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Oct 13, 2014 - 10:00:56 PM
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212 posts since 10/11/2008

A very informative thread as well as interesting, to boot. Glad I found it.

Just to add my two cents concerning scales, keep in mind that accent (or emphasis) has about as much impact on the overall tune, no matter the scale.

Example:

The tune "Garry Owen", General Custer's fight song and a well liked Irish ditty, starts with a complete diatonic scale (do, re, me, ...etc.) in reverse (do, ti, la, so, ...etc.). But unless accented properly the tune doesn't come through very well. Timing has to be there, also, but accent really drives it home.

The reason I know this is because I wrote a song that starts exactly the same way, yet because of the differing accented notes, with only slightly differing timing, they sound very dissimilar.

Something to keep in mind when "running scales": it's not only the note you hit, but how hard you hit it, too.

Nov 29, 2015 - 11:08:09 PM

6446 posts since 8/31/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Banjosephus
 

A very informative thread as well as interesting, to boot. Glad I found it.

Just to add my two cents concerning scales, keep in mind that accent (or emphasis) has about as much impact on the overall tune, no matter the scale.

Example:

The tune "Garry Owen", General Custer's fight song and a well liked Irish ditty, starts with a complete diatonic scale (do, re, me, ...etc.) in reverse (do, ti, la, so, ...etc.). But unless accented properly the tune doesn't come through very well. Timing has to be there, also, but accent really drives it home.

The reason I know this is because I wrote a song that starts exactly the same way, yet because of the differing accented notes, with only slightly differing timing, they sound very dissimilar.

Something to keep in mind when "running scales": it's not only the note you hit, but how hard you hit it, too.


Well, scales, modes, taste, tone, phrasing, yes, phrasing, and timing ... I was in a studio recording a bunch of tunes ... and time is money. I was doing guide tracks, and I got a piece of it, but I learned from that experience.

I do guide tracks differently today, but there's nothing like live playing, warts and all!

Garryowen

​Beir bua agus beannacht ~Tom

Apr 14, 2016 - 12:03:13 PM

7 posts since 4/14/2016

Hi!

I just found this threat as I was looking around for a "all on one page" g tuning 5 string banjo chord diagram. There are so many where only most common chords are shown,

and I found one but thats for another tuning. Can someone help me out with a diagram for a open G 5 sting please?

Here youll see what I have found so far, but as stated thats wrong tuning.

 

I hope this question is in the right threat, i tried the search but didnt find a diagram on the first 50 findings.

 

Thanks so much!

 

best regards

 

chris

Apr 14, 2016 - 1:10:51 PM

3425 posts since 4/19/2008

Apr 21, 2016 - 8:41 AM

7 posts since 4/14/2016

Thats awesome! Exactly what I needed =)

 

THANKS MATE!

Oct 17, 2017 - 7:28:57 AM
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Greg Denton

Canada

110 posts since 10/5/2014

Scales are fundamental. Out of them, melodies are formed, chords and chord progressions are constructed. Integral to scales are intervals (the distance between two notes). Scales are simple patterns of intervals. And scales are generally way simpler to understand and use than is often thought. How has a pattern of 7 (or 5) notes become so daunting? 26 letters in the alphabet doesn't scare anyone. But 7 of them applied to music seems to incite horror. (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) - eek!

It is possible to recognize patterns of sound without naming them, to recognize relationships of sound melodically, harmonically, and rythmically - and that IS the goal, really. When you speak, you don't stop to consider what letters of the alphabet you're going to use, the sounds they produce, how to form the sounds with your vocal chords, your tongue, your lips, your teeth, how much air to expel, when to take a breath, the rules of grammar and punctuation. But you do all that because you've learned that through listening, trial and error, experience. You don't stop to consider it, but you DO make use of that knowledge. So even if you have learned to play music by playing music (which means profound listening, imitation, and translating sound to finger movements and patterns on your instrument through lots of experience) you are still USING scales whether you know them or not. If you haven't spent your lifetime doing that already, then actually studying scales is a fine shortcut to understanding and literacy. It isn't hard - and a little goes such a long way.

On your banjo you can play a major scale by starting on any note, the next note is 2 frets higher, then 2 frets, then 1 fret, then 2, then 2, then 2, then 1 - and you've arrived at the same note you started on 12 frets higher. You can remember the pattern like a telephone number (221-2221). If you know the pattern you can play the scale in any key. If you can play a melody that uses the 7 notes from the major scale pattern (and that's really MOST of the melodies out there - 7 meager notes!) and you become familiar with the PATTERN of notes and where to find them, than you can play that melody in any key anywhere on your fingerboard. It's just ONE pattern! (And all the other scales can be defined by their relationship to and variation from the major scale). I watched a video recently where Alan Munde explained "The secret to walking on water is to know where the rocks are". Scales tell you where the rocks are.

The goal is to recognize sound patterns and to fluently translate them to finger movements and patterns on your fretboard. Studying scales gives you that.

Jul 30, 2018 - 6:33:48 AM
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3186 posts since 2/10/2013

In my case, learning scales opened the door for learning other things. I didn't memorize scales, I learned how major scales were constructed. After learning scales, it was easy to learn basic chord theory. The more music theory I learned, the more I understood what I was doing, and how to use the knowledge. If you understand how things work, you don't have to memorize everything. With knowledge you can figure some things out for yourself.
So don't just memorize the scale. Learn how major scales are constructed. Then using what you just learned, figure out how each major key is constructed. Why does the key of "A" require 3 sharps ? Also learn how minor keys are constructed, and figure out some of the more commonly used minor scales like Em, Dm, and Bm.

