Merry Christmas everyone!

I'm sure you guys are enjoying Christmas but its a very gloomy time for me. I'm in need of some guidance. Whenever(every time!!) I pick up the guitar I always tend to play the minor pentatonic scale like a robot. Don't get me wrong I'm so familiar with it that when I hear a song with those notes most of the time I imagine myself playing the exact same notes on the fretboard in my head. It has been beneficial in terms of ear training but my improvisation has gone down the drain and these days I just get bored after a bit of jamming.

So I'm kindly asking for some advice from your experience because I really want to achieve more!

Thank you!
Have you tried learning the major and minor scale? (I'm going to use the intervals to describe them, so if you don't know much about intervals...read this.) The major scale goes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7. In C major, that would be: C, D, E, F, G, A, & B. The minor scale goes: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, & b7. In C minor, that would be: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, & Bb.

So, using the intervals, you can pick any key and just "fill in" the notes for that key.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Dec 23, 2013,
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Have you tried learning the major and minor scale? (I'm going to use the intervals to describe them, so if you don't know much about intervals...read this.) The major scale goes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7. In C major, that would be: C, D, E, F, G, A, & B. The minor scale goes: 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, & b7. In C minor, that would be: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, & Bb.

So, using the intervals, you can pick any key and just "fill in" the notes for that key.

Thanks for the quick reply! Sorry I didn't quite understand the term "fill in", could you explain it?
Thank you!
Quote by f00tballfever
Thanks for the quick reply! Sorry I didn't quite understand the term "fill in", could you explain it?
Thank you!

Well, my examples were using C major and C minor, right? What would the notes be in A major? What about in F#minor? And so on. The interval formulas allow you to simply the key, which is always the first interval, and then add the rest of the notes. Make sense?
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Well, my examples were using C major and C minor, right? What would the notes be in A major? What about in F#minor? And so on. The interval formulas allow you to simply the key, which is always the first interval, and then add the rest of the notes. Make sense?

Oh! so if I were to play C major scale and came upon the note D I can use certain notes from the D scale?
Quote by f00tballfever
Oh! so if I were to play C major scale and came upon the note D I can use certain notes from the D scale?

No.

Let's assume a song is in the key of D major, right? So, it has a basic chord progression.

D G A D (repeating continually)

Assuming you want to play the major scale over this progression and knowing the song is in the key of D major, what are the notes you can play? Use the formula: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7. Obviously, the first note is D. What are the other notes?

Remember; for this exercise, we're ONLY using the major scale. So, you ONLY have 7 notes, and I've already given you the first note.
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
No.

Let's assume a song is in the key of D major, right? So, it has a basic chord progression.

D G A D (repeating continually)

Assuming you want to play the major scale over this progression and knowing the song is in the key of D major, what are the notes you can play? Use the formula: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7. Obviously, the first note is D. What are the other notes?

Remember; for this exercise, we're ONLY using the major scale. So, you ONLY have 7 notes, and I've already given you the first note.

I IV V VIII right?
look man, you want to go past the the minor pent ? then just do it, listen to music that doesnt only use those minor pent notes. We got 12 fretted notes on our fretboard, thats a load of different sounds, learn about harmonic environments. Learn about intervals, it'll make stuff easier, that is if you are a person who wants an "explanation going further then the sounds". Some people dont need that.
Quote by f00tballfever
I IV V VIII right?

No, those are the chords. (Although, it's actually I, IV, V, I in my example.) I'm asking, what are the notes of the D major scale? I'll give you another hint. The second note is E.
So...we have: D, E, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7. What are notes 3 through 7?
Oops i thought u asked for the profression. F# G A B C# D are the notes.
Hey ignore, Im all in for trying to learn things by ear too but for now Im just trying to get some advice on getting out of the habit of playing same thing over and over again. When it comes to transcribing blues its just fine but when actually trying to improvise i tend to repeat things alot so advise is all im looking for 😊👍
Quote by f00tballfever
Oops i thought u asked for the profression. F# G A B C# D are the notes.

