#1
Wankin' on the pentatonic is not working for me. I've been doing this for the last couple months or so, and in the beginning, it all just sounded bluesy. I threw in the bends, I used different shapes, tried backing tracks, most of that crap. In the beginning, all I could get was this sort of bluesy sound, both rhythmwise and notewise. I thought you know, maybe give it a while, it'll sound metal, but nope, to this day, no metal has shown it's face. I don't know what's wrong. Is it how I'm using the scale? Do I need a different scale? This is getting terribly frustrating. I mean, blues are awesome, don't get me wrong, but I'm falling into it when I don't want to. Help?
#2
Listen to some metal songs you like and figure out how they use the pentatonic. Kirk Hammett uses it alot. You can also learn the minor or harmonic minor scales, both of which are very popular in metal.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
IMO do what Alan said.

Also try this (it works for me). Try not thinking so much in terms of following the scales shape but following the chord progression you are soloing over. Use the notes to try to elude to the chords more. I think the problem comes in when you try to generate a solo based off of a scale you get confined in a little box. Pick out selected notes you want to emphasize (usually your progression) and build little flashy bits around them with transitions to the next section of emphasis. Also try to remember that you have notes all over the fretboard don't stay stuck in one little box on a single position.

Ok I am doing a horrible job explaIning.

Check out Marty friedmans lead instructional videos on YouTube he gives great examples of what I am trying to say
Last edited by Dangertux at Apr 4, 2011,
#4
Hmm.... I'll try that stuff, guys. I can play solos and crap, like Ozzy stuff and that kind of thing, but I can't seem to improv in a metal style. Should I just play more, or what? I definitely listen to a lot of metal, but I still can't get the style.
#5
try to isolate a few metal licks you like and changing the key they are in so they fit in the one you are using. or try to phrase the licks a little differently....

clearly if you have learned the solos then you know the licks and really sounding like a certian style is just knowing the right style of licks....
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#8
Quote by Sean0913
Learn the natural minor scale and harmonic minor scale and work with those.

Best,

Sean


Sweet. Thanks.
#9
man im having the same problem but rhey way im trying to fix it is variating fingerings and moving frets in the middle of the scale also im trying to memorize new modes of the major and minor scales
#10
Learn the Natural Minor scale

Learn metal songs

Observe how the Pentatonic scale is used in these songs.

IMO the Minor scales sound more inherently "metal" if you're just noodling around
I hate my sig
#11
Quote by Apples on Cacti
Wankin' on the pentatonic is not working for me. I've been doing this for the last couple months or so, and in the beginning, it all just sounded bluesy. I threw in the bends, I used different shapes, tried backing tracks, most of that crap. In the beginning, all I could get was this sort of bluesy sound, both rhythmwise and notewise. I thought you know, maybe give it a while, it'll sound metal, but nope, to this day, no metal has shown it's face. I don't know what's wrong. Is it how I'm using the scale? Do I need a different scale? This is getting terribly frustrating. I mean, blues are awesome, don't get me wrong, but I'm falling into it when I don't want to. Help?


Music is more than the techniques used to play it, or the fancy words used to describe it.

instead of wanking on some scale, how bout learning some actual music 1st. Cut your teeth on that a bit.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 4, 2011,
#12
I remember when I used to post threads like this

.........good times
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I pretty much never leave the drug thread anymore.
#14
Yeah I'd get out of the pentatonic ASAP. It's a good starting point but metal (along with most other progressive genres) are characterized by creating, maintaining, and resolving tension/dissonance, and the pentatonic is diametrically opposed to that concept by eliminating almost any possibility of dissonance. The pentatonic works for blues because dissonance is less emphasized, although most "good" blues musicians still use certain dissonant elements (raised thirds, primarily, but that's not all).

