Essential scales - arpeggios

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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Nick Payne
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Re: Essential scales - arpeggios

Post by Nick Payne » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:51 pm

See viewtopic.php?f=6&t=36989 for a recommendation on scale and arpeggio books. I have those same books and would recommend them also.

david035_guitarist

Re: Essential scales - arpeggios

Post by david035_guitarist » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:26 pm

I don't mind playing scales and arpeggios with a metronome. I use different rhythms to make it interesting for me, but what I'm trying to achieve whilst warming up with scales is a lightness of touch with my left hand. The lighter the better, and I find scales are simple, easy to play on auto pilot whilst concentrating on how it feels to every muscle in my hand, wrist, forearm, shoulders, trying to relax each muscle as much as possible while I'm playing.

Eventually, after hours of practice every day, you stop wrestling with your instrument and it feels lovely to simply move your fingers without effort. Then you can really get on with enjoying the music, phrasing and shaping it. I think playing scales and arpeggios with a metronome really helped me achieved a greater technical facility.

Scales are a tool, and just to play them blindly without trying to achieve something, whether that's technically or musically, is a waste. Practice with intent, and scales can be useful and interesting at the same time.

davekingonline

Re: Essential scales - arpeggios

Post by davekingonline » Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:58 pm

Paul:
(1) Major Scale in 12 keys (2) R 3 5 7 Arpegios of the Major Scales (3) Modes of the Major Scales which are the same notes but with a different root (4) Major 7th, Minor 7th, Do,inant 7th and Minor 7th b5 Arpegios which are basically R 3 5 7 of the 7 modes. After this, you can progress to other scales, Diminished, Whole Tone, Melodic Minor and Harmonic Minor. It shouldn't take that long to cover these and you'll notice the sounds better as you work on various classical pieces.

Jeremiah Lawson
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Re: Essential scales - arpeggios

Post by Jeremiah Lawson » Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:46 pm

I used to practice scales for anywhere between two to three hours a day in my later teens. My family found the whole period profoundly aggravating but I was having a blast. I didn't study scales academically and I wasn't even playing classical guitar repertoire at the time. The reason I spent hours on scales was simple, I realized that if I wanted to master being able to improvise in every possible mode and scale I needed mastery of the fretboard and that was why practicing scales for hours was fun. Yes, I said it. I admit I don't play scales now because I am not really performing much.

Something people have mentioned here a few times is your musical goals will dictate why you go through scales. Performers have reasons to keep attending to scales on at least a weekly basis or a daily basis. For those of us who tend to compose scales may not need as much consistent attention but they are still good to play once in a while. Sometimes I think the reason non-guitarists have written so much great music for the guitar is because they can take scales and the possibilities of the fretboard more seriously than many actual guitarists.

One last suggestion about scales and practice is that you should consider practicing scales in more than one tuning. If you use drop D tuning, for instance, practice your scales in that tuning. This may seem even more pointless than practicing all your scales in standard tuning (if you're not into scales) but mastery of the instrument at some point calls for being able to fluently handle scales in unusual tunings. Slide guitarists can handle scales in open G and open E tunings, for instance. There are also guitars that don't employ standard tuning and for those instruments mastery of scales across a variety of tunings is a prerequisite to playing any repertoire. If you're not looking to play pieces in unusual tunings this won't be necessary but it's something to consider. You never know when a piece you fall in love with turns out to have been written for a 7-string guitar and you may have no choice but to adapt that work as best you can to standard tuning.

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Essential scales - arpeggios

Post by Larry McDonald » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:36 am

Hi,
WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:Performers have reasons to keep attending to scales on at least a weekly basis or a daily basis. For those of us who tend to compose scales may not need as much consistent attention but they are still good to play once in a while. Sometimes I think the reason non-guitarists have written so much great music for the guitar is because they can take scales and the possibilities of the fretboard more seriously than many actual guitarists.
Just to take a contrarian view, there are some concert artists who don't regularly practice scales. There are those who believe that practicing scales and exercises has diminishing returns, after achieving the advanced levels. There are even a few of our best who have never practice scales. We had a thread on this sometime ago -that heated up quite nicely.

All the best,
Larry McDonald

Jeremiah Lawson
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Re: Essential scales - arpeggios

Post by Jeremiah Lawson » Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:43 am

I actually agree. The goals of practicing scales supercede simply practicing scales. I haven't practiced scales in fifteen years because I was aiming for conceptual mastery of the fretboard, not acquiring speed or anything like that. Often advocacy for scales can happen without attending to the reasons scales would be pursued. A composer who plays guitar may have very different objectives than a performing in practicing scales and different performers will have different goals in practicing scales, too. I gave my example of scales in scordatura because even though I am playing some ideas through in open G for a slide guitar piece the piece itself is actually in A minor. Altered tunings don't always limit you to the "base" key implied by the tuning.

Trentino
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Re: Essential scales - arpeggios

Post by Trentino » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:26 am

JohnRoss wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:27 pm
Paul Hammer wrote:Are there 4-5 scales/arpeggios one could do to really improve one's playing? Or, is is best to slog through all of them.
If you slog through them, you probably won't get much benefit from them. The idea is to make music - scales are tunes, and uncomplicated ones in melodic terms, so making them musical should theoretically be a breeze. Learners don't find this the case, of course, because they don't think of scales in terms of music but as exercises they need to do, hence all the (bad) advice you are being given to not practise scales at all.

Of course, to make music you need to dominate the mechanics, first, and in that sense it is so much which scales you do that matters, as how you do them. Denian Arcoleo had a highly illuminating post a few weeks ago in which he talked about note preparation (I can't find it, but I remember it being so lucid I thought he must have been annoyed at the time). Anyway, since then I have approached my own scales in a different way. Specifically - don't play any note until your mind and your fingers (both hands) are ready to play at least the following note. If the two notes are on different strings, this is straightforward. If the coming note is ascending on the same string, make sure the required LH finger is available and over the fret. If it is descending on the same string, fret it, it's less to think about when the time comes to actually play the note. The scale thus becomes almost a series of two-note chords (the important exception to this is position shifts, which makes it even more crucial that these are perfectly executed).
Once I adopted the approach outlined in John's post I found that practising scales and arpeggios more useful/ rewarding . Since I like to spend sometime every day ' doodling' on my guitar ( I wont call it composing') playing around with scales and arpeggios etc is very rewarding and pleasurable and useful.

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