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The Major Scale: Part 18: The Modes Part 2

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Music Theory: Parallel Modes

Here we continue with the second half of our explaination of the modes (order of modes, etc) and how they related to the circle of 5ths/4ths.

The Modes Part 2: The Order Of Modes




The Major Scale Part 17: The Modes Part 1

Into the Modes...

Running scale positions might make you bored. Not me. I can run them all day if I had to. But, some times its good to change up your practice routine a bit to take a mental break. For the moment we have been practicing the major scales ascending and descending to reinforce the shapes of each of the positions. What else can we do to help us “lock in” the fretboard? 

Watch the following video and I’ll show you how you can connect the musical dots. We’re gonna continue our musical journey and explore the ancient lands of Greece... I mean the modes. 

That was a really bad attempt at a  joke. I know. I’m not Bert Kreischer. But, that’s what happens when you don’t know your craft. You end up sounding really bad.

So, to continue: there was a reason why we started to call the degree positions (again the left hand positions) by their modal names. The name of the game is to explore and have fun not just to practice with no aim. When you know more about what you are doing you’ll be able to unlock even more potential for fun. That I promise you.

Video topics:

  • mode formulas
  • tetra chords
  • comparing the contruction of the modes
  • single string comparisons of the modes
  • “Dark side” of the modes


Remember this is all done visually via String Author so no decoding necessary! Click on the image below!



The Major Scale: Part 16: The Modes of the Major Scale

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Remapping the Fretboard Galaxy

So far we have been refering to the fingering positions as degrees of the major scale. But did you know that these degrees of the major scale also have another name associated with them. These names refer to the actual sound characteristics of the scale that can be made from each of these scale degrees. So, you can say that the major scale contains many scales within it. These scales are known as modes. There are seven modes of the major scale.

Now, why is this important? Well, for one thing, when it comes to “playing the changes”, you will see that refering to the scale position by its modal name makes a difference.  Let me explain why.



The Major Scale: Part 15: Playing Across Positions

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Across the Great Divide: Range Playing

By combining all the things that we have discussed, and practiced so far, we can start to play across more than one position. So, if you are practicing your 7BP’s, 3NPS, string shifting, loops, pivots, and linking, this next idea won’t come as a total suprise.

This next step I call Range Playing. Why? Because when we play we want to be able to cover more than two positions. To illustrate, we know that we can go from the 6th degree position to the 7th degree position by using a number of different ways. The most basic way is to use what we learned from looping/pivoting. Now, what if we want to go a bit further? How could we do that? For example, lets say we wanted to go from the 6th degree position to the 1st degree position. 

In the following video, I’ll talk about range playing and show you how you can have fun playing over backing tracks.


Practice Session/Twitch

This week we do the F Major 3NPS with a twist. What if we loop the 3NPS positions only? 

Don’t talk just play. Let’s practice.

Tune in to twitch and practice live with me. We are gonna go through C, F, and Bb as a review and range play over a backing track. 

The Major Scale: Part 14: Pivoting and Linking

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Pivoting Positions

I’ve alluded to this idea of pivoting before but let me just review it again here to shed some light on some futher ideas. We ascend up the 7th degree position 3NPS until we get to the first string. At this point we descend into the 1st degree position 7BP until we reach the last note on the 6th string within the position. The example here is in Bb.

Pivoting example


Now, instead of continuing down back to the 7th degree position 3NPS using the 6th string, we can go back up the 1st position as a 7BP and then descend back into the 3NPS of the 7th degree position. Its similar to looping but not exactly.  It has more of a “V” shape repetitive pattern as opposed to the “O” circular pattern of looping.

Linking Positions (7BP & 3NPS)

Now when you establish this ablility to loop and pivot between each position you can then start to move up and down the neck systematically from one position to the next until you cover all the positions. Let me be clear: the benifit of this is that you cover both position types (7BP and 3NPS). I call this ‘linking”. Here’s an example of linking in the key of Bb (ascending only).

Bb Link Ascending the fretboard


By combining string shifting, looping, pivoting, and eventually linking, you will begin to open up the fretboard and start to see even more ideas on how to move and make the notes happen.

Practice Session

This week we do the F Major 3NPS. Don’t talk just play. Let’s practice. 


