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Old July 17th, 2009, 09:00 PM   #41 (permalink)
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... and, just like talking and conversing ... you kind of have to do it everyday. So that the 'technique' of talking is masked and obscured ... even to the talker.

*Imagine the discipline of a guy like monster jazz guitarist Pat Martino http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Martino who had a nearly fatal brain aneurysm and forgot how to play ... and then re-learned everything.

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Old July 17th, 2009, 09:20 PM   #42 (permalink)
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... and, just like talking and conversing ... you kind of have to do it everyday. So that the 'technique' of talking is masked and obscured ... even to the talker.
Yup.

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... *Imagine the discipline of a guy like monster jazz guitarist Pat Martino http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Martino who had a nearly fatal brain aneurysm and forgot how to play ... and then re-learned everything.
What an amazing story that is!! I was just telling someone yesterday about Pat Martino's odyssey. Very inspirational.

Here's a two part interiew with Pat. At one point he's asked about how he learned guitar as a kid and his response is very interesting. Obviously a very bright and intellectual guy who has access to deep unconcious and creative processes when he needs to, which is a nice balance to have.



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Old July 18th, 2009, 11:17 AM   #43 (permalink)
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I also find that there are as many approaches to the learning and execution of music as there are "experts" who play them.
Yep! That sums up the type and texture of this thread.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 11:58 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Boneguy, I'm not addressing you or your posts. If you think I am, you're mistaken. And yes, I make a big distinction between conscious and subconscious mental processes.
I hope you can understand how I could make such a mistake as you and I have been the only people in this thread having this particular discussion and after every one of my posts you respond to what I've written.

My mistake.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 04:28 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Boneguy, I'm not addressing you or your posts.
Let me restate that more accurately. I quoted you once to politely reply to a point, at such time I believe you proceeded to start an argument between us, ignoring the subject of the OP. Thereafter I tried to make a case for playing without the use of scales and forms as the means to an end.

Here are some points germane to the subject, which I was trying to address, along with the general tone of scale fixation I detect in this forum on average.

emiller45
"Learning scales, runs etc serve the important purpose of expanding one's knowledge of the instrument and are extremely valuable in that context. That said, I caution against becoming a slave to them. The ultimate objective of scales, runs, chords etc is to build a vocabulary that enables one to express musical thoughts and ideas, much as we use words and letters to convey vocal or literary thoughts and ideas."

garytelecaster
"I've been finding in the last couple of years that I don't think in scales as much as shapes."

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I've been finding in the last couple of years that I don't think in scales as much as shapes.

strat a various
"You'd be better off in the long run thinking of "sounds" instead of shapes,"

jazztele
"sure...but mixolydian is only one choice. mix it up with some blues scale, some minor and major pentatonic, and alter the hell out of that V!"

emiller45
"Start by learning to play the melody. You will be surprised how many musicans are not able to do that. I was surprised to find (at the time) that it took some effort on my part."

Here is the logic: The objective is to play musical ideas as opposed to hot licks. Ideas are coherent musical figures that come from the brain. The process is to think of a musical idea and have the musical vocabulary and dexterity to translate that idea to the guitar."

klasaine
"... and, just like talking and conversing ... you kind of have to do it everyday."


I'm responding to these posts (I've bolded the ones with which I agree) as much as the subject matter at hand and your own ideas.
Now, boneguy, here's a post devoted to you, me communicating to you. I'm giving you attention because I don't want you to think I'm trying to ignore or insult you. If you concede that there is a difference between conscious and subconscious thought, we probably agree more than disagree.
What I'd like to avoid is a personal debate between us in TelZilla's thread.
I mean no disrespect, but I'd like to be able to respond to all the posters in the thread without having to post quotes from every single one in each of my replies. I see how you would presume that I am responding solely to you, as you are the 2nd most verbose poster in this thread.
We've exhausted the subject here. If it's important to you, start a new thread, I'll enthusiastically respond there, but we should let Telzilla get on with his subject without arguing between us on his dime.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 10:17 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Let me restate that more accurately. I quoted you once to politely reply to a point, at such time I believe you proceeded to start an argument between us, ignoring the subject of the OP. Thereafter I tried to make a case for playing without the use of scales and forms as the means to an end.
Now, strat a various, I certainly disagreed with you but neither my intent nor my words, to my mind, were designed to create an argument. Disagreement does not = argument. I was actually hoping for a discussion. But your point is made: you were polite, I was argumentative and apparently that's simply the facts.