Learn your natural minor scale (harmonic would be good too, but one step at a time) and work on that, those two extra notes do a LOT to help you create tension. Learn where your root notes are so you know where to go to resolve a lick, and where not to go when you're trying to build tension. As others have said, dissecting your progressions, figuring out which notes are being played in each chord, and modeling your licks around those notes will be immensely beneficial for you.

This is a realization I have come to recently that has skyrocketed my soloing ability... before you know where the notes on the neck are, and utilize that knowledge to get the most out of your chord progressions, you're simply guessing. By using the scales more, you can get better at guessing, but the fundamental knowledge of why you're doing what you're doing is still lacking, and is very narrow. What I mean by this is that you can only apply it to familiar situations, and your playing will eventually sound stale and one-dimensional. Moreover, when you guess like this, you're not getting the most out of your practice. Once you KNOW where the notes are, you can...

1. Figure out exactly why something you did sounded good.
2. Use that knowledge to apply it to other keys, other areas of the fretboard, and other licks.
3. Expand on your licks using those new concepts.
4. Eliminate guesswork and get the most out of your practicing.
5. Know exactly where to go on the fretboard to create tension AND to resolve it, at any time, no matter where you are vertically or horizontally.
6. Feel more confident using the ultimate dissonance creators - non diatonic notes, because you will begin to learn what they sound like in the context of a scale, and, similar to the diatonic notes, you'll know where to go to find specific ones.

My problem for the longest time was that my licks sounded too much like scales because I didn't know where the notes were and it was dangerous for me to venture outside the scales because I had no idea what would come out of my amp. Once I started learning the notes on the neck and what certain intervals sounded like my lick vocabulary expanded exponentially, more than I can possibly describe in words, in less than a month. It is hands down one of the best things you can do for yourself as an improvising guitarist, so I highly recommend getting to it as soon as possible. Have fun and happy playing!
Last edited by pbskl at Apr 4, 2011,
#15
Quote by pbskl
Yeah I'd get out of the pentatonic ASAP. It's a good starting point but metal (along with most other progressive genres) are characterized by creating, maintaining, and resolving tension/dissonance, and the pentatonic is diametrically opposed to that concept by eliminating almost any possibility of dissonance. The pentatonic works for blues because dissonance is less emphasized, although most "good" blues musicians still use certain dissonant elements (raised thirds, primarily, but that's not all).

Learn your natural minor scale (harmonic would be good too, but one step at a time) and work on that, those two extra notes do a LOT to help you create tension. Learn where your root notes are so you know where to go to resolve a lick, and where not to go when you're trying to build tension. As others have said, dissecting your progressions, figuring out which notes are being played in each chord, and modeling your licks around those notes will be immensely beneficial for you.

This is a realization I have come to recently that has skyrocketed my soloing ability... before you know where the notes on the neck are, and utilize that knowledge to get the most out of your chord progressions, you're simply guessing. By using the scales more, you can get better at guessing, but the fundamental knowledge of why you're doing what you're doing is still lacking, and is very narrow. What I mean by this is that you can only apply it to familiar situations, and your playing will eventually sound stale and one-dimensional. Moreover, when you guess like this, you're not getting the most out of your practice. Once you KNOW where the notes are, you can...

1. Figure out exactly why something you did sounded good.
2. Use that knowledge to apply it to other keys, other areas of the fretboard, and other licks.
3. Expand on your licks using those new concepts.
4. Eliminate guesswork and get the most out of your practicing.
5. Know exactly where to go on the fretboard to create tension AND to resolve it, at any time, no matter where you are vertically or horizontally.
6. Feel more confident using the ultimate dissonance creators - non diatonic notes, because you will begin to learn what they sound like in the context of a scale, and, similar to the diatonic notes, you'll know where to go to find specific ones.

