safehaven
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#1
Hi! I am currently going through a phase where my improvisation is pretty mediocre, but I now understand what I need to do to improve. However, I still need a little guidance on the subject of improvising with the major and minor pentatonics. I've been listening in on my favorite guitarist Slash during his solos while comparing them to both pentatonics and I learned he is pretty much a master at merging those two scales. I do understand it is good to create your own style of playing, but I really want to adopt that idea into my soloing skills because it sounds amazing when done correctly. Does anyone have any tips on how to do this or licks that demonstrate the best way to merge them? I have been playing around with both of the pents in positions 5 to 2 and I haven't seemed to get anything that seems to flow with chord progressions like Slash's solos would. Also, I'm not some guy who hasn't searched other threads before posting here so I didn't find any information I was looking for. Thanks!
HotspurJr
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#2
Three things:

Start by creating your own backing track of chord changes, and then just experiment with switching halfway through. It's a baby step, but I found it helpful.

Second, there are some good lessons on this at mikedodge.com and 12bar.de.

Third, ear training, ear training, ear training.
sweetdude3000
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Join date: Mar 2012
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#3
Quote by safehaven
Hi! I am currently going through a phase where my improvisation is pretty mediocre, but I now understand what I need to do to improve. However, I still need a little guidance on the subject of improvising with the major and minor pentatonics. I've been listening in on my favorite guitarist Slash during his solos while comparing them to both pentatonics and I learned he is pretty much a master at merging those two scales. I do understand it is good to create your own style of playing, but I really want to adopt that idea into my soloing skills because it sounds amazing when done correctly. Does anyone have any tips on how to do this or licks that demonstrate the best way to merge them? I have been playing around with both of the pents in positions 5 to 2 and I haven't seemed to get anything that seems to flow with chord progressions like Slash's solos would. Also, I'm not some guy who hasn't searched other threads before posting here so I didn't find any information I was looking for. Thanks!


Blues you can use is an awesome book with the theory you mentioned and other subjects. Its s steal
safehaven
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#4
Thanks for all the advice you guys are sending! Keep it coming!
cdgraves
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#5
I'd look at it as major/minor chords rather than scales.

The idea of mixing the two is to get the sound of a minor melody against a major chord - the Blue Note. The only time you'll do that is over major or dominant 7 chord.
safehaven
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#6
Quote by cdgraves
I'd look at it as major/minor chords rather than scales.

The idea of mixing the two is to get the sound of a minor melody against a major chord - the Blue Note. The only time you'll do that is over major or dominant 7 chord.


I can understand that, but unless I am wrong (and I can easily be wrong) I have seen the major pentatonic combined with minor pentatonic scales used over various types of progressions regardless of chord use to simply get the affects of a happy, upbeat sound from the major while getting the bluesy, country sound from the minor/blues scales. The reason I say I could be wrong is because I may be referring to Slash and my other favorites using a totally different scale in their solos that may have the notes from the pentatonics combined within them in a different way.
StuartBahn
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Join date: Jun 2012
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#7
A very simple generalisation that's hopefully useful:

mPent over a minor chord = simple minor sound
MajPent over a major chord = simple major sound
mPent over a major (or dominant) chord = bluesy tension

This means that over a major or dominant chord you can use either MajPent for a simple major sound or mPent for a more bluesy sound. You are free to switch between the two, and this is very common.

I suggest you start with just ONE major of minor chord to get familiar. Then, try over a 12 bar blues. For a 12-bar in A, say, you can use A MajPent and/or A mpent.

Regarding the b5 that was mentioned, this absolutely does work well over either major or minor chords, and is very common.

Hope that's helpful.
Stu
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cdgraves
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#8
Quote by safehaven
I can understand that, but unless I am wrong (and I can easily be wrong) I have seen the major pentatonic combined with minor pentatonic scales used over various types of progressions regardless of chord use to simply get the affects of a happy, upbeat sound from the major while getting the bluesy, country sound from the minor/blues scales. The reason I say I could be wrong is because I may be referring to Slash and my other favorites using a totally different scale in their solos that may have the notes from the pentatonics combined within them in a different way.


They aren't really using those scales, is the thing. They're playing with/against the notes in the chords.

