Pentatonic patterns

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by mrboson, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    I have some questions, but first the background:

    I get the magazine "Acoustic Guitar" and this month's edition has an article about using the pentatonic scale as an actual scale, i.e. treating the pent notes as if it is a complete scale: getting the root, second, third, fourth, fifth, then adding the next octave notes to get sixth, seventh, and so on. So C pent you have its complete "scale" over two octaves as C-D-E-G-A-C-D-E-G-A. From A minor pent you get A-C-D-E-G-A-C-D-E-G.

    Then it suggests building chords using the same rules as for a proper scale, i.e., the I7 (pent) chord would be the R-3-5-7 of the scale which is C-E-A-D (C6/9), the ii7 is D-G-C-E (Dm11 ?), and so on. Using the minor pent "scale" we can build A-D-G-C-E (A7#9sus4 ?), C-E-A-D-G (C6/9 ?), and so on. A lot of the voicings that can be built sound really interesting, but I think the intent of the article's author was to use these rules to create melodies during solos and such.

    Are there any examples of songs or players who utilize this technique?

    At any rate, so I am playing around with this stuff and it is totally cool, but now I'm thinking, what the heck can I intelligently do with this?

    So example, I-ii-IV-V in C, and if I have to think up a solo on the fly, I would normally tend to play C pent over the whole thing if I am lost, or perhaps better Am pent over the I, and Dm pent over the ii-IV, and either Am pent or C pent over the V. But basically either way I usually sound like I am noodling. Maybe to help me get a better grasp on this, what would be some interesting chords built from pent "scales" that would sound great over a C major progression (suggest any that you want)? If you wrote chord suggestions as "ii pent C" I would know you mean the 4 or 5 note chord build from the second note of the C Pent scale, which is how I am trying to think of this.
     
  2. Breen

    Breen Friend of Leo's

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    I use 'pent chords' to comp in say funk/blues, or as an idea to do arpeggios in whatever situation, whether in the 'shed trying to be jazzy or at a pop gig or on a 'melodic rock' moment.

    So for your example in C, I might do is play what looks like a Am7 arpeggio idea at the 7th fret, but the idea really came from 'pent chords'. Starting from the A note on the 7th fret Dstring, I go to E on the G string and back to D string's C. Then play straight down a C maj chord from that C note to the high C, 8th fret. Then jam a bit doing some pull off hammer ons on the D and E and F notes when you on the high E string and end back on C on the B string.

    Hope that was clear.
    So I'm using it differently as I am not building a chord solo with the pentchords. I might use the pentchord shapes as a building block to do a single notes solos.

    In a blues/funk setting, I could solo with pentchords. Before I knew what 9th chords were, I only knew the Pentatonic scale, and I wanted to sound like Jimmy Nolan, Nile Rodgers or Leo Nocentelli. But not knowing what killer stuff they were doing, I found that 'blasting' on diads or triads on the pentatonic worked, ala SRV as well. So from there I play chords where till today I have no idea what their really called but works. Or rather, I have not sat down to intellectualize it.

    Oh, hear Robben Ford. He uses chords alot kinda in a way your talking about. Let me post a video.


    What he's doing is kinda doing your scale chord thing, here he's in major scale rather then Pentatonic.
     
  3. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Pentatonic scales are complete scales. It's not like there's something missing from them. They just are what they are. To extend the logic that they are not complete scales we could just as easily say a major scale is not complete because of the fact that there are eight note scales and the major scale only contains seven notes.



    I use chords built from the pent scales all the time. It's a cool sound and typically involves a lot of 4th intervals stacked.

    It's interesting and somewhat confusing to build pent chords using the same number system as you would with a 7 note major scale. For example applying that system to the pent scale you wind up with the octave being the 6th note of the scale rather than 8 and the 7th degree of the scale being what would normally be called the 9th. I find that a bit confusing and I'm not sure what to suggest as an alternative other than using the standard numbering from the major scale.