My problem for the longest time was that my licks sounded too much like scales because I didn't know where the notes were and it was dangerous for me to venture outside the scales because I had no idea what would come out of my amp. Once I started learning the notes on the neck and what certain intervals sounded like my lick vocabulary expanded exponentially, more than I can possibly describe in words, in less than a month. It is hands down one of the best things you can do for yourself as an improvising guitarist, so I highly recommend getting to it as soon as possible. Have fun and happy playing!



wow, thank you for posting this, it makes alot of sense to me
#16
Quote by pbskl
Yeah I'd get out of the pentatonic ASAP.


I'm sure you realise that all you're doing is adding two extra notes.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#17
Quote by AlanHB
I'm sure you realise that all you're doing is adding two extra notes.


Serious question: Did you read this first sentence, immediately stop reading, and reply to it without taking into consideration whatsoever the other 98% of my post? In the FIRST LINE of the VERY NEXT paragraph I say "those two extra notes do a lot to help you create dissonance", because they do... the pentatonic removes those notes precisely in order to avoid almost any possibility of dissonance. That's the point. Furthermore, when you're only using 5 notes, adding 2 increases your choices by almost 50%, so I don't understand why you feel the need to ride my ass over such a trivial point.

Believe me, I'm not trying to claim that I'm super knowledgeable about theory, or guitar generally. By my estimation, I'm just barely crossing the threshold over to an intermediate player, honestly. However, I'd really appreciate it if you gave other people a LITTLE more credit and actually read their post before immediately making a condescending remark like that. I don't venture into any territory I'm not 100% confident I know. I don't say anything like "mOdez are teh key u can only be gud if u do modez lol otherwize u a noob lolz". I stick to basic ideas: Learn the natural minor, and eventually the harmonic minor, because these scales are more versatile than the pentatonic. Learn the notes on the neck because it is almost universally accepted as one of the most critical steps to becoming a competent improviser.

You have personally helped me in several other threads with topics I'm NOT sure about, so I'm not trying to start a big fight. Maybe you're just having a bad day. But please, at least READ someone's post before belittling them over a minor point made in the very first sentence.
Last edited by pbskl at Apr 5, 2011,
#18
Quote by pbskl
Yeah I'd get out of the pentatonic ASAP. It's a good starting point but metal (along with most other progressive genres) are characterized by creating, maintaining, and resolving tension/dissonance, and the pentatonic is diametrically opposed to that concept by eliminating almost any possibility of dissonance.



the pentatonic scales are definitely used/usable in metal. And they were not invented for the purpose of avoiding the dissonant notes found in diatonic scales.

also I disagree with your characterization of metal. As if creating and resolving dissonance is unique to Metal and not found in a majority of music.... ALL music.... ALL styles. (including music that utilizes pentatonic scales)

Quote by pbskl
before you know where the notes on the neck are, and utilize that knowledge to get the most out of your chord progressions, you're simply guessing.



Not if you're listening.

Through experience people generally develop an aural knowledge. These people don't guess. They are capable of making conscious choices when it comes to chord progressions. (or melodies).

Don't get me wrong. Knowing the layout of your chosen instrument is something most people will want/need to learn. But you can play without that knowledge.... and you can definitely "get your metal on".
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Apr 5, 2011,
#19
What if you learned the minor scale/harmonic minor scale within the pentatonic pattern? Is that a problem? Because I do this like so:

e|----------------------------------------------------------------------12--14--15-
B|-------------------------------------------------------12--13--15----------------
G|---------------------------------------11--12--14--------------------------------
D|------------------------------12--14----------------------------------------------
A|----------------12--14--15-------------------------------------------------------
E|-12--14--15----------------------------------------------------------------------

Now when i play the those scales in a similar pattern to the pentatonic scale, it just sounds and feels just the pentatonic scale.
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#20
Quote by GuitarMunky
the pentatonic scales are definitely used/usable in metal. And they were not invented for the purpose of avoiding the dissonant notes found in diatonic scales.