It is completely normal in the course of a thread for different but related themes to arise based on posters comments and ideas. If it's your nature to want to adhere strictly to the OP's theme that's just fine.

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Now, boneguy, here's a post devoted to you, me communicating to you. I'm giving you attention because I don't want you to think I'm trying to ignore or insult you.
Finally.....the attention I was seeking.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 03:20 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Duly noted, Boneguy. Thank you.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 12:07 PM   #48 (permalink)
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I don't want to step in the middle of the Clash of the Titans (actually a very interesting digression from the OP), but I'll add these thoughts:


From a GP interview in 1978 with Herb Ellis:

“When you’re soloing, what are you thinking of?

I think of melodic content. I have no formulas worked out – I just play from the knowledge I have. Like, when you lay a Gb chord over a C chord, it’s two triads – a Gb triad on top of a C triad. That’s where we get the two tonics, and if you voice it right, it’ll sound very pretty. But I never think about that when I play. It’s all done intuitively. All I think about is trying to create a melody. I try not to think about what scale I’m going to play for G7 chord.”


From Thomas Owens’ book Beebop, regarding Charlie Parker:

“Parker, like all important improvisers, developed a personal repertory of melodic formulas that he used in course of improvising. He found may ways to reshape, combine, and phrase these formulas, so that no two choruses were just alike. But his “spontaneous” performances were actually precomposed in part. This preparation was absolutely necessary, for no one can create fluent, coherent melodies in real time without having a well-rehearsed bag of melodic tricks ready. His well-practiced melodic formulas are essential identifiers of his style.”


I can’t lay my hands on my Ted Greene Single Note Jazz Guitar Soloing, Vol II, but he says something in there to effect of the study of scales may suggest to you where to play, but it doesn’t tell you what to play.

And there is an anecdote I read in GP some years back, that Ted Greene was taking a lesson from Joe Pass. Joe played something interesting (of course), and Ted stopped him and asked; “What were you thinking there.” Joe’s answer: “Nuttin’.”

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Old July 19th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Leon Grizzard View Post
I don't want to step in the middle of the Clash of the Titans here, but I'll add these thoughts:


From a GP interview in 1978 with Herb Ellis:

“When you’re soloing, what are you thinking of?

I think of melodic content. I have no formulas worked out – I just play from the knowledge I have. Like, when you lay a Gb chord over a C chord, it’s two triads – a Gb triad on top of a C triad. That’s where we get the two tonics, and if you voice it right, it’ll sound very pretty. But I never think about that when I play. It’s all done intuitively. All I think about is trying to create a melody. I try not to think about what scale I’m going to play for G7 chord.”


From Thomas Owens’ book Beebop, regarding Charlie Parker:

“Parker, like all important improvisers, developed a personal repertory of melodic formulas that he used in course of improvising. He found may ways to reshape, combine, and phrase these formulas, so that no two choruses were just alike. But his “spontaneous” performances were actually precomposed in part. This preparation was absolutely necessary, for no one can create fluent, coherent melodies in real time without having a well-rehearsed bag of melodic tricks ready. His well-practiced melodic formulas are essential identifiers of his style.”


I can’t lay my hands on my Ted Greene Single Note Jazz Guitar Soloing, Vol II, but he says something in there to effect of the study of scales may suggest to you where to play, but it doesn’t tell you what to play.

And there is an anecdote I read in GP some years back, that Ted Greene was taking a lesson from Joe Pass. Joe played something interesting (of course), and Ted stopped him and asked; “What were you thinking there.” Joe’s answer: “Nuttin’.”
For what it's worth, when I started to gig in the late 60s, I vowed never to repeat myself. I had zero licks in my vocabulary. Everything solo was a new solo. Meaning, I would start in a different area of the fingerboard, different dynamic level, using different techniques, and so on. The bad thing about that was that I didn't get to hone an idea, or develop it. The plus side was that I became very adept at playing stuff off the top of my head. Now, as a composer, that has been the most useful thing that I ever did, and I did it for 10 years before writing a piece of music. I will definitely state that I did not play from shapes. I would try quite consciously to break down the concept of shapes by jumping and sliding around the fingerboard to get new tone colors and to break out of finger habits. If you go to my webpage, in "other music" you can hear recordings from 1973 or 74 that are representative: www.lawrencefritts.com. At that time, I played scales (major, minor, diminished, whole-tone) every day, picking exercises, and finger permutations.