IMHO it is important to understand how and why things are done. So if you do something in one key, you can often adapt what you learned and UNDERSTOOD to other keys. You can take licks you learned on the guitar and/or fiddle and adapt some of them to the banjo. In Tony Trishka's "Melodic Banjo" book Bobby Thompson talks about learning material from studio musicians who played other instrument, and using it to create banjo licks.

I use standard notation and practice scales for fiddle and guitar. For "Scruggs" style on the banjo, I use tab. That is because the standard banjo tuning is not set up chromatically, and "Scruggs" style is primarily based on chordal structures. But for melodic banjo, knowing scales is very important. Practicing scales helps a player become more familiar with the fingerboard, and practicing scales can improve noting hand dexterity for both melodic and single string banjo playing.

Aug 3, 2018 - 6:53:47 AM

3 posts since 8/3/2018

Scales are everything. And knowing where every note in on the banjo. Then sight reading :-)

Aug 3, 2018 - 10:10:45 AM
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

42674 posts since 3/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by MorningsideSchoolofMusic

Scales are everything. And knowing where every note in on the banjo. Then sight reading :-)


Sight reading in banjo playing? I think banjo playing is more to use your ears than your reading eyes.

Aug 3, 2018 - 12:55:17 PM
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10526 posts since 8/28/2013

quote:
Originally posted by janolov
quote:
Originally posted by MorningsideSchoolofMusic

Scales are everything. And knowing where every note in on the banjo. Then sight reading :-)


Sight reading in banjo playing? I think banjo playing is more to use your ears than your reading eyes.


Sight reading is a very valuable skill, especially if your preference is for classic style banjo or for the various four string varieties. There's a lot of music for those which has never been printed in TAB. If you don't know scales and the positions of all notes (or at least the sounds) on the banjo, even your ears will have trouble finding the right notes quickly enough to play proficiently.

Aug 4, 2018 - 2:40:58 AM
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

42674 posts since 3/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie
Sight reading is a very valuable skill, especially if your preference is for classic style banjo or for the various four string varieties. There's a lot of music for those which has never been printed in TAB. If you don't know scales and the positions of all notes (or at least the sounds) on the banjo, even your ears will have trouble finding the right notes quickly enough to play proficiently.

But out there there are still more banjo tunes that have neither been tabbed or notated. Then the only way to learn is use the ear.

Aug 4, 2018 - 8:20:39 AM
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10526 posts since 8/28/2013

I am not disputing that. I am merely stating how valuable a skill sight reading and knowing the notes on the fretboard can be. 

Ear training is also quite useful, but it doesn't help much without a general knowledge of where the sounds a person hears can be found on the banjo, or if the person you are playing with says "B7" and you don't know what chord form to play and have to find it before he calls for an Eminor.

Sep 10, 2018 - 10:18:37 PM

4 posts since 9/10/2018

Thanks for sharing 

Sep 11, 2018 - 8:14:36 AM

3186 posts since 2/10/2013

I play fiddle as well as banjo. When I play a fiddle tune melodically on the banjo, my mind sometime says "You are missing things". The fiddle version note progression is more complex than the melodic banjo version. I could be wrong on this, but I think that standard tuning on the banjo makes playing chromatically more difficult.

By "things" i mean note progressions, not ornamentation like slurs or using different bowing techniques.

Apr 13, 2019 - 10:22:02 AM

3 posts since 4/13/2019

Start by targeting the notes that are the basis of the key the song is in. For instance, if you’re playing in the key of G Major, playing the G Major scale in different positions on the neck is fun, so you target the note G in different spots on the neck. It is like connecting the dots. Now move the scale up a whole step to the fifth position on the neck but still target the note G. This is a good idea as it frees you up to improvise.

Jun 3, 2019 - 7:47:56 AM

79434 posts since 5/9/2007

I learn fiddle tunes from a mixture of listening to the fiddler and reading tabs.
When the fiddler says I have it learned I move on to the next tune.
Each tune learned adds to my library of choices when improvising.

Jun 9, 2019 - 1:50:12 PM

mbrin

USA

99 posts since 7/7/2012

This is a great thread. Are there any specific tips on learning scales on Plectrum CGBD tuning? Thanks.

Aug 23, 2019 - 8:58:14 PM
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115 posts since 8/20/2019

(See attached video) ... A portion of my practice every day is picking any two strings on the banjo, and then moving up and down a scale, whether it be major, minor, blues, etc. I'll pick two different strings and do the same thing, moving up and down the scale, while playing the scale on one string and alternating the other string on a 3rd above that scale, making the two strings in harmony as I move up and down.

This exercise makes me very comfortable with the entire neck, and it builds dexterity in the fingers.
By practicing this scale exercise, I can play in a group or jam, take an impromptu break or backup, just by playing these scales.

Hope this helps, I'm not a pro, but this is something that helps make me smoother when playing, and not having to think about what I'm going to do. I didn't have other banjo players to show me what to do, just lots of fiddle players, and those guys were some very good teachers when it came to scales.

Nov 8, 2019 - 9:26:04 AM

3 posts since 11/8/2019

Very interesting to see the theory of scales under the epoch of view of the banjo

Nov 17, 2019 - 10:36:02 PM

4 posts since 11/17/2019

For what it's worth...I'm mainly an accordion player but learning banjo and for piano / chromatic accordion I am eternally grateful to my parents for bribing me / coercing me to learn my scales as a child. All those hours learning scales have made learning pretty much anything else relatively simple because i don't have to think about what my fingers are doing.

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