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TOPIC: Scales

Scales 1 year 8 months ago #2883

  • Lithy
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My son, who is a very good guitarist, was explaining to me that I must learn scales and to practice them everyday to become more proficient on the harmonica.

Any comments on this subject?


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Scales 1 year 8 months ago #2884

  • Crawforde
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I've been told the same thing, and every book I've looked in has them.
One person told me just play and pick the scales up as you go. Others say play scales and learn the chords, do exercises...
I am new on this journey too. But do want to be able to play some of the nice old melodies and be able to improvise on them a bit. There just isn't enough time available to practice and play...
I've decided I'm going to just play a few songs that I like. As soon as I know them inside out I hope to be able to then play them in different keys.
For now I've just been cheating and using tabs for playing tunes.
Reading music and learning some theory are on my to do list too.
I have some decent materials, some as Pdf files.
I'll look around and see what I have and if there is a place to post them here I will.
Yvonnic Prene has a couple of books out of Jazz exercises and scales for the Chromatic harmonica that are supposed to be good.
Hal Leonard has a Jazz Standards book for chromatic, Gallison plays the tracks and it is supposed to be excellent. I think I might buy that one.
Last Edit: 1 year 8 months ago by Crawforde. Reason: Remembered an author
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Scales 1 year 8 months ago #2887

  • AndyT
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Scales my seem a waste of time at some point, but it's a good idea.

I've not paid too much attention to them beyond war, up exercises, but I saw the benefit over Christmas when a friend of my wife came over to jam on guitar, me on nylon string, him on steel. I tend to play classical guitar, he played jazz. So we just goofed around on a couple of chords, while he went wild using scale notes. Really tuned me into the benefits of what you can do just by knowing which notes fit in with the scale.

One of the best things scales do is tune your ears, so you can tell which note harmonises with another. Simply knowing the three key notes in a chord can help improvisation. In blues that's I. IV and V, in pop, I III & V, in jazz, II, IV, & I, I think. Then add a VIIth for some more detailed.

Trouble is it gets boring after a while so I tend to mix and match. But we should all work on scales as a long term goal.

On the harmonica it can improve speed etc.

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Scales 1 year 8 months ago #2895

  • Marcy
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Hey Lithy, I don’t practice scales as much as I should, but I do see the logic in it especially on the harmonica where scales change patterns over the three octaves. What I see recommended a lot, are patterns of notes up and down the scale. This is pretty useful because it gets you playing in rhythm and develops some ideas for licks. Here’s a really good exercise from Lee Sankey. I’ve been working on this one along with patterns over the pentatonic scales. Hope the video turns out to be as useful to you as it was to me…

Of course, those fiddle tunes you’re interested in learning are also good practice in scales. They just arrange the notes in a fun and musical way.
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Scales 1 year 8 months ago #2897

  • jeremyh
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That's going to be a challenge, great exercise when I can bend decently.
Last Edit: 1 year 8 months ago by jeremyh.
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Scales 1 year 8 months ago #2899

  • Dexer
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For me, the big benefit of scales is developing the skill of positioning your mouth for the correct sound.

Getting clean, single notes is considered the fundamental building block of harmonica proficiency. Moving your mouth and tongue up and down the harmonica for extended periods is an excellent way to develop a sense of hole spacing and hitting single notes. As I am now trying to learn the tremolo, I'm rediscovering the need for practising scales. The tremolo presents the mouth with an unbroken grid of holes. Learning to hit single notes requires a significant amount of practise. So I'm back to doing scales on a daily basis.
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