Now that I am playing guitar again, I have taken a different path. I play no scales, and nothing that has even note values. I try to have everything I play sound like blues. When I get into a rut, I will play along with youtubes of Muddy, Wolf, Otis Rush, etc. I don't cop licks, but rather try to fit in. I thinking that having played scales to the nth degree 40 years ago has made this stuff possible. I sure would have a difficult time recommending one path over the other to someone.

One of the reasons I tried to play something new, even in conception, when I was younger was that I had read that Parker, in the recording studio, would use an entirely different approach for each solo. That was my ideal. Undoubtedly, I am sure he had some fingering reflexes that would pop up at different times. That is one of the reasons he sounds like the same man. I hadn't heard that he composed out his solos ahead of time.

The Herb Ellis quote is a little disingenuous. When he is thinking melody, how does he play in the right key, or in recognition that a certain set of chords is sounding as opposed to another set? If he has internalized such things, fine, but to deny that I think is not the whole story. He used to advertise a chord slide rule device that he says would have saved him years of labor. It is one thing for Joe Pass to say he is thinking of nuttin' and someone off the street picking up the guitar and thinking of nuttin' How do we reconcile those two situations?
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Old July 19th, 2009, 02:36 PM   #50 (permalink)
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The Herb Ellis quote is a little disingenuous. When he is thinking melody, how does he play in the right key, or in recognition that a certain set of chords is sounding as opposed to another set? If he has internalized such things, fine, but to deny that I think is not the whole story. He used to advertise a chord slide rule device that he says would have saved him years of labor. It is one thing for Joe Pass to say he is thinking of nuttin' and someone off the street picking up the guitar and thinking of nuttin' How do we reconcile those two situations?
it could be, or not.

i'm no herb ellis, but i'm not thinking scales or anything like that when i'm playing a song well, because i've already done that. i can blow on, say, a tune like "stompin' at the savoy" and "not think" because i've thought about those changes for hours in practice. i can play like that because i've internalized the changes, and i can hear a melody in my head that fits them while i'm playing...in a sense, when i get to this point with a song, the "flow" thing i was talking about in the mental preparation thread is welcomed to happen...

at that point, it's a full sensory experience...i am hearing what i'm playing, what others (if there are any) are playing, but i'm also hearing where i'm going next, just a little ahead of my fingers, and simultaneously the fretboard is "lighting up" with possibilities, the strongest of which are the melody notes i'm hearing...it's sort of like the melodies i hear are very simple, melodic lines, and the stuff i see is the simple melody and some other notes that can be used to connect my ideas.

now let's take those "other notes," and go back to savoy. let's say i'm playing over the section that moves from the I to the ii via a chromatic diminished chord in between (Dbmaj7--> Ddim-->Ebm7)

now again, i've played "savoy" a thousand times, as a conservative estimate. i've practiced my diminished arpeggios over that second chord countless times. i've investigated using a dominant sub for that chord (Bb7) i've investigated altering that dominant (Bb7alt., or whatever) i've practiced the arpeggios associated with that chord, i've tried the altered scale over it, done all of this hundreds of times in practice.

so now i'm playing the song with another guitarist. he's comping, i'm soloing. we're taking it up, too, btw. i start my solo visually--i know where the notes of the Dbmaj7 are,and my fingers find one, and i'm off. the melody plays out in my head. the fingerboard lights up. over the diminished chord, i play Bb, b, Bb, F#, D, Bb. and then continue on...in the heat of the moment, had i thought "altered scale" i'd be dead-->the chord would have passed. but because i had practiced that so many times, the notes were right there under my fingers. i could hear where i was going simultaneously not because i'm some superhuman freak who can perfectly hear melodies in his head, but because i know what that stuff sounds like because i've done it before.

this is the root of what guys are getting at when they make the "don't think" comments and mean them. there's plenty of folks who say it and can't play to back it up...herb ellis can.

now the other truth of course, is say you throw a song at me i don't know, a song i haven't practiced for hours on. i get a chart, and that's all...am i dead in the water? no, because i can recognize similarities, common movements, etc. but songs seem to always have that "oddball chord," the one that makes them unique. i would most definitely have to think about that chord as i play. we could go around a few times, and the first time i might lay out on that chord...breathe for a moment. the second time i might try and arpeggio idea, since it's so visual...maybe if i'm lucky, by the end of my go around, i could get back into the "flow" so to speak.

while i don't doubt that a lot of really good players downplay ability and make comments like this almost offhandedly, but it's the background that allows them to do so. sorry all for the long post, because as i type this line, i sort f realize i can sum the whole thing up into this line...

