Where To Start With Soloing

author: UG Team date: 07/31/2003 category: soloing
rating: 6.6 / votes: 67 
I thought it might be a good idea to post an article to help people get started on the road to (nearly) simple guitar improvisation. I've seen a lot of article telling people to start by learning major scales, but in my opinion there is an easier way to get started, Pentatonic scales. As most people who have been playing for a while will tell you, one of the most fundamental things to learn in improvisation is the blues. Coincidentally, which scale is one of the best to use when playing the blues, you gessued it, the Pentatonic. So, I'll give you a simple explanation. Pentatonics are based around the notes of the major scale, however, each Pentatonic scale contains only 5 notes, the 1st 2nd 3rd 5th and 6th notes of the major scale. Also, to make it even easier, we can take these notes and form them into a repeating pattern on the fretboard of your guitar, such a pattern is frequently called a "Scale Pattern." Here is the one for the Pentatonic Major Scale:
nut 
E | - | - | O | - | - | O | 
A | - | - | O | - | O | - | 
D | - | - | O | - | O | - | 
G | - | - | O | - | O | - | 
B | - | - | O | - | - | O | 
E | - | - | O | - | - | O |
So, the scale pattern above would be for the G Pentatonic Major. Now if you look closely you will notice that the low E string is fretted at the 3rd fret, which is a G. So, from this we can learn that if we move the same pattern up and down the neck, the scale we are playing in is the same as the first note fretted on the E string. For example, if I were to move the scale up so the first note on the low E string were an A (5th fret) then I would be playing A Pentatonic Major. So, all you have to do is practice learning where the notes are in the pattern, then you can start jamming along to your favourite songs, just move the same pattern up or down the fretboard until you are in the right key, and all the notes which you are playing will fit in perfectly with the song. One other thing to mention, as I said before, is that the Pentatonic scales arre best used for blues style songs. However, they are also used extensively in most types of modern rock music. So what are you waiting for, get jamming.
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