    So C6/9 would be notated like this 1-3-6-9 rather than 1-3-5-7. But if we do that then we are treating the pent scale as if it's not a complete scale and is somehow subordinate to the major scale. Hmmmm:confused:


    Anyway, there are lots of cool pent chord sounds to be easily grabbed. That's one of the great things about them, they're easy grips.
     
  4. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    ^^^^ What boneyguy just said ^^^^

    Most guitarists, any style, will play chords built from penta scales ... whether they know it or not.
    Example: XX0230 - D2 (or Dadd9)
    Or anytime you hear a rock or country guit player do this: XX523X (Dsus or G2) and then resolve to XX423X (D). The first voicing is the penta voicing.

    Your basic 'power' chord or really almost any sus4 voicing is a pentatonic chord.

    If you really want to hear a musician play pentatonic chord voicings like there's no tomorrow, go no further than McCoy Tyner.
     
  5. darkwaters

    darkwaters Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks so much guys! This discussion (and the Robben Ford video) became this evenings practice. Very interesting stuff. Regards.

    bowing.gif
     
  6. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    This is one of those times where I remember exactly where I was and what was in my field of vision. Back in 1975, I was still a scale fanatic. By this time, I wasn't playing straight scales, but instead was making up patterns and running those. I was aware in my rock and blues playing that I was using the minor pent. Back then, the term was just coming into use, as far as I could tell from reading Guitar Player and Downbeat. But I was in Portland, Oregon, so maybe things were much different in other cities. There was no down talk about the minor pents, either, even though they were pervasive in blues and rock.

    Anyway, my moment of insight was why not play all the patterns I was running with major and minor scales with the minor pent? I didn't wind up doing that, I think because I was getting into jazz more, and I didn't associate the minor pent with that, although the posts above would make me re-think that.

    I try not to be a braggart, but here's a cool story about how cool I was. I was playing a gig with a big band ensemble, and was playing a tune that had a guitar solo. Usually, I played in whatever jazz style I could muster, but this particular time, I just played straight blues, beginning with short punctuations that had a tough guy sound. I wasn't watching, but my girlfriend said all of the sax guys in the front row turned around when I started to play. I was so shy and introverted, that it wouldn't have occurred to me to talk to them afterwards. I was always guitar in the case, unplug the amp and haul out of the there with the check in hand. I got a lot of calls in those days, though.
     
  7. mrboson

    mrboson Tele-Afflicted

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    The pent scales were taught to me as true scales (i.e., not missing anything) a long time ago in college, but practically (i.e., in guitar playing) I guess I have always approached them as subsets of the major scale (so iow missing something). Maybe I am typical of a of of guitar players? At any rate, I understand and appreciate the clarification by boneyguy and klasaine... always some good meat in what you guys post, I learn a lot from what you guys say.

    I think what kind of got me thinking in a different way here was that the article reminded me to think of the pent in a scale way, but to continue past one octave, and how easy it is on guitar to reach some additional notes for both chords and building melodies. The crazy numbering trick can be confusing, but I have to admit it is helping me "discover" some new notes that previously I wasn't thinking about because in my mind I would have to play pentatonic and think major scale at the time and I can't think that fast. I can always go back and name the chord after the fact.
     
  8. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

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    The penataonic scales opened up as complete scales to me when I tried using penatonic scales built off of a closely related chord. So instead of playing Bm Pentatonic over a B7 (esentially the blues scale), I would try F#m or D#m Penatonic instead. It was like a whole new musical flavor to me.
     
  9. upinthemteles

    upinthemteles Tele-Meister

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    One more pentatonic trick is to play F minor pentatonic over the G7 in a ii V I in C. In other words play minor pent scale one minor third above your ii chord.
     
  10. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    The theory behind that is that a heavily altered V7 chord is a ivm(13) chord.
     
  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    "Blues-style pent" from "jazz-style pent": in the blues-style you tend to ignore the chord progression or play *against* the chords, while in a jazz-style you tend to play *over* the chords.

