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Old 01-25-2013, 06:19 PM   #1
slapfunk_101
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Blues soloing help

Hey. I've been playing guitar for a few years now and I find that my blues improv has gotten a bit stale. I know that when soloing for blues one can use both the major and minor pentatonic to spice it up. I was wondering when I can switch between the two mid-solo. Can I do it all willy-nilly and mid-lick? Only on chord changes? If so under what circumstances? I also have heard of people using a mixolodyian (or something) scale in there too... how would I utilize that? Any guidance is appreciated! Thanks.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:48 PM   #2
Angusman60
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Depending on the song, the IV chord often lends itself to major pentatonic.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:13 PM   #3
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There are some good lessons about mixing pentatonics on Mike Dodge's web site.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:13 PM   #4
Gaz351
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Mixolydian is one of the modes. Basically it's a major scale with a flatted 7th, you would use it to play over IV chords like in a 12 bar blues.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:56 PM   #5
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Not that you probably don't know it, the Blues Scale helps.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:17 PM   #6
Angusman60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaz351
Mixolydian is one of the modes. Basically it's a major scale with a flatted 7th, you would use it to play over IV chords like in a 12 bar blues.


Mixolydian also work nicely over V.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:27 PM   #7
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For simplicities sake i like to think like this
in a major blues:
over the I major pentatonic
over the IV minor pentatonic
over the V either but the minor i like more.
But you can pretty much do anything you want so it doesn't matter really this is just shortcut stuff i guess
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:06 PM   #8
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I know what you're talking about. I struggled with this. First off I'd load up youtube and find a progression and try playing the minor and majors over each to hear how they sound. the next step would be to find licks that you like (experimenting) that could incorporate chromatic movements to help lead into either the minor from the major or the major from the minor. That helped me. There are also things that can detach from one to make it easier to get into another. Like sliding from a high fret and stopping for a second (SRV uses this a lot), or using notes that are in both pentatonics while planning to transfer, or doing something that creates tension and resolving it with the pentatonic that you're moving into.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:22 AM   #9
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The reason your soloing sounds stale isn't because of the scales you're using. It's actually stale because you're just playing scales. You need to listen to and learn as many melodies as you can. No, I don't mean guitar solos, although you should do that too. The best way to learn how to solo is to learn vocal melodies (horn solos/melodies are pretty good too).

Learning vocal melodies will help your soloing tremendously because it teaches you that the notes you play aren't often as important as how you play them (i.e. all the accents, articulations, rhythm, phrasing, dynamics that are involved). You'll probably find that most vocal melodies use pretty basic scale patterns.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:18 AM   #10
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^I will have to agree that ever since I've started playing jazz I've been listening to a few vocal singers, and it surprises me how their vocal lines are a bit different than I'd expect, and they still sound great. I particularly like Take the 'A' Train by Ella Fitzgerald.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:38 AM   #11
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Although many people may disagree with me, I think the ultimate goal as a guitarist is to sound as much like a vocalist as possible and as little like a guitarist.

Obviously, a guitar can do a lot of things a singer can't do (e.g. chords), and a singer can do a lot of things a guitar can't do, but it's pretty much natural to do the "guitar thing" on a guitar, whereas it takes some work to get your axe to really sing, but that's what sets you apart from mere "guitarists."

Derek Trucks is relevant:
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:00 AM   #12
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^ this.

Also ... Good improvisational skill is partly a matter of individuality and partly a matter of accumulating and then tastefully plundering your influences.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slapfunk_101
Hey. I've been playing guitar for a few years now and I find that my blues improv has gotten a bit stale. I know that when soloing for blues one can use both the major and minor pentatonic to spice it up. I was wondering when I can switch between the two mid-solo. Can I do it all willy-nilly and mid-lick? Only on chord changes? If so under what circumstances? I also have heard of people using a mixolodyian (or something) scale in there too... how would I utilize that? Any guidance is appreciated! Thanks.

Yeah you can use Mixolydian scales for each chord. Just listen to some Robben Ford. Getting that sort of stuff sounding fluid and musical takes work. It's a very sophisticated, jazz and fusion like approach to blues style.

It's worth constructing small cells of mixolydian and moving them about until you get comfortable with them.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:36 AM   #14
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The way I remember how to mix the minor pentatonic and natural minor pentatonic scale is first position minor pentatonic scale has the same notes as the 3rd position of the major scale shape but the natural minor scale(which has the same notes as the major scale but starts on a different root note) has 2 additional notes, then mix the 2nd pos minor pentatonic with the 4th major scale shape and so on, hope this makes sense

Last edited by skilly1 : 01-26-2013 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:37 AM   #15
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Of all the styles of music to improvise over, blues is the easiest to get sounding decent at it (which is why every goddamn guitarist on the planet plays it). There's a reason for that.

Honestly, over blues you can play almost any pentatonic scale and a good deal of the modes and still sound good. If a note sounds off, treat it as chromatic and return it back to a familiar point quickly - it'll then sound intentional and often quite cool. After a week or two you will develop a feel for what works and you'll be impressing uninformed bystanders with your "soulful" playing left and right.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sea`
Of all the styles of music to improvise over, blues is the easiest to get sounding decent at it (which is why every goddamn guitarist on the planet plays it). There's a reason for that.

Honestly, over blues you can play almost any pentatonic scale and a good deal of the modes and still sound good. If a note sounds off, treat it as chromatic and return it back to a familiar point quickly - it'll then sound intentional and often quite cool. After a week or two you will develop a feel for what works and you'll be impressing uninformed bystanders with your "soulful" playing left and right.


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Old 01-26-2013, 02:17 PM   #17
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Seems to me that you just need to work on phrasing, IE how your playing your licks and runs.

I, and I'm sure others as well, have fallen into a little hole, where you just tend to play something over and over again. Or at least very similarly.

Scales and all don't really help if you can't apply them on a whim and do so differently to the feel of the song so they don't feel the same every time you play them.
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