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2/11/2013

Guitar Scales Method - the way I learnt scales!

How I started

The fretboard of a guitar is a total mayhem of notes. It really is intimidating. 

I usually don't talk about myself and my experiences, but this time I'm making room for an exception. I confess I only found the guts to try to understand the fretboard after more than a year of playing memorized solos of great rock classics. And I didn't even know where to begin... It seemed like scales were a must to any serious solo guitar player. But what about the notes on the fretboard? Were they important too?

Of course I could compose solos and arrange chord progressions by ear. We all do that, right? But it was always a process of trial and error - blindly looking for notes that wouldn't sound out of tune throughout the solo, and memorizing the finger positions. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. At the same time, I was craving for something original, out of the ordinary, some ways to  "broke the rules" in a bold but tasteful way.... I didn't know the rules yet, though, so that was basically a waste of time.

I read about pentatonic scales all over the internet, as a way to know what notes to play with what chords. That seemed like exactly what I was looking for! I started practicing pentatonic scales, then. I was starting to find some logic on the way the fretboard is organized... but I had a lot of pieces missing. As far as I knew, a guitar player had to change the scale everytime the chord changed. I was astonished imagining how can Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton be so proficient at the guitar that they effortlessly changed the scale every two beats, or so. What a mess!

"There HAS to be another way", I thought. So I tried to understand how does all this thing work. I was trying at all costs to avoid learning deep music theory, as I felt that it was a total waste of effort and brain cells (lol). Eventually I had to give up... One needs to know at least some very basics to at least understand the musical jargon.

After trying to connect loose dots for quite some time, I found a program called Guitar Scales Method. The site of the software was a bit on the simple side, but it seemed honest. Even though it preached it would teach anyone to effortlessly solo on any key & any position on the fretboard, it also warned the users that it wouldn't take just 24 hours, or 2 weeks, or whatever many "miracle products" promise. That really caught my eye - I hardly believed this subject was straightforward enough to be mastered on a couple of hours. So I gave the program a shot.

Guitar Scales Method

The program is a mixture of e-book and drills pack. It teaches you the theory you need to know to understand the concepts, but not on a boring way. In fact, the lessons are very straightforward and concise - no useless info included. And it really has a work philosophy that makes sense... Basically, Marco Bramardi explains that there's a difference between complex and difficult: complex is made of several simple tasks interlinked, and difficult implies how hard the simple tasks are (something along these lines). Marco then claims learning the fretboard is complex, but not difficult, since all you have to do is learn the simple tasks one by one on a logic and organized way. 

The lessons page

The program does live up to its expectations. It breaks down the puzzle into scale patterns, scale modes, relationship between a scale and a chord, etc, etc... Then, it approaches each step with theory lessons and exercise drills for you to become confident with each concept. Finally, it brings several exercises together in one exercise, where you have to practice everything at the same time.

I became amazed as I progressed through the lessons. It really is possible to make sense out of the fretboard! Eventually, I understood what were pentatonic scales after all, and how to use them.

The drills page & chart

Learning to understand the fretboard needs a fair bit of commitment. But it really is not difficult, especially when taught the way the Guitar Scales Method teaches. And even though it is perfectly suited for beginners, it's also capable of teaching advanced guitar players a thing or two. I think many people don't really know the relationship between major and pentatonic scales, and when/why to use one or the other. Besides that, the program teaches you the principles of the blues scale, and the difference between modality and tonality (which really is some advanced stuff).

It's all there! It starts from notes, then explains what scales are and how they are built, then the different scales, the concept of modes, chord types and construction and chord inversions. As soon as you've read this, you're completely ready to start practicing the drills. All those theory lessons put together wouldn't stack  up to more than 10 A4 pages. Not because it's shallow, believe me. All you need to know is there.

While you practice, you can keep reading further theory lessons, learning the concept of parent scales, tonal center, scale degrees, extended chords, the famous pentatonic scales, the difference between modality and tonality, the blues scale, chromatic improvisation...

If you master all those concepts, you will be a very, very good guitar player. That's for sure. I believe the Guitar Scales Method is the teaching method that makes this "journey" as bearable and as simple as it gets.
Marco Bramardi even challenges everybody to show him a more effective way to learn this. I believe no one would be able to; I haven't found any, and I searched a lot.

The bottomline is I really recommend you Guitar Scales Method. It's the best guitar theory software I have found. Period. 

1 comment:




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