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-   -   Pentatonic scale realisation (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=602054)

Kevin G String 12-25-2020 03:02 PM

Pentatonic scale realisation
 
I've been watching the likes of Guthrie Trapp and Tom Bukovac on the Tube. They have both shared little gems, Guthrie more so. Although Guthrie is a little careful as to how much he shares as he wants people to subscribe to private lesson and or artist works.

It seems to me that the A minor/ C major pentatonic doesn't work to its full potential over all of the chords in the C major scale. So I looked a little further. I've noticed a few things. From A minor pentatonic, you can only construct two chords; A min and C maj. So to get E min and G maj you need to use E min pentatonic and to get D min and F maj, you need D min pentatonic. Each pair being the relative maj/min of each other and all of the pentatonic scales fit within the key of C major.

I haven't really bothered too much with the pentatonic minor much, I generally only improvise and have used the major scale.

One thing I have really paid attention to is using chord tones. I naively believe that as long as you used the notes of the key you're in you're OK. So I haven't really been using my ears up to now. I haven't really bothered with covers, although I did learn Cavatina to a reasonable standard. Took me years though. I used to play some of the queen solos too.

So, Guthrie really emphasises the importance of chord tones to 'outline' the chords. Makes sense. Having watched some jazzers on the Tube, they 'outline' almost all the time, if I understand correctly.

For a few weeks now, I have been using chord tones/arpeggios/triads along with passing notes from the major scale and pentatonic scales. And I can't believe just how much more melodic my playing sounds. I had wondered for years how Mark Knopfler was able to sound so melodic (although, I heard someone saying what he did but was too lazy to delve into learning the arpeggio and triad positions because I'm lazy). For the first time, I'm hearing the notes and their nature/quality, what a revelation.

Looking back I should never have pursued music, I don't really have a natural aptitude for it. It's only recently that I've been able to feel time and better understand pocket. Getting closer and closer to playing music. I bought my first serious guitar in 1990. I feel I need to get a grip of this.

I'll hopefully get to the point, if there really is one.

Another thing that made me think about the pentatonic was that I've heard a few pros saying that they really don't like to hear players noodling with a minor pentatonic over a I IV V progression. Guthrie says, when he hears this, he instantly knows he listening to someone who hasn't worked their stuff out.

How are you chaps/chapesses using the pentatonic scale?

Thanks in advance for you responses.

M Sarad 12-25-2020 03:15 PM

I use it for bluegrass runs and electric blues.
Mixed with chromatic lines it's useful all over the neck.

Kevin G String 12-25-2020 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M Sarad (Post 6585592)
I use it for bluegrass runs and electric blues.
Mixed with chromatic lines it's useful all over the neck.

So are you using it for a navigation as well as sonic quality?

Thanks

vanceen 12-25-2020 03:20 PM

Personally, I would rarely play strict pentatonic minor over a I IV V progression. If I did, it would be if I was playing blues, by which I mean blues blues, not a jazz blues tune.

Stevie Ray Vaughn used almost exclusively pentatonic minor for soloing. I would never say that he hadn't worked his stuff out. He just worked it out in a niche style that worked well for him.

For blues soloing, I'll usually switch back and forth from minor to major pentatonic, and throw in lots of seconds and sixth as needed to follow the changes. Clapton even uses the major seventh scale tone in blues, and it sounds great.

It's a genre thing. Jazz is a genre too, albeit quite a bit more complex. But there are distinct sub-genres in jazz. If you're playing bebop you're going to be leaning on some scale tones you wouldn't use in Dixieland for instance.

The best advice I ever got for learning to play more jazz is to listen and copy. Then listen and copy some more. Repeat as required. Let the songs and the sounds and the feel get under your skin. Then you won't be thinking about scales when you play. Yes, you'll need to practice all the scales a bunch and get to where they are second hand, but if you're thinking about scales when you're playing a song, you're probably playing something pretty boring.

Kevin G String 12-25-2020 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vanceen (Post 6585597)
Personally, I would rarely play strict pentatonic minor over a I IV V progression. If I did, it would be if I was playing blues, by which I mean blues blues, not a jazz blues tune.

Stevie Ray Vaughn used almost exclusively pentatonic minor for soloing. I would never say that he hadn't worked his stuff out. He just worked it out in a niche style that worked well for him.

For blues soloing, I'll usually switch back and forth from minor to major pentatonic, and throw in lots of seconds and sixth as needed to follow the changes. Clapton even uses the major seventh scale tone in blues, and it sounds great.

It's a genre thing. Jazz is a genre too, albeit quite a bit more complex. But there are distinct sub-genres in jazz. If you're playing bebop you're going to be leaning on some scale tones you wouldn't use in Dixieland for instance.

The best advice I ever got for learning to play more jazz is to listen and copy. Then listen and copy some more. Repeat as required. Let the songs and the sounds and the feel get under your skin. Then you won't be thinking about scales when you play. Yes, you'll need to practice all the scales a bunch and get to where they are second hand, but if you're thinking about scales when you're playing a song, you're probably playing something pretty boring.