If you add up all the notes they play over a particular chord, it'll probably add up to some combination of major and minor pentatonics, but that's not really a useful way of thinking about it when you're playing.
safehaven
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#10
Quote by Sean0913
I would agree with cdgraves. The thing is not so much a "mixture of pentatonics" but skillfull application of inside and outside tones, and chord tone soloing.

Best,

Sean

Ahhhhh... thanks for the advice. I'm not too knowledgable of music theory and I am trying to learn, and this advice made me think of soloing from a totally different perspective. Do you guys have any advice on tonal selection outside of a chord? I guess that is the real question I should have been asking in the first place . It seems like pros always wonder outside of the little template of chord tones that you need to follow in scales. Everytime I spend hours trying to simply train my ear to what sounds good I either get stuck with just maybe one lick that I will constantly repeat over and over for months when I practice my improvs, or I when I finish experimenting I come out of it in worse shape because I thought something sounded good (then it turns out that what I was playing doesnt work when you use the scale that you are supposed to D.
Ignore
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#12
Quote by safehaven
Ahhhhh... thanks for the advice. I'm not too knowledgable of music theory and I am trying to learn, and this advice made me think of soloing from a totally different perspective. Do you guys have any advice on tonal selection outside of a chord? I guess that is the real question I should have been asking in the first place . It seems like pros always wonder outside of the little template of chord tones that you need to follow in scales. Everytime I spend hours trying to simply train my ear to what sounds good I either get stuck with just maybe one lick that I will constantly repeat over and over for months when I practice my improvs, or I when I finish experimenting I come out of it in worse shape because I thought something sounded good (then it turns out that what I was playing doesnt work when you use the scale that you are supposed to D.


Well are you familiar with all your intervals?
You can play every note over everything and it will have a certain sound to it. Know those sounds, and you wont be playing in boxes or scales other then the chromatic scale no more. My advise would be to limit yourself (for a short while) to one place on the guitar, for example where the root of the Key is on the 6th string. And from there you have 2-3 Octaves of notes, more then enough. Now Get your favorite blues records or anything and play the notes and get to know the sound of a 9th(2nd) against the Dominant V Chord and so on. Only through your personal relationship with the music, will you grow, we could tell you throw in a E in a G blues over the IV Chord but it still wouldnt tell you how to use it and make it sound good. And probably the most important part of all, Listen to your heroes and learn that shit by ear. And as you learn it note by note, slowed down if you have to, Analyze what's going on. And as you start to get to know this, you will start to understand the language of that type of music. You will see Traditions and phrases, cliches and uniqueness of Music History. You will become a part of the music. And while your working on this expand over the guitar neck until you can cover the whole thing and not be lost.
Last edited by Ignore at Jun 27, 2013,
metalmetalhead
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#14
Three things:

Start by creating your own backing track of chord changes, and then just experiment with switching halfway through. It's a baby step, but I found it helpful.

Second, there are some good lessons on this at mikedodge.com and 12bar.de.

Third, ear training, ear training, ear training.


Training your ears is the bottom line key to learning to improvise and playing melodies. The rest is foolish, unless you know things like. A simple progression is a good progression. Theres simple backing tracks on youtube you can find what you need. You also need to realize Think in terms of keys.

I'd look at it as major/minor chords rather than scales.

The idea of mixing the two is to get the sound of a minor melody against a major chord - the Blue Note. The only time you'll do that is over major or dominant 7 chord.


Look man. theres 5 scales But your only playing in 1 key. You need to look at the key your playing. major and minor scales are the same when compared to the key your playing in. If you need help navigating learn where the chords are.

C major and A minor have the same notes. So the scales are the same.

If you were to play a song thats in C major you would play the same notes you would if you were to play to a song in A minor.
cdgraves
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#15
Quote by metalmetalhead
Look man. theres 5 scales But your only playing in 1 key. You need to look at the key your playing. major and minor scales are the same when compared to the key your playing in. If you need help navigating learn where the chords are.

C major and A minor have the same notes. So the scales are the same.

If you were to play a song thats in C major you would play the same notes you would if you were to play to a song in A minor.


Did you quote the wrong post?

Either way, looking only at keys is way too shallow to deal with most music. They key is literally nothing more than the chord of resolution. It doesn't tell what you what to play at any given point within a progression, and it certainly does not mean that C major and A minor are the same thing.