Uhm... well it removes the two notes that are the "least safe" of the seven. It might have been a little strong to say the pentatonic is there to avoid ALL possibility of dissonance, but it SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the options for it. And if the point isn't to reduce the chances of "poor" note choice, what is?

also I disagree with your characterization of metal. As if creating and resolving dissonance is unique to Metal and not found in a majority of music.... ALL music.... ALL styles. (including music that utilizes pentatonic scales)


I also said it is characteristic of the majority of other genres. I said "metal" because that's what he's trying to play, but I did offer in the parenthesis the clarification that it is not unique to that genre. Yes, the pentatonic can be used in metal, but I'd hardly say it's ideal. I may have oversimplified, but I think the general message is pretty sound. If the pentatonic isn't working for him, natural minor would probably be a logical next step.

Not if you're listening.

Through experience people generally develop an aural knowledge. These people don't guess. They are capable of making conscious choices when it comes to chord progressions. (or melodies).

Don't get me wrong. Knowing the layout of your chosen instrument is something most people will want/need to learn.


Alright, so you called me on a slight oversimplification again. I don't understand why this forum is so damn nitpicky. He's trying to see progress SOON. Yes, you will develop an aural sense over time, but that's clearly not happening fast enough for him (or anyone for that matter) because it takes a LONG time and a LOT of experience, to be able to develop and apply an innate aural sense. You know what would be a lot quicker, and furthermore, would help him develop that same aural sense WAY sooner? Learning the notes on the neck. Then you know which notes you're playing that create the aural distinctions and intervals you hear, and can therefore begin to recognize and utilize them more quickly and effectively. It may not eliminate guesswork in the long term, but it sure as hell does so in the short term, allowing him to achieve that long term goal of complete familiarity with the fretboard and note relationships sooner, which is EXACTLY WHAT I SAID IT WOULD DO. So, effectively, you have called me out on three relatively insignificant facets of my post and completely ignored the fact that overall message I created is entirely valid and will undoubtedly help him become a better guitarist much more quickly.

And what was the outcome of my horribly misleading advice!? The TS found it to be both clear and applicable to his problem so now he's gonna learn more practical scales and his notes on the neck!? OH MY GOD! Someone gag this outspoken knave, post-haste!

I'm done defending myself, but don't worry, I'll sure think twice before I try and help someone out again.
Last edited by pbskl at Apr 5, 2011,
#21
Quote by pbskl

*long justified rant*


+1

This guy just gave the best advice in this thread and your f*cking with him? Have the Musician Talk really become this full of themselves?

//Muffinz
You'll Never Walk Alone!
#22
Quote by Muffinz
+1

This guy just gave the best advice in this thread and your f*cking with him? Have the Musician Talk really become this full of themselves?

//Muffinz



not "f*cking with".... just disagreeing. that's okay on a public forum isn't it?
and disagreeing with someone isn't a sign of being full of yourself.
shred is gaudy music
#23
Quote by pbskl
Uhm... well it removes the two notes that are the "least safe" of the seven. It might have been a little strong to say the pentatonic is there to avoid ALL possibility of dissonance, but it SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the options for it. And if the point isn't to reduce the chances of "poor" note choice, what is?


I also said it is characteristic of the majority of other genres. I said "metal" because that's what he's trying to play, but I did offer in the parenthesis the clarification that it is not unique to that genre. Yes, the pentatonic can be used in metal, but I'd hardly say it's ideal. I may have oversimplified, but I think the general message is pretty sound. If the pentatonic isn't working for him, natural minor would probably be a logical next step.


Alright, so you called me on a slight oversimplification again. I don't understand why this forum is so damn nitpicky. He's trying to see progress SOON. Yes, you will develop an aural sense over time, but that's clearly not happening fast enough for him (or anyone for that matter) because it takes a LONG time and a LOT of experience, to be able to develop and apply an innate aural sense. You know what would be a lot quicker, and furthermore, would help him develop that same aural sense WAY sooner? Learning the notes on the neck. Then you know which notes you're playing that create the aural distinctions and intervals you hear, and can therefore begin to recognize and utilize them more quickly and effectively. It may not eliminate guesswork in the long term, but it sure as hell does so in the short term, allowing him to achieve that long term goal of complete familiarity with the fretboard and note relationships sooner, which is EXACTLY WHAT I SAID IT WOULD DO. So, effectively, you have called me out on three relatively insignificant facets of my post and completely ignored the fact that overall message I created is entirely valid and will undoubtedly help him become a better guitarist much more quickly.