Thanks for you input there. I'm still getting all of the triads under my fingers and hope to be able to play them unconsciously. My thinking is that, with those as structure/foundation so you can easily escape to a sure tone if your in between notes doesn't do it for you.

I was watching a Paul Davids Video about BB King. The BB King "box" is a unique scale from what PD was saying that it's very versatile. I'm not a big blues fan, but BB (in the stuff I've heard of his) sounds like he really knows what he's doing.

Then there is breaking the rules, plenty of the best have done that. For me, I'm not at that level yet. I'm sure I'll get there. Not that it matters. But I'd like to be melodic and flowing, we'll see.

Kevin G String 12-25-2020 04:00 PM

I've heard a number of these esteemed session men say that if you have to think about which note to play, it's already too late. Wow. I suppose that is more important in their world than mine! ;o)

rick-slo 12-25-2020 04:33 PM

In minor scales you have the natural minor, melodic minor, and harmonic minor.

In the melodic minor scale the 6th and 7th notes are raised a half step on the way up the scale but not on the way down the scale.

In the harmonic minor scale (perhaps the most satisfying regarding returning to the root note) you have a raised 7th note on both the way up and the way down the scale.

Depending on the specific situation this will affect how well using the minor pentatonic comes out if you just stick to the natural minor notes.

Kevin G String 12-25-2020 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rick-slo (Post 6585660)
In minor scales you have the natural minor, melodic minor, and harmonic minor.

In the melodic minor scale the 6th and 7th notes are raised a half step on the way up the scale but not on the way down the scale.

In the harmonic minor scale (perhaps the most satisfying regarding returning to the root note) you have a raised 7th note on both the way up and the way down the scale.

Depending on the specific situation this will affect how well using the minor pentatonic comes out if you just stick to the natural minor notes.

Yeah, I was aware of the other minor scales. I have used the harmonic minor for soloing with, I used to like the eastern flavour of it. From what I'm seeing, it seems that a lot of guitarist ignore harmonic and melodic minor and rely on the natural minor. In which case you don't get the E major (in A minor) due to the sharp 7th or g sharp tone etc.

NormanKliman 12-27-2020 06:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rick-slo (Post 6585660)
In the melodic minor scale the 6th and 7th notes are raised a half step on the way up the scale but not on the way down the scale.

Hi Derek, that's only in classical music, isn't it?

raysachs 12-27-2020 08:02 AM

I havenít worked my stuff out, probably ever will. In my improvising / lead playing, I pretty much live in the minor and major pentatonic, with a few passing notes that seem to work. Stevie played almost only minor pentatonic, BB and Clapton played a mix of major and minor pentatonic. If itís good enough for those guys, itís more that enough for me. When Iím playing well and feeling it, those notes never feel limiting or get in the way of being musical. When Iím playing badly / NOT feeling it, being able to play all of the DP scales and modes in the world wouldnít make me sound better.

I have mad respect for the Jerry Garcias and Pat Metheneys and John Scofields of the world, who have almost no limits to their playing. Iíd love to play like that, but Iíll never put in enough time. As long as I can get music out of the guitar, Iíve exceeded all of the hopes and expectations I had when I started playing...

-Ray

Mr. Jelly 12-27-2020 09:21 AM

The discussion about scales is about playing notes to me. It isn't a discussion about playing music. Scales get you in the ball park. What happens in the ball park is up to you. That's when knowledge, experience and taste come together. As far as scales I come from the background of minor pentatonic, major pentatonic, chromatic and modes. Knowing the basic chords in all positions is necessary also. Your personal secret sauce is what makes the difference though. If you play with your ears you can forget the majority of notes. But then most people don't listen.

rllink 12-27-2020 02:31 PM

I am pretty good at playing the first and second box of both major and minor pentatonic scales. I can fly through them but I can't do much with them, yet. I am hoping some day a light will come on and it will all come together into something.

rick-slo 12-27-2020 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NormanKliman (Post 6586774)
Hi Derek, that's only in classical music, isn't it?

No, it is not limited to classical music.

Mr. Jelly 12-27-2020 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rllink (Post 6587249)
I am pretty good at playing the first and second box of both major and minor pentatonic scales. I can fly through them but I can't do much with them, yet. I am hoping some day a light will come on and it will all come together into something.

My understanding is that there are five notes in a pentatonic scale in each octave. The pentatonic scale mimics human speech. Phrase the notes as though you are talking. With breaths and all. When playing to music hit the root note of each chord as the chords change. This in an effort to understand how things work. Save the flying for when you understand when to apply it. It sounds like you already got it down so it's time to move on.

Winfielder 12-29-2020 06:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vanceen (Post 6585597)
For blues soloing, I'll usually switch back and forth from minor to major pentatonic

Which minor key? Are you talking about the relative minor of key X, or are you talking about X minor?

For example, let's say we're in the key of G and the I-IV-V is G-C-D.

Are you saying you switch back and forth between the relative minor pentatonic (Em) and G major pentatonic? (if so, what's the difference in sound, since they're the same scale?)

Or are you saying you switch back and forth between G minor pentatonic and G major pentatonic?

(If anyone else has insight into this question, please chime in. I'm at an intermediate stage where learning the answers to a few questions like these can help me make major strides in my playing.)


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