Here's a little progression: |C E7 |Am D7 |Dm G7| C C7| Fm Bb7| Eb Ab |Am Dm| G7 C|

It's very obviously in the key of C, but you'll notice that most of the chords fall outside of the 7 notes proscribed by the key signature. Key alone doesn't come close to dealing with this kind of very normal chord progression. You have to play to the chords, not the key.
metalmetalhead
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#16
Quote by cdgraves
Did you quote the wrong post?

Either way, looking only at keys is way too shallow to deal with most music. They key is literally nothing more than the chord of resolution. It doesn't tell what you what to play at any given point within a progression, and it certainly does not mean that C major and A minor are the same thing.

Here's a little progression: |C E7 |Am D7 |Dm G7| C C7| Fm Bb7| Eb Ab |Am Dm| G7 C|

It's very obviously in the key of C, but you'll notice that most of the chords fall outside of the 7 notes proscribed by the key signature. Key alone doesn't come close to dealing with this kind of very normal chord progression. You have to play to the chords, not the key.


Too shallow says who?

Your over complicating it, IF were just talking about the use of the penatonic scales. Starting out simple is always best. The C major and A minor scales both fit each other. So Its no longer The scale you play. but the KEY your playing in.

The progression you picked has An F# and An C# along with Eb and Ab out of key. Its very common for Songs to modulate out of key. You can raise from A to Ab and play your penatonics there for those little parts. But I don't see why this is relevant.

Believe me it doesn't take A fancy progression to write good solos too.

Heres another much simpler common progression for ya |Am G F E|. Theres so many common progressions.
cdgraves
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#17
There's no C# anywhere in the progression. And that progression contains exactly two key changes (C to Fm, Fm to C) and one non-diatonic chord (E7 in C). This isn't any more complex than very basic standards like "Sunny Side of the Street", "All of Me", or "All the Things You Are".

And your example contains a major V in the minor key, which is unaccounted for in both the key signature and the scale of Am. You have to switch it up and play to the E major. If you want to sound good, anyway. At least post an example consistent with the point you're tying to make.

The "key only" approach doesn't even touch basic progressions. The basic sound of ALL western music is complement and contrast between the melody and harmony. Key establishes only one note or chord, nothing else.

Trying to describe a melody as some mish-mash of two scales is far more complicated than saying it's a chord with accidentals. Not to mention chord-tone analysis actually describes what's happening far more precisely than trying to generalize everything into a key or scale because it's necessarily spelling out chords. Key/Scale describes nothing more than the notes that occur in a phrase. It doesn't describe their relationship to the harmony or even to each other.

And you don't have to go "out of key" when you're playing chord tones. That's why it is a superior way of analyzing most music.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jun 27, 2013,
safehaven
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#18
lol, stop debating guys. I have to say though, the chord thing is a little too complicated for me right now, and I already improvise based off of key, not chord changes. I also believe improvising with chord changes is a little too much to think about when it comes to blues/rock n roll (especially when including fast licks). I really don't want to be thinking about what notes I should play from a theoretical aspect (which I feel would be the direction I could be heading with chord change improve), but what I feel are the notes I should play, making the playing more emotional. I really like Ignore's answer though, I just think I need more ear training than anything else.
safehaven
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#19
Quote by safehaven
lol, stop debating guys. I have to say though, the chord thing is a little too complicated for me right now, and I already improvise based off of key, not chord changes. I also believe improvising with chord changes is a little too much to think about when it comes to blues/rock n roll (especially when including fast licks). I really don't want to be thinking about what notes I should play from a theoretical aspect (which I feel would be the direction I could be heading with chord change improve), but what I feel are the notes I should play, making the playing more emotional. I really like Ignore's answer though, I just think I need more ear training than anything else.

However, I did just watch one of the videos posted on this thread and it did talk about the implementation of major or minor scales based on whether or not the chord is major or minor.
Ignore
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#20
What i was saying in my answer was also that you analyze it.
Listen, Soloing off of Chord Tones sounds like a intimidating subject at first but it isnt, it's just as simple as anything, and trust me no good player who is in the moment of his most emotional playing thinks: "Oh let me get that minor 3rd from the 6th Chord, shit, we're in G, now what note makes that?"

