Analysis Results

Introduction

The Scale Analyzer application provides the user with a substantial volume of information concerning how one might play various Scales on the standard tuned Resonator Guitar. This section presents a summary of that information. Because the standard tuning is a G chord, certain Keys will naturally be easier to use. The Keys have been grouped into Categories based on similarities of their Major Scales and how those Scales apply to the Resonator Guitar. A discussion of the characteristics of each Category is presented.

Each of the twelve Keys is also discussed individually as to it's strengths and weaknesses. The information is a summary of the findings of the Scale analysis so far. The discussion for the selected Key in the Analyzer Frame can be displayed in this window by clicking the "Key" link (label of the Key Selection Option).

All opinions expressed in this section are purely those of the Author based on limited experience and expertice.

Key Categories

The results of analyzing the Fretboard of the Resonator Guitar suggests that the Major Scales of the twelve Keys fall into four Categories:

These Categories represent a recommended prioritization of Major Scales to be learned for new players or experienced players that are expanding their approach. For serious players, Category I Keys should be a minimum set, and Categories II and III are recommended. The Keys in Category IV can make little or no eploitation of open Notes. If a player wishes to play in these Keys (without a capo), it is necessary to develop skill playing in Closed Positions. More detailed information about each Key Category is presented below.

Category I: The G Group

This Category includes the Keys of G, D, and C. It is recommended that one become very familiar with the Scales of each of these Keys. Then, with the use of a capo, all of the remaining 9 Keys are easily accessible.

G is the easiest Key on the standard tuned Resonator Guitar, because of the tuning. D and C are closely related to G, being the V and IV chords in the Key of G. The Scales for D and C each differ from the G Scale by only one Note. Use of the Open Position is easy for each of these Keys, especially for C which only spans the first three frets (versus 4 for G and D).

The Scale for each of these Keys contains all of the open Notes, which make them ideal for Melodic Technique. The Melodic Technique for G, D, and C only involve one Closed Move per octave. This allows many tunes to be played played without the need for any Closed Moves. These open Notes are very convenient for shifting from the Open to Closed Positions. Also, when playing in Closed Positions, open Notes can often be used to avoid some bar movement, where the player is not overtly using a Melodic Technique.

Category II: Key of A

The Key of A is in a cateory by itself on the stardard tuned Resonator Guitar, and is recommended for the serious player. A Major is relatively easy, with the primary difficulty being the need to avoid the open G Note. The most closely related Keys are D and E, but D Major has much more in common with the Key of G, and E is among the most difficult Keys.

The Scale for A contains the open B and D Notes, which allows use of Melodic Technique. The Melodic Technique for A requires 3 Closed Moves per octave. Many tunes in A can be simplified by inclusion of Melodic Moves, and the open Notes are convenient for shifting from the Open to Closed Positions. Also, when playing in Closed Positions, open Notes can often be used to avoid some bar movement, where the player is not overtly using a Melodic Technique.

Category III: The Bb Group

This Category includes the Keys of Bb, F, and Eb. For a player who would like to make limited use of a capo, it is recommended that one become familiar with the Scales of these Keys.

F and Eb are closely related to Bb, being the V and IV chords in the Key of Bb. The Scales for F and Eb each differ from the Bb Scale by only one Note. The Open Position is difficult but playable for each of these Keys, since each Scale only spans the first three frets, and there are two open Notes. The primary difficulty is the need to avoid the open B Note.

The Scale for each of these Keys contains the open G and D Notes, but use of Melodic Technique is awkward. The open Notes are helpful for playing in Open Position and for shifting from the Open to Closed Positions.

Category IV: The Closed Position Group

This Category includes the Keys of B, Db, E, F#,and Ab. Each of these Keys includes one open Note except Db, which includes none. The open Notes do not provide much advantage. Practicing Scales using the Open Position for these Keys is useful for strengthening ones playing. In practice, playing in these Keys is most effectively done by using Closed Positions, or by capoing to an easier Open Position.

Keys

In this section, a discussion for each of the twelve Keys is presented. Each discussion includes a rating of the difficulty of playing the Major Scale for the given Key, which will be one of the following: Easiest, Easy, Relatively Easy, Difficult, Very Difficult, and Most Difficult. These are meant only as a means of ranking, so no inference should be made from the choice of words (a 1-6 rating would have worked just as well). Reasons for the ratings are also presented.

For each Key, the six Modes (in other Keys) that draw from the Notes in its Major Scale are identified. These are linked to the appropriate section for discussion of the Mode, if they are recommended for use.

Also for each Key, recommended Modes of the Key are discussed, when such exist.

Key of A

A Major: Relatively Easy Key, Category II. The open B and D Notes are in the A Major Scale (2nd and 4th). When playing in the Open Position, the primary difficulty is the need to avoid the open G Note, and the 3 fret Closed Move between the 6th and 7th (F# - G#). When the 7th is not required, there is still the difficult sequence of the 5th - 6th - Root, which requires two consecutive Closed Moves. For melodies that do not require some of these moves or for which they can be left out, A is often easier to play in than G. For melodies that do not require the natural 7th, but use the minor 7th (7-), one might consider playing in A Mixolydian.

Inclusion of two open Notes in the Scale provides good opportunity for free Position shifting and Melodic style. Melodic Moves are played most conveniently from the IV- Position. Since the 2nd is the most difficult Note to play in Position IV-, and it is available as an open string, using Melodic style is fairly convenient.

