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Playing Scales

Is it important to use the rest stroke when practising scales?


Does this mean you should use a thumb rest stroke on the sixth string as it is not possible to execute a rest sroke there with fingers?

Hi!

I think it's important to practice both strokes when playing scales i.e. rest stroke and free stroke.

You can play the bass string "as if" there's a string behind it, like you would a rest stroke. And alternately, you should practice a rest stroke with your thumb, at least on the 3 bass strings (E, A, D).

I hope this answers your questions.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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scales learning

by catrin
(hong kong)

I have been practicing scales for a little while now and was wondering if I should continue to look at the music sheet rather than looking at my left hand to find the correct position for the notes.

I am trying to develop my speed and it is quite difficult just to find the perfect position of each finger on every note.

I was wondering if it is best for me to continue practicing just looking at the music, since I believe that is the best way to develop sight reading and a feel for where the notes are, and concentrate on finding the right notes before I worry about speed.

Is this way correct?

Hi Catrin,

I would firstly memorize the scale then play it either looking at my left or right hand. I think once you know the music, and don't have to look at the sheet music, you need to let your body "feel" it.

This goes for learning new music too. There's an old saying that goes..."Have the music in your head, not your head in the music."

This obviously means that if you're concentrating on the sheet music you can't give full expression to the music. Of course, this is not always true (just think of the great orchestra's around the world playing from sheet music).

Generally, you'll notice most solo and featured artists playing from memory rather than the sheet music in performance.

Additionally, for extra info. you may want to look at my page on playing guitar scales here...

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Using the Scales

by Manas
(India)

I am a complete beginner presently trying to learn the scales(major and minor) but I dont understand exaclty how I use them.

Can you show me an example or something?

Hi Manas,

Firstly, you need to go through them slowly and carefully. You should practice both rest and free stroke. You can see an example of that here...

Guitar Hand Position Technique Page


You might also want to look at this page too for an extra exercise


Guitar Scales Page

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Is knowing as many scales as you can important?

by PRD
(California)

I know that all scales come from the major scale, so in reading sheet music would knowing the scale before hand be helpful or could I just pick up on the differences? Also what is the connection between scales and key signatures if any?

Hi PRD,

I think knowing the scale beforehand offers a distinct but basic advantage in that you know just where the notes are going to be located.

Key signatures are what tell you what key you're in and hence what scale you will use or what the notes of chords and melody are made of.

For instance if you're in A major then the key signature would have three sharps (F# C# G#) because the actual scale is: A B C# D E F# G# A.

If you wrote a basic song that had three chords in it say, chord 1, 4 & 5 (which is how many basic 3 chord songs are created) then you'd use chords A major, D major & E major or some variation of order. Many Bob Dylan songs, even though they're great songs consist of just 3 basic chords.

Hope this helps,
Trevor M.

Comments for Is knowing as many scales as you can important?

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Music Theory for Guitar
by: Anonymous

Get Aaron Shearer's "Basic Elements of Music Theory for the Guitar"...it's the Bible.

Nearly every song you will ever play follows some form of the music theory presented in this book...and it will amaze you to see the theory that is going on in some songs, especially the more complicated ones by innovative composers like Villa-Lobos or Rodgrigo.

I don't always take the time to do that, but when I do, it's rewarding.

People who've been to music school and are degreed know how to take any melody and write a guitar solo based on it. I wish I could do that. My old teacher has written a book about this which will be published next April....he's promised me an autographed copy...I hope I get it!

Patricia

Patricia

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reply to knowing scales

by frank
(ridgefield, Ct.)

Knowing all forms of major and minor scales (natural, melodic and harmonic) provides you with the building blocks of melodic and harmonic theory.

This is especially important when reading and interpreting Baroque, Classical and Romantic repertoire, because awareness of melodic and harmonic movement gives you a greater awareness of where you are in a piece,(kind of like a built-in musical roadmap) and what interpretive decisions you may need to make at each juncture.

Scalar knowledge is also indispensible if you have any desire to improvise, something that many classical guitarists do not do enough. How scales fit over basic harmonies, and how those basic harmonies are derived from their corresponding scales, is an element of musical vocabulary that all of us as guitsrist/musicians should have at our fingertips.

This is part of the reason why it is very beneficial to set aside regular time to practice scales. If practiced attentively and thoughtfully, such work will give you an increasing tactile knowledge of how notes on the fingerboard can be put together most efficiently, as well as increase finger independence, and improve the touch and overall dexterity of both hands.

Hope this helps...

Frank

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Great Advice
by: Anonymous

Lord, that was well said! But I'm guilty as charged...I don't know any more than two scales.

I really do need to practice them more.

Right now I am working on the incredible Bach Fugue in A minor, transcription by Julio Prol, and it is a great challenge mostly because of its length. I can read very well but there are technical challenges. Scales would probably help.

I know that, being 54 yrs of age, I may never get this thing memorized...but I don't care...it just amazes me so much that even the first few measures can come out of me! I love that piece and it's one of my favorite Bach pieces that has been transcribed for the guitar.

I have the Segovia scales but only have two of them memorized. I think I will add another two per week, for now, and keep going.

Thanks for the very good advice!

Patricia

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scales

by jooo
(malaysia)

he,,,,

he,,,,

Is there any difference between acoustic guitar scale playing n classical?

Please send me some scales, I need it.

Hi Jooo,

No, there is no difference. Guitar scales work on any style of guitar. You can start with the scales on this page...

There is a chromatic scale and another group of scales in a PDF file at the bottom of the page. I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

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Welcome to LCG! I'm Trevor Maurice, owner of this site. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to help you with  your journey of learning to play the classical guitar. You can read more of my story here...

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