The story behind the Birth of ScaleViz

The story behind the Birth of ScaleViz
5th Apr 2012 Shane

Hello my name is Shane Hogan and I am the developer of ScaleViz, a Guitar Fret Board Shape trainer & Theory App, available for iOS.

I thought I would share with you, how a lifetime obsession with the guitar fretboard led to my App, ScaleViz, of which I am very proud.

Many times in my life I have had no guitar to speak of, other activities, like computers completely over took my life, eventually leading to a job with a well known printing firm, who have long been relocated; however, even though there were many periods in my life where I had no guitar, I would still study Music Theory and how it related to the guitar fretboard, I used to draw fretboard diagrams on paper and meticulously map out all the dots, so I could study where the notes were,  I just knew there was a puzzle there, and I was going to solve it, if it killed me.

So where did this obsession come from? Well, I shall tell you, I passed my grade three Classical when I was twelve, that was in the summer of 1980, my music tutor was Miss Susan Ann Blears, she was an excellent teacher and showed me how to read music, and was responsible for me passing my Grade 3, to be honest I used to fancy her rotten and would look forward to going for lessons, I’ll never forget the way she used to tune a guitar, she would pluck the harmonic with her right hand, as you do, but then she would reach over with the same hand to adjust the tuning heads, and her left hand would stay perfectly poised over the next harmonic at the 12th fret, I was amazed at the length and dexterity of her fingers, come on, I was a hormonal teenager.


Shortly after passing my grade three I stopped going to classical lessons as my parents bought me an electric guitar and I knew enough to start teaching myself, my first guitar was a black Les Paul Copy with, thick white trim all around the edges, although, other than the colour, the only other thing I remember about it, was that it was very heavy and used to make my shoulders sore, because of the cheap strap digging into me, still no pain no gain, I’d love to know what happened that old thing.

Anyway due to unforeseen circumstances I never owned a guitar again from the age of 15 to 19, but this is where the story behind the concept for ScaleViz really starts…

I now had a cherry red Japanese Strat, with a Floyd rose trem fitted, purchased from Sidney Parsons, of Harrow Music, this beautiful guitar would eventually have a Seymour Duncan Screamin Demon humbucker fitted to the bridge, frets filed till they were nonexistent and the action lowered so far, you would be hard pressed to get a cigarette paper between the strings and the frets.

However, even though I had this sexy custom Jap strat, I was getting frustrated as I had now come to a complete halt with my playing, I was big time stuck in a rut, or so we like to say in guitar speak. So I decided it was time to have my first Electric Guitar lesson, and what my guitar tutor told me that day, started my journey to solve a riddle that would haunt me for years.

By the way I now have a Black Strat, A Black Tele & a hand made Crafter nylon string cut away semi-acoustic which I play most, although don’t tell, I love my Telecaster the most, she makes some awesome sounds… I Digress…

My Electric Guitar Tutors name was Chris Lofthouse, and it was our very first lesson that triggered something in my brain which opened my eyes to Music Theory and how it relates to the guitar Fretboard, Chris invited me in and we had a chat about my playing background and I told him I was stuck in a rut, and he said to me “do you know anything about music theory?”, I said “no, not really”.

Chris, proceeded to grab a pen and a small green sticky type note pad, and he showed me the chromatic scale, he then showed me the major scale formula, TTSTTTS and how I could work out any major scale from the chromatic scale using this formula, he then showed me how to harmonize the resultant scale to create chords, and all of this was from memory, he never referenced a book or any notes, even when he drew out all of the major, minor and pentatonic patterns on a few of the notepad sheets, some of which I still have, I was fascinated, that was impressive and I wanted to be able to do that, in fact impressed is an understatement, I was absolutely blown away, I hung on to every word he said and when I got home I got out some paper and started working out the keys for myself, following everything he had taught me, this is where my obsession for Music Theory started and I would like to thank Chris, who is an excellent tutor, and whom I would whole heartedly recommend to any level of guitarist.

So, after looking at these patterns for a while I noticed that the major and minor patterns were the same but had different names, since then I have been on a mission to discover why these patterns were exactly the same. I felt the generic pattern names made them extremely difficult to remember because the patterns with conflicting names were mixed up in memory, they would just mould into one. I easily learned all 5 minor scale patterns and could happily sail up and down the neck using all of them, but when it came to learning the major patterns, the meaningless pattern names, pattern 1, pattern 2, etc, had me beat, so I searched and searched for the answer, and having since read and watched lots of courses and books on Music Theory, I still couldn’t find the answer and how it related to the guitar fretboard, not one of these courses, books or websites had the answer, I was starting to think it was some deep dark secret, don’t get me wrong I learned a lot from most of these courses, but most, if not all of them showed the major and minor patterns as separate entities, with no answer to my question, even after all this studying, I still needed the answer, why are these patterns exactly the same?

It seems this is a conspiracy…

Although, sometimes, the answer to a problem is staring you right in the face, finally after years of wracking my brains, trying to answer the question to this mystery, I decided to treat it like the challenge it was, a puzzle, I knew that C major, A Minor and G7 were related so I plotted out the five C Major scale patterns and all of the Major, Minor and Dominant CAGED chord shapes, which I then cut up into squares, making them easy to manipulate, I could now see how all the chord shapes fitted into the major scale patterns, I had solved this enigma and as a consequence, I now had the answer to my question, the patterns are exactly the same because they are the same…

ScaleViz was born and is still evolving.

Buy ScaleViz To help you Master the Modes, Nail the CAGED system, learn all Major, Minor and Dominant, Chords, Arpeggios, Pentatonics and Modal Shapes in all positions, go from From Cowboy Chords to Soloing and become a Fretboard Master with ScaleViz today!

Developer of ScaleViz - Visual Guitar Shape Trainer which is now available for all iOS devices and Apple TV, simply search your Apple TV for ScaleViz! Alternatively you can grab the Universal iOS version straight from the Apple App Store: When I'm not developing or expanding my knowledge in graphic design or programming... I enjoy playing the guitar, watching horror films, astronomy, snorkeling, the study of hypnosis & NLP and I really enjoy Vaping and all thats involved, including making coils and e-liquid.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.