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Thread: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb? ;)

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    Default Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb? ;)

    I've learned my chords pretty well and practice them often, what scales should I start implementing into my practice routine? Should I learn all of them? My goal really isn't the technicalities of scales, rather increased familiarity with overall mandolin playing in general. I have like zero skills in the lead department

    If you feel like touching on it..should I implement anything else into my daily practice? Arpegios? Triads? Specific scales? Anything else? I want to be able to play by ear somedayyyy lol

    Thanks a lot, mandolin's awesome

  2. #2
    Registered User Laird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    FFCP will allow you to know every scale up the neck just by repeating the same series of patterns from different starting points. ('Course, half the time I couldn't tell you what key I'm playing without pausing to figure it out, but I do know how to play them!)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    If you want to play at bluegrass jams, just learn G, A and D scales, and you're done.

    But seriously, if it is bluegrass you want to play, learn as many fiddle tunes as you can, and start transcribing and learning your favorite solos from recordings.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    If you are a serious player, you'll ultimately learn them all. Lots of bluegrass is played in B, Bb, C, D, E or F. Songs are sung in keys that suit the singer's range.

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    If you are a serious player, you'll ultimately learn them all. Lots of bluegrass is played in B, Bb, C, D, E or F. Songs are sung in keys that suit the singer's range.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    K.I.S.S, keep it to simple Folk Music and you may only need the # keys
    C, G,D,A,E.

    the other keys .. you might need if the Singer is not able to be comfortable
    in those keys, in their range.
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    Scales in all keys. If I had to do it, so should you.
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    I agree with the KISS thing. While it's true that SOME serious players might need to know them all, I know some very serious players in the "folk and rock" genres who have never learned or practiced scales just to learn or practice scales, ever, at any time, in their playing careers. You are a beginner. Learn what you need for now and see where the road takes you. FFCP is a great concept and I've tried it, but I haven't found it that useful for my playing. If I got into jazz, classical or really high-level bluegrass, I can see it being helpful, but for what I do I've always been able to find all the notes I need without it, thank you very much and I play some church music that can get fairly complicated. I think the C, G,D,A,E advice is good. If you master those, I mean really master them, then try the minor scales in each of those keys. Then master all the chord changes in those keys. All that will keep you busy for a while. And for heaven's sake, learn some TUNES and ENJOY playing as much as you can! Good luck on it!

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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    You start with what you use the most. The major and minor scale, the .minor and dominant 7 arpeggio. THe keys you play in learn the I IV V and VIm, the 1 , 4 , 5 and 6m , relative minor. For example in G, you will use the G C D and Em scales and arpeggios. This allows you to cover most chords played in a G major song or tune. THe not often used "off" chord would be the II , 2 chord which in G would be A. So to play successfully in G you need to learn five sets of scales and arpeggios. When you move to D you already have a start by knowing D and move on from there. THis is an ongoing process. Learning the scales and arpeggios is only the beginning. Learning how and where to use them is step two and the work of many playing hours. Yes the forms travel yes if you learn your scales in closed positions you can move then around. And that is the place to start...... Luck.. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    Quote Originally Posted by UsuallyPickin View Post
    You start with what you use the most.
    I agree with UsuallyPickin. Certainly you should first learn the scales that you're using most. For me, playing mostly old time and roots music, that meant key of D.

    But part of this depends on how you learn. Me? I learn by playing as much as possible, not by "practicing." So I just try to play all the time, and for the most part I'm concentrating on tunes (even classical pieces) in the key of D. I learned that scale--major and minor--first, because it let me mess around with the tunes I was playing. The fact that it was useful kept me interested and encouraged me to continue. And learning D helped me go to G, etc.

    But you might learn by just memorizing how to play all the scales, and mathematical relationships, and all that stuff. Only you know. I don't know how you ever learn to improvise without learning the scales, but in what order and at what speed--only you know that.