Twitch

Tune in to twitch and practice live with me. We are gonna go through C, F, and Bb and cover the 3NPs. 

The Major Scale: Part 13: Looping Positions

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We hinted last week that string shifting can sometimes look like a 3NPS. When we string shift using the second string it does indeed look this way. Take a look at last weeks sample in Bb. We moved from the 5th position to the 6th position using the 2nd string as a pathway (both positions being originally 7BPs).

String Shifting 002b

When we compare that ascending movement into the 6th Position you will seed that its the same position as that of the 5th position 3NPS.

String Shifting 002c

Looping Positions

The whole purpose of string shifting was to explore how we can navigate around the neck. You could say that when we want to stay in one part of the fretboard we can just use the 7BPs (this will be explored in a future article specifically about position playing).

Yet, if you were to ask yourself “is there a standardized way to move around the fretboard?”. I really don’t know. But, let me suggest a beginners first step in the right direction.

One basic approach to get us familiar to this idea of fretboard movement is to move between two positions. We talked about this last week with simple (yet complex) string shifting. 

A more basic way is to do something that I call “looping”. This involves the combination of using the 7BP and the 3NPS. Lets take a look on how we can do this.

So to make a loop we can use the fretboard and the key that we are working in as our guide. So, the first loop in the key of Bb is going from the 5th position to the 6th position. The starting position will always be a 3NPS. The second position will be a 7BP. We ascend the 3NPS into the 7BP. Then we descend into the 7BP. When we reach the 6th string in the 7BP, we just string shift back into the 3NPS position. If we do this continually we create a loop. 

Constructing a Loop: The rules

Lets apply the rules again to illustrate this by using the next two degree “markers” in the key of Bb: 6th and the 7th degree positions.

1. Pick two positions that are next to each other (6th and 7th degrees)

looping rule 01


2. Make the first position a 3NPS and the second one a 7BP.

looping rule 02


3. Ascend the 3NPS into the 7BP. Once you reach the first string descend into the 7BP until you reach the 6th string.

looping rule 03


4. Shift on the sixth string back into the begining of the 3NPS and repeat.

Looping positions in this way helps you to start seeing the fretboard in a more systematic way. By combining our knowledge of 7BP and 3NPS we can systematically go from one position to the next.

Summary

So, when we ascend to move to the next postion, we use the 3NPS to get into the next position. Then we descend into the new position which will be a 7BP. Once we get to the bottom of the 7BP we just slide back to the original starting position and start all over again. You can do this for each degree position.

Next week, we will review what pivoting is and how to use what we know to link the fretboard positions. Linking is where we put everything together to “lock” into total fretboard awareness.

 Next week is a big deal. Don’t hestitate and think about it too much.

Practice Session

This week its the C Major Loops. All positions. Don’t talk just play. Let’s practice.

C Major Scale Position Loops




The Major Scale: Part 12: String Shifting

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So what's the point of knowing these positions? Well, when we add the idea of “string shifting” you will see that its a way to start using more of the fretboard. Let’s explore how we can approach this and make this doable.  

String Shifting

How can we move from one position to the next? What are some things we can do? Well first of all you can just shift using the strings themselves. I call this string shifting. What is string shifting? String shifting is a way to move from one position to the next. Each string can be considered a pathway for you to guide yourself into or out of a different part of the neck/fretboard.

Let’s look at the following example in the key of Bb. In this example we are going to shift from the 5th position to the 6th position using the first string.

String Shifting 001

Shifting using the 1st string

So as you get to the first string you simply shift your left hand until you are in the next position. Look at how our 4th finger slides up and stays the same but our new fingering appears for the 6th position. As you can see, we then continue to descend into the new postion. We can do this which each string. In the following example we are shifting using the second string.

String Shifting 002

Shifting on the 2nd string

Instead of using an anchor point like the last example (the 4th finger) we just adjusted our left hand fingering to the new position automatically and continued until we reached the top of the new postion. So, we “entered" the new postion on the 2nd string this time. Again, each string can be considered as a “door way” to the next position. 

Further Ideas on String Shifting

Feel free to move back and forth restricting yourself to using one string as that doorway just to see what will happen and get a feel for what is going on. You can do a variation of movements like this. Instead of descending into the new position just descend back into the original position using the same “door way”. Or if you went up into the new postion using the 2nd string use the 3rd string to go back into the orignal position.  Mix and match different string pathways and have fun.