"learn the changes and then forget them"

where have we heard that line of crap before, huh?
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Old July 19th, 2009, 03:27 PM   #51 (permalink)
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A lot of those guys who "don't think when they play" - personally, I wish they would think because much the time they just play the same old ***** over and over again.
*I'm not referring to Joe and Herbie by the way*
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Old July 19th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #52 (permalink)
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The Herb Ellis quote is a little disingenuous. When he is thinking melody, how does he play in the right key, or in recognition that a certain set of chords is sounding as opposed to another set? If he has internalized such things, fine, but to deny that I think is not the whole story. He used to advertise a chord slide rule device that he says would have saved him years of labor. It is one thing for Joe Pass to say he is thinking of nuttin' and someone off the street picking up the guitar and thinking of nuttin' How do we reconcile those two situations?
It's the 'how' that's the crux of this whole matter it seems to me. And you're right on the money when you're saying essentially that Joe Pass's unconcious mind (the 'thinking of nuttin'in' you mention) in regards to guitar playing was organized significantly differently then someone else picking up the guitar for the first time.

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How do we reconcile those two situations?
This is the heart of the matter in my opinion.

I tried to address this exact thing already in this thread but it didn't go so well for me.
There are ways that already exist of of approacing this really important question and finding some really useful answers.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 05:08 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Old July 19th, 2009, 09:39 PM   #54 (permalink)
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I think of melodic content. I have no formulas worked out – I just play from the knowledge I have. Like, when you lay a Gb chord over a C chord, it’s two triads – a Gb triad on top of a C triad. That’s where we get the two tonics, and if you voice it right, it’ll sound very pretty. But I never think about that when I play. It’s all done intuitively. All I think about is trying to create a melody. I try not to think about what scale I’m going to play for G7 chord.”
That illustrates the point beautifully I think. "Gb triad over C triad". Obviously Herbie has studied and knows his harmony. In fact knows it so well that he only thinks about when someone asks him about it.
*That Herb Ellis quote is an excerpt from an old interview so who know how in depth the rest of the article got.

** the quote from Thomas Owens’ book Bebop, regarding Charlie Parker:Parker, like all important improvisers, developed a personal repertory of melodic formulas that he used in course of improvising. He found many ways to reshape, combine, and phrase these formulas, so that no two choruses were just alike. But his “spontaneous” performances were actually pre-composed in part. This preparation was absolutely necessary, for no one can create fluent, coherent melodies in real time without having a well-rehearsed bag of melodic tricks ready. His well-practiced melodic formulas are essential identifiers of his style.”

Parker may have been the best re-combiner since JS Bach.

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Old July 19th, 2009, 10:46 PM   #55 (permalink)
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I'm not a jazz guy, nor do I play one on TV but...

Jimmy Bruno has done some videos that I have found helpful in developing my ear to hear new sounds through a simple exercise. Say we have a ii V I in C. Playing the notes of C major over that gives us the vanilla sounding D dorian, G mixolydian, C ionian. Now, he says, let's focus on the V chord, G7, and get used to being able to play the G mixo. scale and nail it's underlying chord tones on the strong beats. Once we feel comfortable doing that we add ONE new note, say the b9, which would be Ab. We continue to play the G mixo.. scale, inserting the b9 in various places within our lines, trying to internalize the sound (tension) of that note within the G mixo. framework. After working with that we try the Ab against the D dorian and C ionian as well, hearing how it functions within their repective modes. We then continue to add new notes from outside the C major scale, learning to hear how they work within the ii V I framework.

The point he is trying to make is that players should internalize the sound of these "outside" notes to the point where they don't have to think about it. Then when they are actually in an improvising situation they can just try to hear those sounds in their head and their fingers will know where to find them. I believe this is what the jazz greats mean by "thinkin about nuttin" when they actually play. They're hearing those internalized sounds and executing on the fly.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 11:04 PM   #56 (permalink)
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That's a great way to learn new sounds.
I personally wasn't born with the ability to 'hear' all melodic combinations or harmonic possibilities. I 'learned' what I do know over time. Sometimes with a technique as banal as trying a different scale over a chord. If that introduces one to a new color - awesome!
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 10:37 PM   #57 (permalink)
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My reply was too long for one post and covers a lot of ground, some may find it interesting, others can pick and choose or disregard. So…had to break it down to two parts…

Part 1…Pentatonics as a framework.

