#1
Hey guys,

I feel decently good with the minor pentatonic scale and feel like I've come a long way with it. I only know the first three positions of it, but that seems to be good for now. I know where to add blues notes, although I'll admit I'm not as good at using them.

Anyways, what I'm trying to do is combine mixo and blues (or just pentatonic) a bit better. Are there any notes I should pay particular attention to that can help bridge the gap between the two scales? What about notes I should avoid?

I only know the first position of mixo, so I clearly need to learn more. But are there any boxes that are a good combination?

Also, anyone have any suggestions on where to find good blues jazz jam tracks that also show the chords? I guess for now I should really try just the simple 145 or 251 tracks so I can practice without dying.
#2
My advice would be to first solidify the major pentatonic. Then compare that to Mixolydian. Figure out where you typically bend notes etc in major pentatonic and apply that to Mixolydian.

Basically, you should find that Mixolydian simply adds a 2nd degree and the 7th degree of the Mixolydian mode to the major pentatonic.


If you are wanting to combine minor pentatonic and mixolydian, look into the bebop minor scale, aka bebop dorian.
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Last edited by Angusman60 at Jun 4, 2013,
#3
Try using blues notes on your 3rds and 5ths rather than trying to switch between major and minor all the time.

I'd avoid playing blues modally and focus on the chord tones.
#4
Hows your major scale?

I agree that add major pentatonic before you add minor pentatonic. The stuff you hear which you're identfying as a mix of mixolydian and the blues is really probably a combination of major and minor pentatonics.
#5
I can do the first position of the major scale alright, but don't really remember the others.

Although, in terms of major pentatonic, can't I just use the relative major of the minor pentatonic scale and then it's magically major pentatonic?

Speaking of which, I did see some mixing of major and minor pentatonic, notably in some videos by Marty Schwartz describing the 'BB king box'. If you guys are suggesting I mix the two, any good articles on how to do so or good lick examples?
#6
talking about "mixture" makes the concept way more complex than it needs to be. When you play the blues, you're not really using scales to solo, you're playing to or against the chords and chord changes. The idea is Blue Notes, the characteristic sound of blues and jazz music.

A Blue Note is a note a half step below the 3rd of 5th of a major chord. If you're playing blues in A, your chord is A7 - A C# E G - so your Blue Notes are C natural and Eb.

Now, play a plain A7 arpeggio - sounds kinda bluesy. Then, use your blue notes between the actual chord tones (A C-C# Eb-E G). Better yet, do a swingin slide from the blue note to the chord tone. That is the bluesy sound you expect from a guitarist.

---

If you're unfamiliar with chords and arpeggios, go back and make sure you know how to build those chords and play some of those arpeggios before you trek down the scales/modes path. A poor understanding of harmony will severely limit the usefulness of any scale you know.

It sounds like you're learning things through visual patterns rather than by note names and sounds. The major scale contains the same 7 notes in every position, it's no big task to work out every 3-note-per string position for a scale. Really, being able to play all 12 major scales up and down is a pre-requisite for learning modal scales. Make sure you have a solid foundation in the basics first.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 5, 2013,
#7
You're right. I see now that I really should just learn all of the positions of the major scale, since knowing that basically let's me learn all the other scales for free. I never really thought of it that way, that's really neat. Now I realize G mixo is the same as C Ionian and so forth. Thanks for the help.
#8
Sound first. Positions are good, but use them to help you identify the SOUND in a harmonic context (backing chords).

The positions will cause you to develop muscle memory (familiar licks and runs for your fingers). You don't want that, it's not musical.
#9
Well it's OK to have stuff in muscle memory, you just want to have a large vocabulary for your "autopilot". Awesome ideas aren't always just hanging out there waiting for you, but when it's your turn, you gotta play something. Often playing more familiar patterns during improvisation will give you a good launching point for more creative ideas.
#10
Why do people still insist upon learning positions? Learn the intervals! 1, b3, 4, 5, b7 -- there's you minor pentatonic intervals. 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 -- there's your major pentatonic intervals. Learn those properly, and you can know the notes of the scale in any key and anywhere on the guitar (provided you know the notes of the fretboard properly).
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Jun 5, 2013,
#11
I agree that you should learn the intervals. However, I think in a performance situation the positions are easier to recall.
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#12
Positions can be useful for learning and playing (especially if you do classical guitar).

Positions are a technique thing, really. Position defines where you are playing a note, and therefore also the physical locations of all your intervals.

You need to know everything in all positions because certain very common licks/melodies are just a lot easier on some strings/positions than others, and you need to be able to move between them easily for melodic continuity.

Your tone also changes as you move up and down each string, so knowing your scales/arps/chords in all positions makes it much easier to work with your tone by moving up and down individual strings, or changing positions to stay in each string's "sweet spot".
#13
Quote by sarcoplasm
I can do the first position of the major scale alright, but don't really remember the others.


That's pretty odd mate, because mixo plus blues scale = major plus blues scale, except with one more note (maj 7).

I think all these positions and names are mixing you up.

Quote by sarcoplasm
Now I realize G mixo is the same as C Ionian and so forth. Thanks for the help.


Cancel that, I think you think that mixo is a place on the fretboard rather than a unique set of notes. Go back to the start mate.
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#14
Quote by sarcoplasm
I can do the first position of the major scale alright, but don't really remember the others.

Although, in terms of major pentatonic, can't I just use the relative major of the minor pentatonic scale and then it's magically major pentatonic?


First of all, you want to know the positions of the major which correspond to the positions of the minor you're using, so you don't have to move around the neck to switch.