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    Registered User auteq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    I think apart the ones mentioned, if you play in bluegrass jams (due banjo players and guitar positions) you will see a lot of G and A. You say you have zero skills in the lead dept. I assume you want them? But even if you don't scales make chords so if you want familiarize you should learn them. (I like arpeggios as well)
    Last edited by auteq; Jan-23-2013 at 11:20pm.

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    Registered User Manfred Hacker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    This was a beginner question.
    IMHO a beginner should first be able to play the most common scales cleanly - in time - in first position.
    I am with David Mold. Most FIDDLE TUNES in the most common keys contain scales, fragments of scales, folded scales, etc. And it's much more fun to play tunes than just dozens of different types of scales.
    jax_realm, get a book like the Beginning Mandolin by Greg Horne , set your metronome to a tempo you can play cleanly, crank it up slowly with your progress and practice the heck out of it. If you have mastered everything in that book, there is still time to learn every possible scale in every conceivable position. Just my two cents ...
    I have never let my schooling interfere with my education - Mark Twain

  14. #13

    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    Thanks everybody, i actually just bought that Greg Horne book, so now I'm going to go through that, learn my most common scales, check out the FFcP thing and get educated on some fiddle music lol perfect.. I appreciate it.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    It's not dumb to learn anything - except maybe bad practices

    I used to try to play every major scale pattern starting on every fret from the open G to the 12 fret on the G- helped my fingers learn the fret board
    didn't do much for me trying to solo over BG chords or other kinds of music

    I find I have trouble learning Monroe tunes - cause he goes places I just don't expect
    I find I understand and anticipate Bach easier than I do Monroe- but that is besides the point
    so I would say learning every scale did not do much for my ability to play bluegrass
    but it was not a bad thing to do

    as a beginner - you should work towards:

    being comfortable playing
    knowing the strings and how they are tuned
    knowing basic chords
    knowing basic left hand positions
    knowing basic right hand technique
    balancing right and left hand ( in other words don't get great at one and sloppy on the other)

    a good solid foundation can take you further than you could imagine
    a classical guitar teacher of mine once remarked
    "better to play Happy Birthday beautifully than mediocre Scarlatti"
    and listening to the great players - I find that rings true

    trying to be a 'master" quickly is an oxymoron - you'll never be a master if you go to quickly

    so don't try to learn to much to fast
    enjoy your music it can be a considerable friend at times

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    Well, if it's bluegrass you want to play, the pentatonic and blues scales are just as important as the major scales.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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    Registered User Pasha Alden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    Hello all and thanks to those who mention the fiddle tunes and that they contain scales in some form. I have two tunes that I learnt when playing fiddle - violin?? and it is huge fun playing these on the mando. At times I abandon my metronome, find it too intimidating.

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    Registered User pefjr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    Quote Originally Posted by jax_realm View Post
    I've learned my chords pretty well and practice them often, what scales should I start implementing into my practice routine? Should I learn all of them? My goal really isn't the technicalities of scales, rather increased familiarity with overall mandolin playing in general. I have like zero skills in the lead department

    If you feel like touching on it..should I implement anything else into my daily practice? Arpegios? Triads? Specific scales? Anything else? I want to be able to play by ear somedayyyy lol

    Thanks a lot, mandolin's awesome
    If you are serious about the Mando, you will feel handicapped until you know all the major scales. What ever scale you don't know will be the ones everyone else wants to play in. It gets easier though, and soon they all fall into place. If you know music theory or played any other instruments before then you will pick up the scales faster. Check this out: Fretboardtoolbox.com ... no financial interest.
    I have the world in a jug, and the stopper in my hand.

  19. #18

    Default Re: Beginner Q: Should I learn every single scale or is that dumb

    http://hspeek.home.xs4all.nl/dadgad/theory.html

    "Chord Scales" and accompanying Irish dance music.
    by Han Speek 1996
    I - Which Scales Are Relevant ?

    Other genres are different, ofcourse.

    Have fun

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