And what was the outcome of my horribly misleading advice!? The TS found it to be both clear and applicable to his problem so now he's gonna learn more practical scales and his notes on the neck!? OH MY GOD! Someone gag this outspoken knave, post-haste!

I'm done defending myself, but don't worry, I'll sure think twice before I try and help someone out again.



Youre absolutely right here, and please dont stop, you've got a lot on the ball here and most people see that very well.

Stay strong brother, push ahead. There are plenty of us that are out here supporting what you are doing with this.

Mod's please, lets close this. The TS has absolutely had their question answered in a million ways, and all this thread is doing now is inviting unwanted debates.

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Apr 5, 2011,
#24
Put some passing notes in. I use a lot of fast legato licks to get a metal sound.
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#25
Quote by pbskl

Someone gag this outspoken knave, post-haste!

I'm done defending myself, but don't worry, I'll sure think twice before I try and help someone out again.


yeah like sean said, don't worry, the people who read this and want to give or look for sound and practical advice, like you gave, appreciate it. sure as hell beats those sweeping, over reaching and meaningless statements, usually in capitals for EXTRA effect/condescending tone.

also, nice quote!
Last edited by gavk at Apr 5, 2011,
#26
Quote by pbskl
Serious question: Did you read this first sentence, immediately stop reading, and reply to it without taking into consideration whatsoever the other 98% of my post? In the FIRST LINE of the VERY NEXT paragraph I say "those two extra notes do a lot to help you create dissonance", because they do... the pentatonic removes those notes precisely in order to avoid almost any possibility of dissonance. That's the point. Furthermore, when you're only using 5 notes, adding 2 increases your choices by almost 50%, so I don't understand why you feel the need to ride my ass over such a trivial point.


Well correct me if I'm incorrect, but dissonance is created by the combination of notes pushing towards a resolution. So lets say we have a song in C minor, and you play a Bb over the C minor chord, dissonance is created, wanting to push the Bb towards the C minor so that it can resolve.

But this argument is non-existant if you believe that pentatonic scales remove all dissonance, as Bb is part of the C minor pentatonic scale.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#27
Quote by AlanHB
Well correct me if I'm incorrect, but dissonance is created by the combination of notes pushing towards a resolution. So lets say we have a song in C minor, and you play a Bb over the C minor chord, dissonance is created, wanting to push the Bb towards the C minor so that it can resolve.

But this argument is non-existant if you believe that pentatonic scales remove all dissonance, as Bb is part of the C minor pentatonic scale.



Hmm .. I believe the major and minor pentatonic scales reduce dissonance by removing the tritone ... in C major F & B; in C minor D & Ab.

The harmonic minor scale has two tritones .. in C minor D & Ab then F & B natural ... probably why it is popular in metal.

But crafty use of dissonance in any genre is important -- or else you get New Age music ....

As for the OP -- don't forget pinch harmonics ... very metal!
#29
Quote by Zen Skin
Hmm .. I believe the major and minor pentatonic scales reduce dissonance by removing the tritone ... in C major F & B; in C minor D & Ab.


So you would argue that no dissonance is created at all by say, playing a D note over an A minor chord?
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#30
Quote by AlanHB
So you would argue that no dissonance is created at all by say, playing a D note over an A minor chord?

Uhm... well it removes the two notes that are the "least safe" of the seven. It might have been a little strong to say the pentatonic is there to avoid ALL possibility of dissonance, but it SIGNIFICANTLY reduces the options for it. And if the point isn't to reduce the chances of "poor" note choice, what is?


