#1
So I've recently learned the minor pentatonic scale, and I like practicing these up the neck through every fourth fret. And sometimes, I get these flashes of brilliance while playing that I burst off into a quick pentatonic solo-like thing where I have a few notes that sound amazing, just the way I want them to, but when I consciously try to replicate them, I fail miserably. Any suggestions for how to improve my playing over the pentatonic? (I know the notes on the fretboard (5th fret on the A-string is D and all that).

Thanks in advance,
cheers!
#2
Jam over some backing tracks There's tons on Youchoob
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#3
Learning notes on the guitar is very useful, and knowing where each octave is from a certain note is important too. Then you you see how the pattern in the 5 notes in the scale repeats after every octave.
Try to learn how to visualize the fretboard with markers where the notes from the pentatonic scale finds place, because then you know what notes to play and which not to play. Keep in mind it can be very cool to mix the pentatonic scale with the blues scale by adding a note between the fourth and fifth note in the scale (minor pentatonic is what I had in mind).
#4
Thanks for the jam tracks suggestion! I tried one in the key of A today, but kept myself only to the A-major, minor and 6th string barre, along with the 5th position pentatonic, but it helped, TREMENDOUSLY! I plan to keep this jam track thing up, thank you!
#5
Quote by JB95
Learning notes on the guitar is very useful, and knowing where each octave is from a certain note is important too. Then you you see how the pattern in the 5 notes in the scale repeats after every octave.
Try to learn how to visualize the fretboard with markers where the notes from the pentatonic scale finds place, because then you know what notes to play and which not to play. Keep in mind it can be very cool to mix the pentatonic scale with the blues scale by adding a note between the fourth and fifth note in the scale (minor pentatonic is what I had in mind).

If you're going to do that you may as well experiment with every possible interval, not just the tritone that the blues scale adds, as you can get some really nice sounds from accidentals provided you use them properly. I know it sounds a bit beyond someone who's *just* learned the minor pentatonic scale but it's a great way to get a feel for what always works, what sometimes works and what never works.

The way I see it the pentatonic is your safety net - it's like a breadcrumb trail that you can venture off whenever you want. You occasionally find goodies, and sometimes you find disaster, but you can always wander back to the safety of the pentatonic. If you're not playing in front of anyone and just sat in your room playing to backing tracks, and you hit a really nasty note, you'll eventually learn that it's probably best not to play that note over that chord :P
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
Last edited by llBlackenedll at Jan 13, 2012,
#6
Well, you pretty much managed to sum up what happens to me when I try to go beyond the pentatonic, but is there any link on the UG forums/lessons which will help me understand more about the tritones/accidentals you speak of so that the next time I venture off the pentatonic I know what I'm playing, and not just randomly stumbling on a 'goodie', as you so call it?
#7
Quote by narinderkapur
Well, you pretty much managed to sum up what happens to me when I try to go beyond the pentatonic, but is there any link on the UG forums/lessons which will help me understand more about the tritones/accidentals you speak of so that the next time I venture off the pentatonic I know what I'm playing, and not just randomly stumbling on a 'goodie', as you so call it?


A lot of it is down to experimentation and getting your ears used to the sounds of each interval after playing the root note. The best thing to do is to read up about intervals, and to train your ear to hear different intervals (so I guess just search UG lessons for intervals..). It's good to have a basis for this sort of stuff early on as you'll be able to understand things and play them by ear far easier than someone who never invested the time into it. I never did this for the first few years of me learning guitar, and it's one of my biggest regrets. I'd also recommend trying to learn stuff by ear (either licks or solos or whatever you want) but while working them out, also thinking about what the interval is between each note, or even (when you start learning chord theory, which is insanely important) what the arpeggio is. If you get it to the point where it's second nature, you'll literally be able to just imagine a solo and play it exactly as intended. Just a quick pointer with accidentals - they often don't sound good at all if you sustain them for too long, they pretty much always have to resolve to something or it can sound nasty. A good way to do it is to slide or hammer from the out of place note to a safe one, e.g. in the case of a minor scale, from the major 7th to the octave. That's why the tritone in the blues scale often sounds weird on its own and needs to resolve to one of the nearby notes; you'll often hear the 3 notes played consecutively (so in the case of the Am pentatonic, playing 5-6-7 on the A string).

Another thing you should try doing is playing along to backing tracks but using only a couple of notes from the pentatonic to see how much mileage you can get out of them. It's really important to work on both rhythm and phrasing, and it stops you from falling into that trap of just playing random notes as fast as you can.

I hope this has been somewhat helpful - I try to give people advice that I wish I'd listened to when I started out.

Also just a quick point - "tritones" and "accidentals" are different terms that mean different things (although in most cases a tritone is an accidental) - a tritone means that the interval has a gap of 3 whole tones and sits between the perfect 4th and the perfect 5th. An accidental is a note that doesn't belong in the current key signature you're playing, but CAN sound really good if used in the right place at the right time.
ESP Horizon FR II (EMG) / Ibanez Prestige RG1570 (DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups)
Last edited by llBlackenedll at Jan 13, 2012,
#8
Hmm. I've started taking the guitar seriously in the last couple of months, and I don't want to be a Satriani or a Vai, or even a Jimmy Page for that matter. Just get down and play in a band, you know? But yeah, I stuck on from day one that it's going to take a LOT of effort, so I've dedicated it in. In that aspect, therefore, thanks a lot for the advice, I'll definitely keep it in mind. And thanks to your response, I'm going to go and learn the major scale on all six strings. Just one position, to start out with. And yes, I try to use my ear wherever possible, I read the advantages of it on a UG lesson itself.

Once again, thank you!