The Notes in A Major: are the basis for B Dorian, Db Phrygian, Eb Lydian, E Mixolydian, F# Minor, and Ab Locrian.

Recommended Modes

Key of Bb

Bb Major: Difficult Key, Category III. The open G and D Notes are included in the Major Bb Scale (6th, and 3rd). Inclusion of these open Notes in the Scale provides opportunity for free Position shifting and Melodic style. Melodic Moves are played most conveniently from the IV- Position. However, this involves some fairly strenuous bar movement. This author has not (as yet) attempted to exploit what Melodic Bb has to offer. The Open Position is playable, with the primary difficulty being the need to avoid the open B Note.

The Notes in Bb Major are the basis for C Dorian, D Phrygian, Eb Lydian, F Mixolydian, G Minor, and A Locrian.

Key of B

B Major: Very difficult Key, Category IV. The open B Note (Root) is included in the Major B Scale (Root), but it offers little relief. Open Position is particularly awkward. Playing in B primarily involves Closed Moves.

The Notes in B Major are the basis for Db Dorian, Eb Phrygian, E Lydian, F# Mixolydian, Ab Minor, and A Locrian.

Recommended Modes

Key of C

C Major: Easy Key, Category I. All three open Notes are in the C Major Scale (2nd, 5th, and 7th). In the Open Position, C is arguably the easist Key, using all three open Notes, and spanning only 3 frets. Returning to the Root as a fretted Note (as opposed to an open Note as in the case of G or D) requires some adjustment.

Inclusion of all three open Notes in the Scale provides excellent opportunity for free Position shifting and Melodic style. Melodic Moves are played most conveniently from the I+ Position.

The Notes in C Major are the basis for D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian, G Mixolydian, A Minor, and B Locrian.

Key of Db

Db Major: Most difficult Key, Category IV. Db is the only Key that does not include any open Notes in its Major Scale. Thus, there is no Open Position, and playing in Db flat involves only Closed Moves.

The Notes in Db Major are the basis for Eb Dorian, F Phrygian, F# Lydian, Ab Mixolydian, Bb Minor, and C Locrian.

Key of D

D Major: Easy Key, Category I. All three open Notes are in the D Major Scale (Root, 4th, and 6th). The existence of the open Root provides advantages over all other Keys except G. The Open Position is very easy, involving only one Closed Move (2nd - 3rd).

Inclusion of all three open Notes in the Scale provides excellent opportunity for free Position shifting and Melodic style. Melodic Moves are played most conveniently from the I- Position.

The Notes in D Major are the basis for E Dorian, F# Phrygian, G Lydian, A Mixolydian, B Minor, and C# Locrian.

Recommended Modes

Key of Eb

Eb Major: Difficult Key, Category III. The open G and D Notes are included in the Eb Major Scale (3rd, and 7th). Inclusion of these open Notes in the Scale provides opportunity for free Position shifting and Melodic style. Melodic Moves are played most conveniently from the I+ Position. This author has not (as yet) attempted to exploit what Melodic Eb has to offer. The Open Position is playable, with the primary difficulty being the need to avoid the open B Note.

The Notes in Eb Major are the basis for F Dorian, G Phrygian, Ab Lydian, Bb Mixolydian, Db Minor, and E Locrian.

Key of E

E Major: Very difficult Key, Category IV. The open B Note (5th) is included in the E Major Scale (5th), but it offers little relief. Open Position is awkward. Playing in E flat primarily involves Closed Moves.

The Notes in E Major are the basis for F# Dorian, Ab Phrygian, A Lydian, B Mixolydian, Db Minor, and Eb Locrian.

Recommended Modes

Key of F

F Major: Difficult Key, Category III. The open G and D Notes are included in the F Major Scale (2nd, and 6th). Inclusion of these open Notes in the Scale provides opportunity for free Position shifting and Melodic style. Melodic Moves are played most conveniently from the IV+ Position. This author has not (as yet) attempted to exploit what Melodic F has to offer. The Open Position is playable, with the primary difficulty being the need to avoid the open B Note.

The Notes in F Major are the basis for G Dorian, A Phrygian, Bb Lydian, C Mixolydian, D Minor, and E Locrian.

Key of F#

F# Major: Very difficult Key, Category IV. The open B (4th) Note is included in the F# Major Scale (4th), but it offers little relief. Open Position is awkward. Playing in F# flat primarily involves Closed Moves.

The Notes in F# Major are the basis for Ab Dorian, Bb Phrygian, B Lydian, Db Mixolydian, Eb Minor, and F Locrian.

Key of G

G Major: Easiest Key, Category I. All three open Notes are in the G Major chord. The Open Position is very easy, involving only one Closed Move (6th - 7th).

Inclusion of all three open Notes in the Scale provides excellent opportunity for free Position shifting and Melodic style. Melodic Moves are played most conveniently from the V+ Position.

The Notes in G Major are the basis for A Dorian, B Phrygian, C Lydian, D Mixolydian, E Minor, and F# Locrian.

Recommended Modes

Key of Ab

Ab Major: Very difficult Key, Category IV. The open G Note (7th) is included in the Ab Major Scale (7th), but it offers little relief. Open Position is awkward. Playing in Ab flat primarily involves Closed Moves.

The Notes in Ab Major are the basis for Bb Dorian, C Phrygian, Db Lydian, Eb Mixolydian, Eb Minor, and F Locrian.