Correct!
TS, it's not the minor pentatonic that is the problem. Many great guitarists have forged a career out of it.

Study phrasing. The best way to study phrasing is to transcribe. With phrasing, think in rhythm, how to group notes together, their duration etc.
Quote by mdc
TS, it's not the minor pentatonic that is the problem. Many great guitarists have forged a career out of it.

Study phrasing. The best way to study phrasing is to transcribe. With phrasing, think in rhythm, how to group notes together, their duration etc.

This. You don't need more notes or scales. They won't make you a better player. Of course you shouldn't feel limited to just pentatonic so of course learn the other 7 notes too (learn their sound). But the thing is, there are just 12 notes. It's not all about the notes you play, it's about how you play them.

What has helped me is thinking in scale degrees. First learn the major scale - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Other scales can be derived from the major scale by flattening or raising the notes. For example you get the minor scale from that just by flattening the third, sixth and seventh.

Oh, and what does the "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7" mean? It means the intervals in the scale which are root, major 2nd, major 3rd, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, major 6th and major 7th. Numbers without a flat (b) or a sharp (#) in front of them are major or perfect intervals. A sharp in front of a number means an augmented interval and a flat means minor or diminished interval. 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th are major or minor, 4th and 5th are perfect intervals. So when you flatten the 4th or 5th, you get a diminished interval. But when you flatten the 2nd, 3rd, 6th or 7th, you get a minor interval. And as I said, sharp always means augmented when we talk about scale degrees.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Quote by mdc
TS, it's not the minor pentatonic that is the problem. Many great guitarists have forged a career out of it.

Agreed. But you still should, as a musician, also know the major and minor scales, if for no other reason to understand better how the major and minor pentatonic are derived.
I have a lot to learn...

I am entirely self taught by ear, and the ocasional tab.

How important is this base knowledge in theory? Will i hit a wall or just have my development ******ed without this knowledge?
Quote by NineFiftyOne
I have a lot to learn...

I am entirely self taught by ear, and the ocasional tab.

How important is this base knowledge in theory? Will i hit a wall or just have my development ******ed without this knowledge?

Theory mainly describes what's going on. Yes, I use theory all the time to help me figure out parts in songs (mainly when I get stuck). But that's just me. Theory is a tool; and, like most tools, is best when used. That said, there's a lot of famous guitar players who rarely used theory (Van Halen, Hendrix, Page all come to mind).
Quote by f00tballfever
Merry Christmas everyone!

I'm sure you guys are enjoying Christmas but its a very gloomy time for me. I'm in need of some guidance. Whenever(every time!!) I pick up the guitar I always tend to play the minor pentatonic scale like a robot. Don't get me wrong I'm so familiar with it that when I hear a song with those notes most of the time I imagine myself playing the exact same notes on the fretboard in my head. It has been beneficial in terms of ear training but my improvisation has gone down the drain and these days I just get bored after a bit of jamming.

So I'm kindly asking for some advice from your experience because I really want to achieve more!

Thank you!

Look man learning all the scales in the world isn't going to make you a better guitar player. If you want to learn how to improvise you have to think sound wise not scale wise. That's your problem when you improvise you automatically think of playing in scales. What I would recommend you to do is just transcribe records it's really as simple as that to be honest.

That's one of the major keys to learning how to improvise you learn licks from your favorite players, and analyze how they use them in their playing. Then you gather these licks that you've transcribed by ear and experiment with them... But the most important part of improvising is to play what you hear going on in your head right on the spot, and to be able to do that you need great ears..

So get started on figuring out records by ear it might be hard, but it's well worth it. What is a musician without ears? After all music is a sound based art so you have no other choice, but to use your ears in order to be a great musician.
Last edited by Black_devils at Dec 24, 2013,
Ah thanks everyone for their input! Yes I'm finally beginning to transcribe some records I like starting with BB king Blues Boys Tune. Its quite frustrating but I gotta do it I guess!!
Thanks again and Merry Christmas!