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All-

I know there are positions of the major scale (5, I think). This question does not have to do with what those positions are- that info is easily accesible. I don't have it memorized, but I should.

Like many of you, I was in minor pent jail for many many years, and I amslowly beginning to break out. So I now know the major scale, but for bluesish soloing, I mainly just use the "move down three frets" version.

I guess I'm asking the question becuase when ?I play minor pent- typical blues soloing, I do it in the same position all the time- If the tune is in A, I'm using frets 5-8, etc. I siuppose I do make excusrsions outside (the "Albert King box", the "ronnie wood bend", which is actually a major scale thing), but mainly I'm rooted in the same place.

It occurs to me that I could do much the same thing with a major scale pattern- move it up 5 frets for the IV chord, etc.

My question is do you use different positions for different things? If so, what different things, and why do you do so?
Just re-posting the original post there...

Interesting discussion...and it's worth considering all approaches IMHO.

I've studied a lot over the years, went to uni and have gone through phases of "over thinking" things, and forcing things like outside playing and such for the "cool" factor, etc.

Special mention should also go to the person who suggested playing melodies...this is harder than it seems and often overlooked. Definitely it is something worth doing, and to learn the melody in different places as well as how the melody is working against the harmony (where the chord tones fall within the chord changes and such).

Also, the idea of singing (whistling is a little harder for some) melodies or along with your playing can help a lot and is used by many of the greats. In particular, being able to sing along (even if it is out of tune or beyond your singing range) serves a couple of functions. Eventually this can become internalized so you aren't making embarrassing grunting noises or mouthing along with the guitar.

In particular, it helps with phrasing, giving more natural swing and breathing spaces for instance. Often it will evoke melody that isn't necessarily typical of box playing and such, and keeps to a moderation being clever for the sake of it.

There's lots more to these to points...however, straying from the original post.

So...we all have to find our own way. In my playing, I was also brought up with the minor blues box kind of thing and the 3 frets down for major thing. And, there is a place for this, certainly a lot of guitar licks and phrases have evolved from this kind of playing. I definitely don’t see any sense in abandoning these things or having to learn a completely different approach to playing the guitar.



What I think of now though is to expand the positions so that they all run into one another...so extending the "box" into another, and eventually to see all the boxes all running together. This will eventually have the effect of thinking more linearly up and down the neck as well as the boxes.

So…the way I play and think in playing the guitar still retains the pentatonic framework, but now I see them as interconnected boxes, or even the entire neck as a map of the fife note pentatonic scales.



In addition, I think that the pentatonic scale concepts are very powerful tools and can be exploited...and since most of us start with that kind of approach, may as well expand upon it.

So...in my thinking, I approach most things with a pentatonic framework in both major and minor. I have a conscious knowledge of the chord tones and how they function over the I, IV and V chords in particular.

To the basic pentatonic framework I then add "harmonic tones" and "color tones"...just thinking up some names on the spot.

So, for a minor in A with a pentatonic approach. you have the notes A, D, C, E, G. On the "i" chord (am) the root, second and third A,C, E make up most of the scale.

The "iv" chord, you have the notes D and A or the root and fifth of the "iv" chord. The third would be F in Dm...so there is a "harmonic tone" as an example...so you could add that to the pentatonic scale easily enough, either as a feature over the "iv" chord, or as a scale tone between the E and G notes...as an example.

The "V" chord you have the e as the root, the G as the minor third and the D as the seventh there. You could add in the B (fifth) as another "harmonic tone" addition to the basic pentatonic.

So, basically, I think in terms of the basic pentatonic 5 note scale, with additions informed by the chord sequence (or sometimes the melody). So, with all these "harmonic tones" you get A,B,C,D,E,F,G or a typical minor scale. However, if the V chord is major say in a minor blues, you will get a G# as well. If the IV chord is major, you would get an F# instead or as well as (if you choose and what to add a bit of a chromatic kind of sound in there) giving a kind of dorian flavor. Similar things come up with different sequences to the I,IV,V 12 bar kind of things, but generally this framework works without having to think too hard.

