#,D,E,F#,G# / Ab,Bb,C,Db,Eb,F,G. / B,C#,D#,E, F#,G#,A# / Bb,C,D,Eb,F,G,A /etc.).

Write them ALL down and say them aloud 3-4 times a day; first with your "cheat sheet" and then without it.

Soon you will recognize a recurring pattern of sharps & flats involving the number 7. Figure it out on your own. You can do it.

Within two weeks, you should know the notes of all 12 major scales.

3. Everyday, after you say all 12 major scales aloud, practice your major scale fingerings going very slowly for the first week and speak aloud the individual notes.

This will allow you to "self-teach" yourself both (a) the notes on the fingerboard and (b) the major scale notes and their fingerings.

The late great player, studio musician and educator, Howard Roberts, said that one of the greatest ironies of life is that to learn something quickly you must go about learning it slowly. This is fantastic advice.

I and many of my friends did this 32 years ago. After learning all of this and using it almost daily for a year I stopped playing and practing for 14 years because of graduate school and my very demanding career. Then, out of the blue, I was asked to sub for a guitarist who quit abruptly in a band that had a few gigs left on its schedule. I quickly learned the tunes by slowly writing out charts for each tune and I ran through my major scales - both aloud and fingerings - as well as basic chord construction and arpeggios. Like magic it soon "came back to me" like it was yesterday --- all because I put the time in decades earlier to really learn all 12 scales and their fingerings!

Some things in life you should spend a lot of "upfront" time to learn well (e.g. multiplication tables, knots like the bowline, your Social Security number, colors of the visible light spectrum "RoyGBv" which will help you learn resistor codes if you dabble in electronics, notes of the major scales and chords if you are serious about music, etc...) because these things will likely never change in your lifetime!

Take it or leave it.
 




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