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Why learn scales?

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Why learn scales?

Post  zsquad on Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:35 am

I have been teaching myself how to play bass for about a year now, and I was considering getting more into scales and theory. What ate the actual benefits of knowing scales? How do they help/how would they help in the future once I get better?

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Re: Why learn scales?

Post  MetalJacob on Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:59 am

Scales are almost everything. Songs are made in a key and to get that key you need to know scales. To write your own music you don't necessarily need to know scales if you are just absolutely amazing and playing by ear and know what will sound good, but it is probably one of the main things you need to learn. I don't know how good you are at bass but to play with other people, knowing keys/scales makes things a hell of a lot easier.

Anyways, I'm sure Smax will give you a way better answer. Razz

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Re: Why learn scales?

Post  zsquad on Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:15 am

How would knowledge of scales help me play with other people?

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Re: Why learn scales?

Post  SuperMaximo93 on Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:31 am

zsquad wrote:How would knowledge of scales help me play with other people?
Well, what if someone asks, "Hey, lets have a jam in the key of G minor!" ? What are you going to do?

Basically music theory (which includes scales) is a way of explaining why music sounds good. And it works in reverse. You can use that theory to make good music with less effort. Different scales have different feels and moods, so if you wanted to make a happy song for example then you could use the major scale for instance (although there are more happy sounding scales). There's also other weird and wonderful scales out there that give more unconventional feels. Once my main band did a jam with the Arabic scale. Using theory we worked out all the chords we could play in that key as well. And it sounded sooo cool Smile It was basically acid jazz with a really interesting Arabic flavour to it, it was awesome

With certain types of music knowing scales, chords, etc. is a must. I play in a jazz band and if I didn't know what all the different chords and are then I'd be utterly screwed.

And I bet you that all of your favourite songs have some theory and a pattern behind them, even if the original artist knew nothing about music theory. Plus it helps with working out songs so much. Once you work out what key the song is in, you know that the song probably won't deviate from the set of notes in the key, which potentially cuts the 12 notes that they could have used down to 7. Also you'll start to recognise certain sounds in relation to other notes if you keep practising your scales which makes the process even faster!

Check out for some good info:
http://www.studybass.com/

Hope this helps Smile

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Re: Why learn scales?

Post  Pippynip on Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:29 pm

Also playing all the notes in any given scale up and down is good practice.

...Most everything that can be said about scales has now been said Razz

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Re: Why learn scales?

Post  ThreeLetterSyndrom on Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:11 pm

Be aware that you don't let your knowledge of theory restrict you in your playing. If something sounds good, it sounds good, even though it might not fit into theory. Wink

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