Secondly, yes, the same shape of the minor pentatonic is the major pentatonic for the relative major. (eg, Am pentatonic = same notes as C major pent).


Speaking of which, I did see some mixing of major and minor pentatonic, notably in some videos by Marty Schwartz describing the 'BB king box'. If you guys are suggesting I mix the two, any good articles on how to do so or good lick examples?


Mike Dodge has some good stuff on his website. THere's some on 12bar.de, too.
#15
Yeah I get now how it'd be better to learn each mode's various positions as to be able to play them anywhere on the fretboard. I also understand that there are intervals, and while yes, I could presumably try to only memorize these intervals, but just like a lot of other people said that doesn't seem very beneficial at first (especially when I'm trying to solo, I can't do that type of math in my head quickly). I don't exactly want to make this into a chore, obviously I want to enjoy playing. With that said, I do understand chord makeup and figure that knowledge will help a lot with understanding which scales are good for soloing over which progressions.

Quote by AlanHB
Cancel that, I think you think that mixo is a place on the fretboard rather than a unique set of notes. Go back to the start mate.

While everyone else seemed pretty reasonable, this reply didn't seem helpful at all. Seemed like you're trying to tear me down saying things like 'go back to the start.' No, if I were to go back to the start I'd still be in high school - I don't wanna go back there

But I also wouldn't consider mixolydian a unique set of notes in any way. While it does have a unique sound over certain chords, it also shares the exact same notes as the other modes given the correct key (like I had mentioned)... As far as my math experience goes, two or more sets of the same notes in a sample space pretty much makes each set not unique. Unless: I could understand that maybe you mean it's better to think of it as a the same set of notes but with a different root than the ionian (i.e. a different identifier or index), so that it is easier to emphasize certain notes (depending on the chord), such as the b7 or the unique intervals between certain notes. That would make sense.


Anyways, thanks to everyone for the help. I think everything you guys said seems reasonable and you've corrected a lot of my misinformed thoughts.
Last edited by sarcoplasm at Jun 6, 2013,
#16
Quote by sarcoplasm
Yeah I get now how it'd be better to learn each mode's various positions as to be able to play them anywhere on the fretboard.


Ug. No. You need to understand a scale as a series of notes that each have a unique relationship to the tonic note.

I think your failure to understand this is the cause of your problems. You see, you talk about combining minor pentatonic and mixolydian, but ... what defines mixolydian? No, it's not a shape on a fretboard.

The mixolydian is a major scale with a flat 7. The minor pentatonic also contains a flat 7. But if you're playing over a typical blues progression (eg, that contains a V chord) then you also have the natural 7 - so you're not really mixing mixolydian and minor pent, you're mixing the MAJOR scale and the minor pentatonic.

You need to get away from thinking about shapes beause shapes encourage you to think of all the notes of a scale as being interchangeable "Safe" notes. But they are not. Each note of the scale has its OWN relatonship to the tonic.


I also understand that there are intervals, and while yes, I could presumably try to only memorize these intervals, but just like a lot of other people said that doesn't seem very beneficial at first (especially when I'm trying to solo, I can't do that type of math in my head quickly). I don't exactly want to make this into a chore, obviously I want to enjoy playing.


But it's not math. It's not counting. It's understanding those unique individual relationships on an intuitive level. You should be able to HEAR when you're playing a 6 or when you're playing a b7.

I could understand that maybe you mean it's better to think of it as a the same set of notes but with a different root than the ionian (i.e. a different identifier or index), so that it is easier to emphasize certain notes (depending on the chord), such as the b7 or the unique intervals between certain notes. That would make sense.


Most of the time, there's no need to think of it as a "different set of notes." As the blues example demonstrates, you actually have BOTH the natural and flat 7th scale degrees to play with. You are not restricted to "inside" notes.

That is to say, in the contexts where you think you're playing G mixolydian (G A B C D E F) you're really playing in G major (G A B C D E F#) and using the outside note F natural as an accidental. Which is totally okay and you can do all the time. Thinking of it as a different scale is actually more confusing than edifying.

The point being that you should KNOW when you're playing a b7 and when you're playing a natural 7, and if you don't, that's the problem.
#18
Quote by sarcoplasm

While everyone else seemed pretty reasonable, this reply didn't seem helpful at all. Seemed like you're trying to tear me down saying things like 'go back to the start.'
\

Well, if you don't know all your major scales up and down the neck, learning modes and stuff isn't going to help you do anything. It really is important to make sure you have those fundamentals.

Make sure you can play
-All 12 major scales in all positions
-all the major scale's triads in all positions and inversions (on groups of 3 adjacent strings).

Being able to play chords and melodies/scales in all 12 keys is the Ground Floor of knowing what you're doing as a musician.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 6, 2013,
#19
I get what you guys are saying. When I first made this thread my understanding was different, but now I feel like I understand.

Quote by cdgraves
Well, if you don't know all your major scales up and down the neck, learning modes and stuff isn't going to help you do anything. It really is important to make sure you have those fundamentals.

Make sure you can play
-All 12 major scales in all positions
-all the major scale's triads in all positions and inversions (on groups of 3 adjacent strings).

Being able to play chords and melodies/scales in all 12 keys is the Ground Floor of knowing what you're doing as a musician.


I think it is possible to not know all of the major scales in all positions and still use them to your advantage. I can't learn all scales at once magically perfectly, I need to build them up and learn more as I go. While doing that I can still utilize modes for soloing. Before I was just using blues to solo over things, which was sounding generic. I got mixed up about combining them because of a video I saw.