This again, shows why learning the 7BP fingerings are important. In order to make these types of movements on the fretboard you have to be familiar with them to begin with. Also, notice that this last example resembles a 3NPS type fingering. Do you see it? If not, no worries. We will explore this more next week.


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Practice Session

We covered the fingering postions for the keys of C and F. Let’s take a look at Bb shall we? Let’s practice.


Twitch

I’ll be on this Saturday March 11 at 10 PM. I’ll be going over the Key of C, F, and some fun with A minor pentatonics!




The Major Scale: Part 11: Learning the fretboard with 7BP’s and 3NPS

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This is the place to be if you ever wanted to learn the entire fretboard. We are going to bring together the previous discussions detailing the 7BP’s and show how you can use them along side the 3NPS positions to make the unknown known. Let’s unlock the fretboard.

Chunking Down 

To unlock the fretboard we have to break things down into smaller chunks. To take on too much information at once will cause hesitation and eventually that quiting attitude sinks in. We want to stay away from that. To accomplish this we can adopt this simple strategy of learning in smaller chunks. 

For our purposes, these smaller chunks are the left hand scale positions I call the Seven Basic Positions or 7BP. You can think of it as a place to start. If you have gotten this far you should be familiar with them already. But before I get into the physical way of doing this let me introduce you to some additional supplementary strategies that you can use.

Paper, Pencil, and Visualization

You can do this waiting for the bus, at the library, or where ever you have some free time. First, get your hands on some fretboard manuscript (these are visual depictions of the fretboard multiple times on a 8 x 11 inch paper). Start with the key of C and physically write out the letter note names on each string for the entire length of the fretboard.


Try to do this until it becomes really easy. If you do it one hundred times in the key of C I think its safe to say you will know the spelling of the scale. So if I had five fretboards per page and do 20 pages, it would equal 100 necks in the key of C. You can do 1 page a day easy. If you were to do this for every key you would be in a different class among guitar players. But you don’t have to.

Visualization and Notation

This is another variation of the paper and pencil. Instead of writting the letter note names, you will use notation. In the key of C, write out the major scale notes that appear on the 6th string. As you do this, mentally see where the note will appear on the neck. Hold that image in your head for about 2 to 5 seconds. Do this for each note on the 6th string. Take a break if you have to. Make sure to do this at least once for the key of C. The 6th string “E” is important for us because it is the bottom line for the basic navigation of the 7BP’s.

Music Theory: 7BP to 3NPS Conversions and Linking

This is a long one so take a seat and relax. You’ll figure out the three-note-per-string positions by converting the 7BPs. It’s simple. Let just take a look at how this is done. 


Why 3NPS... Economy Picking

3NPS allow a certain style of picking that follows a very strict pattern. Essentially, the pattern is as follows for each string and stays the same for each of the 3NPS positions:

3NPS picking pattern

Economy Picking Pattern

If you want the real deal on economy picking or SWEEP PICKING, you should stop now, and learn from the master himself (click on the link):

Frank Gambale 

Here you will find an extensive 10 hours course that covers everything you need to know about Frank Gambale’s right hand technique. It’s worth it.

Practice Session

Now that we know how to get the 3NPS let’s play them shall we? Let’s practice (Special Note: my concentration broke down near the end of the C Major 3NPS - for some reason I started to go into Eb).

Practice Session: C Major Scale Positions 3NPS


Guess what? I feel like doing F Major 3NPS.... let’s keep going. 

Practice Session: F Major Scale Positions 3NPS



The Major Scale: Part 10: Introduction to Position Playing with the 7BP's

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Music Theory: Practicing the 7BP's

You should now have an understanding of what the 7BP’s are. To repeat, they are the seven basic positions for the left hand that begins with the 1st finger. Each position starts on a degree of the major scale. Here are the 7BP’s that we have covered so far in the key of F major:

F Major 001

Tonic/1st Degree Position

F Major 002

2nd Degree Position

F Major 003

3rd Degree Position

F Major 004

4th Degree Position

F Major 005

5th Degree Position

F Major 006

6th Degree Position

F Major 007

7th Degree Position

Each of these position are presented here in order because we are in the key of F major. What would happen if we were in the key of C? Well, the lowest note on the 6th string that is closed is the note F. That’s why the 1st degree position starts on F. But, in the key of C, F is the 4th note in the scale. Meaning, its the 4th degree, and as a result the lowest left hand position in the key of C major is the 4th degree position. 