Just to bring back the earlier poster's idea.
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#31
1) learn the major scale
2) learn how to use it and create chord progressions and shred in the major scale rather than just pentatonic
3) use some "blue notes" once in a while, not too much or u'll sound too bluesy
4) add in a lotta chromatics, metalheads love half steps ever since the main riff to smoke on the water
5) learn the relative minor scale and how it relates to the major scale
6) learn the harmonic minor scale, this could come in handy in future song-writing.
7) this is really useless to most guitarists, but if ur playing true metal, u gotta learn a wee bit about modes...if ur not getting it, its not for u, so forget it, modes are kinda weird and the average hal leonard book does a HORRIBLE job of teaching them, and we get enough questions here "how do i use modes? they're so important to me!" when truth is they're not that beneficial. just learn some of the essential metal modes and how to use them in songs and chord progressions and u should be fine.
8) tune to drop D, palm-mute some power chords (which in drop D is just barring the low 3 strings on the same fret), make a progression/vamp/whatever that uses what you've been learning, and u have the rhythm guitar part to your first metal song.
9) learn sweep picking and apply it to some arppegios for your lead part.
10) you now have the shredding lead part to your first metal song, now contact a bassist and drummer to finish it (generally the drummer is playing "blast beats" and the bassist is using a pick, make sure they both know what they're doing. if they choose otherwise because picking root notes and blasting a double bass drum in your face just isn't their style, let them express that creative choice.)
11) now u can easily write some metal. continue to learn different guitar styles like blues, jazz, classical, and prog rock, that'll all help u grow into a better and better metal guitarist, and if you're gonna be a true face-melting shredder, learn more speedy techniques and crazy things shredders do. piano-tapping is a great one, i've seen it used more often in different styles but it sounds like with some distortion it'd work great for metal too.
12) melt some faces, and hopefully mature as a musician to the point where u can play in bands that are not just metal because a) you appreciate that music and b) u know how to play that music at least decently. not implying u dont meet those requirements already, im just making sure cuz nobody likes a metal-head who ONLY plays metal guitar...
#32
Quote by Hail
Just to bring back the earlier poster's idea.


Well let's have new progression in A minor.

It goes Am - G - F - Am. Over the Am I play A. Over the G I play B. Over the F I play F.

I have now played the A minor scale with zero dissonance in the lead I have played.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#33
Quote by AlanHB
So you would argue that no dissonance is created at all by say, playing a D note over an A minor chord?


That's a good question and it leads down a path to way more theory than I know. On the one hand it is a subdominant and wants to resolve to the C or the E. On the other hand it is in perfect concordance with the root note.

I would compare D over an A min chord to Eb. The Eb creates real dissonance (again, it is a tritone away from A) and Eb to D or Eb to E is a common movement from the "blue" note to resolution.

So there is dissonance in the music theoretical sense (a tritone, minor 2nd, major 7th) and then there is tension, which is a broader concept.

Maybe someone who knows more theory can explain what sort of cadence Asus4 to Amin is, if it is one at all.
#34
Quote by AlanHB
So you would argue that no dissonance is created at all by say, playing a D note over an A minor chord?



You mean A Major right?

as in the C# to D - minor 2nd "clash"?

If not, you lost me. Not saying it can't happen but I usually follow people well here.

You tricky devil!

Sean
#35
Quick lesson on dissonances:

All 2nds,7ths, in most cases 4ths, all diminished + augmented intervals.

Consonances - Major and minor thirds, perfect 5ths, perfect unisons/octaves.

Pentatonic scales leave out the harsher dissonances, minor 2nds and major 7ths.
#36
Quote by Sean0913
If not, you lost me. Not saying it can't happen but I usually follow people well here.


My failure to explain only reveals that I don't know the subject matter well enough to be able to express it in colloquial language. (Cries in corner).
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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