But as soon as you get to know these tones, and the principle that all tones are basically "chord tones" they just sound more dissonant and consonant, You will start to know these sounds individually by ear and you wont have to think anymore. Chord tone soloing is a very helpful approach for getting to know each chord and each sound against it. and what makes that chord and its specific sound. This doesnt mean you have to Actively "Change Scales" or think differently while playing.
Get to know each chord's tones and how they relate to the present chord. Ofcourse you would end up MOSTLY resolving on the respective Chord's Root, 3rd, fifth, 7th, 9th, and 13th the most, because they usually sound they way you want to sound like, being consonant to somewhat consonant as they are.
Chord tone soloing is Helpful in Introducing the sounds to you, what the hell you make of it is up to you and will come out in your playing and to you ear INSTINCTIVELY if you keep practicing and really dig in.
A short example would be: in G a blues on the five chord, you really pronounce the A (the chords 5th) and play into the D (The chords Root). You could've found this out by accident, or heard it from muddy waters as well. But if you just analyze it for yourself , which takes like under 1 minute, You'll know what is going on, and why it works and so on. and you also can Identify this as that sound to you ear. Immediately if you hear someone playing those notes over that chord in a similar way, you can instantly hear, Oh, that.
metalmetalhead
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#21
my bad on the C# I guess I made the chord wrong in my head. I see what your saying. But Your over complicating it.

My Major V a G# oh big woop. A harmonic minor works Or A minor. Its also has B and E in there so it really sounds good with a simple approach.
Its that, where ole where has my ole dog gone,
Or in Dm I wont see you tonite by Av7.
Or I was made for loving you by kiss.
A really popular progression, one should have no problem making "sound good". but anyway

key only approach? I restrict myself in no way. But I always acknowledge what key a song is in. I use the chords

If looking at the chord changes helps do it. If you need to analyze the piece that well go for it man. When the music isn't In 1 key so profoundly and your having trouble You'll have to have a deeper look..

The progression still has a Key. I always use my ears. Thats the best way to learn this stuff.
Instead of trying to learn when and where. You play and learn.

You must have certain notes you aim for on chords huh? In Am what do you usually play over the Dm chord? You know you can play many different notes to the same chord don't you?

Lets see the basic progression for the solo rhythm to sweet child of mine

|Em G A C D|

just point out The simple approach. When I first started learning my own improv trying to follow the chords around was misleading. Soloing isn't hard copying other solos isn't either. Its because we have keys and ears.

And you can write kick ass solos with simple simple rhythms. But its always good to expand your knowledge. Id check out the song and if theres chords out of key Id certainly consider that.
cdgraves
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#22
Knowing what chords are happening and what notes are in those chords isn't "over complicating" anything.

Keys and scales are fundamental concepts, but they don't tell what's happening in the music right now, which is what matters when you're improvising. If all you play is bluesy classic rock, sure, key works fine because it's all diatonic 5th chords anyway. But the moment you encounter the other 90% of music that contains actual harmonic progression, key and scale based improvisation is insufficient.
metalmetalhead
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#23
I See your point and I agree. Tho I wouldn't say 90% What music do you mean? Rock in General Is what I prefer to play. Its the best, New rock too. Most of the greatest songs come from Rock N Roll!

But what you say really requires a firm grasp of the fretboard and chord building. And Its a slow road to go down it seems. Thats way I say Its over complicating.

Learning your fret board is the first step. I would suggest playing in C M Am for a while memorizing all the "white notes" And then sharping and flatting any notes from there when thinking about the fret board.

another way to improve on your solos is articulation and dynamics.
Sean0913
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#24
No, I wouldn't agree either. Not 90 percent. In fact even when chords start taking on modal interchange, even though the song is not diatonic any more, use of the same scales, especially 5 note ones, can be made to work, where the scale notes pass like color tones.

You have to be wise to not let your scale sustain on a "color" note.

Best,

Sean
cdgraves
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#25
I never said it was useless, just insufficient.

Many almost-good guitarists develop everything but a comprehensive, integrated approach to soloing that supports a diversity of musical techniques.

We're all talking about the same sets of notes here, the difference is simply in their treatment rhythmically and melodically. Mode/Scale Mixture is an appropriate way to look at it when you play a whole phrase from a particular scale, but it's not so effective when you're using minor scale and color tones consecutively with diatonic tones. It's way to cumbersome to say that you're "changing scales" with every other 8th note. You can't really ascribe a scalar quality to a single note.

If you play a major arpeggio in swing 8ths, approaching each note from a half step below, you're technically playing a diminished scale or switching rapidly between minor to major, but the sound is most definitely a bluesy/jazzy major arpeggio.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 1, 2013,