IMG 6736B908A2D1-1

C Major Scale: 4th Degree Position


Notice how the C major scale can occupy the same space as the F major scale. In fact, almost all the notes are the same except for the the Bb in the F major scale. There is no Bb note in the key of C. 

Position Playing with the 7BP's

So, to repeat, if we were to look at the fretboard from the perspective of F major, the lowest position you would see is the 1st degree position. If we switch gears and look at it from the C major perspective, you would find that the lowest position is the 4th degree position. Look at how the fretboard changes when we switch from C major to F major in the following example:

Position Playing C to F

Position playing with 7BPs: Key of C to the Key of F


This simple “switching” from one key to the next without moving out of the position is what position playing is (for the theoretical minded: you can think of this as a kind of voice leading for scales). The unwritten rule to follow is to be able to play/solo/improvise in one area of the fretboard. You’ll be able to carry motifs (musical ideas, riffs, licks etc) through the chord changes and adapt them if you have to. 

Make no mistake this is a hard thing to do and depending upon the key that you are going to you might have to shift a little. To illustrate this further, one way to handle this key change is to move the fingering until you match the tonic (remember they were identified by the letter T)  with the right letter. So, if you pay attention to the tonic in the C major 4th position and match them with the new tonic (F) you can see that you have to shift up a number of frets.

Shifting Positions Example

Shifting Positions From the Key of C to The Key of F

You can do this. There is nothing wrong with doing this. In fact, you might have to do it like this for a while until you get used to switching keys in the same area of the fretboard. The idea is that you have both approaches at your disposal. When you play music anything can happen and the more you have at your disposal the better.

Practice Sessions: C Major Scale Positions: 7BP 

We did the key of F so lets cover the key of C before we move on. I’ve picked up the pace and repetitions. Its time to practice.


Questions and Answers

Last weeks Q&A....

1. A _________ is a scale that is derived from the major scale.

mode

2. If you take any key and go to the 6th degree you will get the starting point of the relative __________ scale.

minor

3. The natural minor can also be called the _________ minor or ________ mode.

relative, aeolian

4. The natural minor scale sounds ______ when compared to its parent major scale.

sad

The Major Scale: Part 9: The 7th Degree Position

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Music Theory: F Major Scale: 7th Degree Position

Congratulations you’ve made it to the last of the 7BP’s. Watch the video below for a basic overview of the 7th degree position.


Questions and Answers

Fill in the blanks and get the answers next week...

1. A _________ is a scale that is derived from the major scale.

2. If you take any key and go to the 6th degree you will get the starting point of the relative __________ scale.

3. The natural minor can also be called the _________ minor or ________ mode.

4. The natural minor scale sounds ______ when compared to its parent major scale.


Practice Sessions: F Major Scale: 7BP

I know its been a little long in the tooth so lets get to it. I mentioned last week about this idea of pivoting/linking the positions but before we get to that we should go through a round of position practicing. But what does this mean exactly? Well, in this practice session we are going to go through each of the 7BP for the F major scale. 

Each position will be done 10 times each slow until all positions are covered. The objective here is to build some endurance and concentration. You don’t have to play all the way through. Take breaks when needed.

I think I broke my concentration at least 3 times if not more in this 40 minute session.

 How long can you go? What do you say? You feel like practicing? Let do it.


Twitch: Live Practicing and Q/A

You want to practice? You have questions? Well if you got nothing better to do then tune in on twitch. 

Saturday February 18th 2017
10 PM

Just click on the link below and follow along. 

https://www.twitch.tv/happystringpicker76

All the positions have been covered in the music theory videos from the Tonic/1st Degree to the 7th Degree Position. We’ve covered the F major scale so let’s cover the key of C major. This coming Live Practice Session will go through the following:

C Major

  • Tonic/1st Degree Position
  • 2nd Degree Position
  • 3rd Degree Position
  • 4th Degree Position
  • 5th Degree Position
  • 6th Degree Position
  • 7th Degree Position
  • Jam


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© John Culjak 2016-2017