"Colour tones" I think of as things like flat 5's...sometimes the harmony specifies such notes...but generally I see them as an "effect" and by adding these to the framework of the pentatonic scale, you can easily add these "colours"

So, in A minor, the Eb as the b5 or the Bb as a b9 could be used as passing notes creating chromatic runs like C,B,bB,A or replacing the B giving a powerful almost diminished effect into the IV chord, or smooth jazzy transition out of the V chord.

The major third in a minor key needs to be handled with a little care, but also is a “colour tone”. So, in A minor, that would be C#. This creates a powerful leading tone (V of I) into the IV chord (D) but I have even heard major thirds used by players like BB in minor blues tunes very naturally.



So, ANY note or all of them can be added to the pentatonic framework to create all scales while still retaining and expanding on all those licks and pentatonic positions that are already known. This opens up all scales and chromatic tones but organized into the pentatonic framework.

The same applies to major pentatonic scales...transposing to C to make it easier. C,D,E,G,A you get C,E,G (1,3,5 of the I chord) A and C (3,5 of the IV chord F) and G and D (1,5 of the V chord). You can see that this approach if only using pentatonic major scales in a major sequence lacks some very powerful notes. So, first you are likely to want to add in the note F which gives you the root of the IV and the seventh of the V chords. Also, most likely going to require the note B which is the leading tone into C and the third of V in that key. Adding these two notes instantly gives you the major scale.

So, instead of learning major scales as separate to a pentatonic approach, I advocate morphing the pentatonic scale into the major scale. Obviously, you can apply the same and more processes as I illustrated in the minor pentatonic till all 12 notes become possible.

I also think of the major and minor together with this kind of thing...so, the minor pentatonic and major pentatonic in a when combined gives you...A,C,D,E,G plus A,B,C#,E,F# so...you get A,B,C,C#,D,E,F#G...a hybrid scale of sorts (also useful as an 8 note scale fits easily into lines of continuous 8th notes for bebop like lines). Add a b9 note (Bb) and it opens up diminished ideas like G,Bb,C#E that could tweak a line over a V chord or moving in and out of chord changes and keys...or a b5 tone (Eb) giving you another diminished chord sound, A,C,Eb,G...add a flattened root (or maj7 = Ab)...and so it goes...

I have included how this idea can be expanded further to include "outside playing" and creating "modal" scales out of combining pentatonics below in part 2...
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 10:48 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Following on from the above post...Part 2

But...to bring things back to basics...the way to learn these kinds of approaches is to take what you already know, have a look at the material you are playing with and adding one or two notes to the basic pentatonic and listening to how they sound.

Start with the harmonic tones, so in the minor key the third of the IV or iv chord or root of the IV chord in major pentatonics. So, add the f note to the A minor penatonic, or the f note as the root of IV in major pentatonics in C. Notice, this is the same thing. Now add the 3rd of the V chord for majors (B in the key of C) or for minors the 2nd (B in the key of A). If the harmony implies it, or you want a more exotic sound, flatten the note B, this gives you a #9 (think hendrix chord) for the V chord in majors, or a b9 kind of sound in minors.

Probably more confusing than it should be off the top of my head. But basically, take the pentatonics, learn to run them together so that you see them as connected boxes opens up the whole neck. Using them as a framework to add harmonic and color tones to create scales that fit the material.

By adding two notes to the pentatonic, you will get the major scale and natural minor scales...automatically.

However, just as the pentatonic "box" approach leads to feeling boxed in and lick playing, the scale approach can also lead to simply running through the scales which is perhaps worse. The chord by chord approach and arpeggio thing can be useful where there are a lot of fast changes through different key centres, but can lead to just outlining the harmony and forgoing melody and invention (playing outside what is implied by the harmony). Studying good melodies and seeing how they fit can help a lot.

I found the problem for me in learning a lot of scales and such is that you tend to think very analytically, with perhaps not the best musical results. By altering pentatonics for "effect" or to fit the harmony or chord changes, I found that it opened up all the notes more effectively...at least for me.

...

Pentatonic potential for exotic and outside playing...

It also opens up the ideas associated with "outside" playing a lot more...well, at least it ahs for me.

