Orville Johnson takes a look at scales in part 2 of his practical theory mini-series.
Taught by Orville Johnson in Beginner Acoustic with Orville seriesLength: 18:40Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Being a beginner guitar player, the huge number of different scales that can be played might be overwhelming. In this lesson Orville Johnson explains how to memorize scales in an easy, manageable way.
The chromatic scale is made up of all twelve notes that are in an octave. Every other scale is just a pattern of different kinds of intervals in this twelve note range. A scale’s pattern remains the same in any key, so the number of scales you need to memorize is already much smaller than it may initially seem.
Half Step (H) – A musical interval equivalent to one fret on the guitar.
Whole Step (W) – A musical interval equivalent to two frets on the guitar.
The most important scale to know in western music is the major scale.
The pattern of half/whole steps for the major scale is: W W H W W W H.
This can be observed in the C Major scale as : C (W) D (W) E (H) F (W) G (W) A (W) B (H) C.
Now you can play a major scale in any key, even if you don’t know the name of the note you are starting on.Scene 2: Naming Notes
You can easily find the name of any note on the fretboard of your guitar by counting up from the letter name of the open string. Just count up fret by fret remembering these rules:
- When you go up one fret, it is a half step.
- A half step up from a natural note (not sharp or flat) is an “in-between note” that has the same letter name but is sharp (#). Alternatively, it has the next note’s letter name but is flat (b).
- A half step up from an in-between note is another natural note.
- There is no note between B and C or E and F.
You will notice that for most notes on a guitar, there are several different frets that make the exact same note across different strings. A good exercise to help you learn your way around the fretboard is to pick a note and then find the same note on a different string.
You can think of any other scale in western music relative to the major scale by changing the intervals.
A minor scale can be made from the major scale by lowering the 3rd note one half step (minor 3rd).Here are two different minor scales that Orville demonstrates, relative to the major scale:
1 2 b3 4 5 6 7
1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7
Discover the essentials with Orville Johnson by learning some of the most popular topics and techniques in beginner guitar.
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Orville dives into part 1 of his beginners' guide to practical theory. In this lesson, you will learn the basics of intervals.Length: 17:30 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Orville Johnson takes a look at scales in part 2 of his practical theory mini-series.Length: 18:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
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Orville Johnson introduces open D tuning and encourages exploration of its possibilities. This tuning is great for a broad range of playing styles.Length: 24:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
This time, Orville Johnson introduces open G tuning. This tuning is great for a broad range of playing styles and sounds pretty without even fingering a chord.Length: 21:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
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Orville introduces basic techniques that can be used to play lead guitar. This lesson includes a primer on hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends and harmonics.Length: 22:14 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Orville dispenses a lifetime of accrued wisdom on the subject of practicing and learning. This lesson is only 16 minutes long, and it will not only change how you learn the guitar, but can also be applied...Length: 16:38 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
This lesson is all about creating different types of chords. This does steer the lesson towards music theory, but the information is invaluable and infinitely applicable.Length: 23:05 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
About Orville Johnson
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Orville Johnson was born in 1953 in Edwardsville, Illinois and came up on the St. Louis, Missouri music scene, where he was exposed to and participated in a variety of blues, bluegrass and American roots music. He began singing in his Pentecostal church as a young boy, in rock bands in middle school, then took up the guitar at 17,with early influences from Doc Watson, Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Chuck Berry. In the early 1970's, Orville spent several seasons playing bluegrass on the SS Julia Belle Swain, a period-piece Mississippi river steamboat plying the inland waterways, with his group the Steamboat Ramblers.
Orville moved to Seattle, Washington in 1978, where he was a founding member of the much-loved and well-remembered folk/rock group, the Dynamic Logs. Other musical associates include Laura Love, Ranch Romance, File' Gumbo Zydeco Band, Scott Law, and the Twirling Mickeys. Johnson, known for his dobro and slide guitar stylings and vocal acrobatics, has played on over 100 albums. He has appeared on Garrison Keilor's Prairie Home Companion, Jay Leno's Tonight Show and was featured in the 1997 film Georgia with Mare Winningham. His musical expertise can also be heard on the Microsoft CD-ROMs, Musical Instruments of the World and the Complete Encyclopedia of Baseball. He teaches as well at the International Guitar Seminar, Pt. Townsend Country Blues Week and Puget Sound Guitar Workshop.
Orville released 4 recordings in the 1990's: The World According to Orville (1990) Blueprint for the Blues (1998) Slide & Joy (1999) an all-instrumental dobro tour de force and Kings of Mongrel Folk (1997) with Mark Graham. He also appeared on 4 discs with the File' Gumbo Zydeco Band and produced Whose World Is This (1997) for Jim Page and Inner Life (1999) for Mark Graham. In the 21st century, he has released Freehand, a new Kings of Mongrel Folk disc, Still Goin' Strong, and been featured in the soundtracks of PBS' Frontier House and the Peter Fonda flick The Wooly Boys as well as the compilation cd Legends of the Incredible Lap Steel Guitar.
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