    Suppose you have a I-vi-ii-V7 in C.

    You can't really stick to a C major/A minor pent over the whole progression because that wouldn't work well over G7: You have a C note but not B or F. So you have to switch pents if you want to play over the chords. As mentioned, if you're going for an altered sound, you can play a Bb min pent over G7.
     
  12. Samrsmiley

    Samrsmiley Tele-Meister

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    Try using a b minor pent with the C major chord. It gives you some really nice Lydian sounds (#11 and 6/9).

    There are not any minor or major pent scales that have any tritones so you won't find one that will 'fit' a dominant chord. The pent scales takes out the 4th and the 7th.

    Other options would be parallel minor (ie g minor pent on a g chord) gives you a bluesy sound.
     
  13. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    To that end, does anyone have any favourite pentatonic scales that don't amount to a mode of the major pentatonic scale? Over what chords?
     
  14. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    OK, if you believe that a pentatonic is a true scale, in the A minor pent = A C D E G, is A - C a leap or a step? If you say leap, you are a blues-rocker of the English strain. If you say step, you are Chicago all the way.

    Everyone is going to disagree with me on something here, so let 'er rip. Read my other threads today to know that I am presently in heavy pain.
     
  15. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I say both.
    It's a scale, it's an out line of many scales ... it's two mints in one.
     
  16. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    What!!??
     
  17. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    You fell into my trap. My real thing with the blues, but certainly true in many other kinds of music in their own ways, is that we change from one persona to another. When a blues player is focusing on the minor pent during a solo, then suddenly hits the thirds of the V and IV chords, my feeling as a listener is that the soloist stepped of out the soloist mode and back into the rhythm section. Just because the soloist hits those notes, though, isn't enough. But if those notes are part of a sequence on V IV, then I really feel he is becoming a team player and not a leader.

    But this is not the issue with the is it a step or a leap question. If you play A C D, in the A minor pent in an A blues, then you are from Chicago, spiritually at least. If you play A C B, you are a European descendent. In western European art music, there is an incredibly strong tendency for a leap to be followed by a step in the opposite direction. An important exception to this is arpeggios, of course.

    One thing I noticed in SRV's playing, although I am not a scholar of his music by any means, is that he will make even wider leaps than the third and follow one of those with a step in the same direction. Some of you may want to try that, and you may find it strange to your fingers. I love finding things in the minor pent that are strange to my fingers. The minor pent is not an impoverished scale by any means, although the majority of people in internet forums probably believe so. My biggest rejoinder is listen to the melodies of blues songs. Not guitar solos, the vocal melodies. Where oh where are those major thirds? They must be around here somewhere? Wolf, Muddy, help me out. I need some major thirds in your melodies.
     
  18. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    P.S. I am trying to trick people into doing my research for me by actually finding some and posting them here.
     
  19. greytop

    greytop Tele-Holic

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    this whole thread has me saying "huh"?

    let's jam.... :D
     
  20. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Here's a couple that I use a lot.

    1-2-3-5-b7 = dom9 pent

    1-3-4-b5-b7 = m7b5 pent
    I use the m7b5 pent over dom chords in the same way you can use a m7b5 chord as a rootless dom9.

    That m7b5 pent scale also has some useful modes that I don't really use.

    Well actually I use this one below but I think of it as the m7b5 pent that I showed above.

    Here's the same m7b5 scale but up a maj 3rd.

    2-3-5-6-b7 = rootless dom9 (trying to 'see' a rootless scale just confuses the crap outta me so I prefer to think of it as the m7b5 scale like above. So over an A7 I would play the C#m7b5 pent scale rather than run the rootless dom9 pent from the B. Same scale, just easier for me to see)


    The same notes a tritone up give you;
    1-3-#4-6-7 = lyd. pent

    The same notes down a whole step:
    b9-#9-3-#5-b7 = alt. dom pent
     
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