For instance, you could make a hybrid scale of A minor pentatonic and Bb minor pentatonic giving you this kind of scale A,C,D,E,G plus Bb,C#,Eb,F,Ab = A,Bb,C,C#,Eb,E,F,G,Ab. However, you don't need to play that "scale", you could for instance just play the Bb minor pentatonic for a "side-slipping" effect. The key to "Outside Playing" is to get in, and more particularly out of such notes successfully.

So, there needs to be some sense perhaps. In this instance, Bb minor pentatonic over a minor one chord in the key of A is very effective where the harmony moves to the "iv" chord. You get the major third in there for a powerful I-v kind of sound, b9's effective into the minor iv chord, b5s for a sophisticated bluesy kind of effect as well as notes like F that are the third of the up coming chord when the change comes. But, on the other hand, you may simply play and hear the familiar pentatonic intervals a semitone above (in this case)...and hopefully the audience too...and this pattern may be enough to sustain the dissonance, especially with an effective resolution...and in small doses.

But, such an example is by far the extreme, you could simply add Am and Bm pentatonics to get A,B,C,D,E,F",G or Dorian...or say C and D major pentatonics C,B,E,G,A plus D,E,F#,A,B = C,B,D,E,F#,G,A giving you the lydian scale (think players like Vai)...A more complex way of "thinking" though and I generally find that simply "adding tones" to a pentatonic framework far more effective and powerful.

...

But all these kinds of things are "effects" in my playing I suppose, used very rarely, the staple is still the pentatonics of both major and minor, perhaps less so in major where you want to add those two notes (the note F in the key of C for the Iv's root and the V's 7th...and the note B to give you the leading tone or third of the V chord) to get a major scale, but in my thinking and my position thinking, I still think in terms of the pentatonic framework with such additions.

Because with pentatonics you are only dealing with 5 notes and are generally well known to guitar players, as well as sitting well under the fingers...I have found that this approach gets me through most everything without abandoning anything that is typically "guitaristic". It also opened up the fretboard and these new sounds quicker and more effectively and with a more natural and less "intellectual" style. After a while you just hear these additional color and harmonic tones and they fall under the fingers fairly naturally.

But then, for so many things that you are likely to play...the pentatonics alone fit very well.

Sorry for such a long post......in the end, all and every approach is valid.

Rather than forcing scales and such though, more effective is to try and hear melodies. Typically "melodies" that are effective do not run up and down scales, are often very high in or even exclusively pentatonic material and singing (or at least attempting to) your own melodies seems to access something beyond the visual and technical patterns that your fingers tend to fall into and really help phrasing. Practicing scales can corrupt this sense of melody so you start hearing scales, or boxes or arpeggios instead of music because you have been playing and hearing far too much of them.

The end result of however one might think about music or understand it in your mind for understanding, improvising of composing stuff...the end result should be musical and unsurprisingly in most cases quite familiar even though you may have a lot of "exotics" in your arsenal of sounds.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #59 (permalink)
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I also wish I had asked Mr. Forbing to teach me all these scales at first, instead of learning Can't Explain... from my brother. I can't imagine how much better I'd be if I had learned this stuff 20+ years ago. But I do think coping stuff from your heros is equally as important. Take the solo in You Really Got Me by the Kinks... talk about simple... But that shee still knocks me out. Peter Green and B.B. both obviously know their stuff... but they also know the addage of, "It's gettin good to me now", and sometimes that's Wes Montgomery going all over the board, multiple scales and sweet chords at high speed, but sometimes it's Otis Rush playing the same break lick several times over with the horns gettin' it, While he blues shouts, Whoa, ahh woah, ahh whoa, Baby!... Yes I love you baby!"
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Old August 5th, 2009, 10:44 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstTrain View Post
I also wish I had asked Mr. Forbing to teach me all these scales at first, instead of learning Can't Explain... from my brother. I can't imagine how much better I'd be if I had learned this stuff 20+ years ago. But I do think coping stuff from your heros is equally as important. Take the solo in You Really Got Me by the Kinks... talk about simple... But that shee still knocks me out. Peter Green and B.B. both obviously know their stuff... but they also know the addage of, "It's gettin good to me now", and sometimes that's Wes Montgomery going all over the board, multiple scales and sweet chords at high speed, but sometimes it's Otis Rush playing the same break lick several times over with the horns gettin' it, While he blues shouts, Whoa, ahh woah, ahh whoa, Baby!... Yes I love you baby!"
Who invited this clown?

Actually, I believe this must be my brother. If it's not, I definitely need to apologize for my question at the start of theis post.
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