#1
Does anyone have good advice on soloing out of the typical pentatonics? I try to spice up my soloing with some scales but most of the time I'm going instinctively back to pentatonics, or I try atonal type of sounds by playing one fret above or below the correct pentatonic position before hitting the right position.

Say you're improving on root E, can you improv with the same pentatonics position on the third or fifth? I think I've heard something like that from someone, but when I try it my soloing doesn't sound smooth or connected it feels too out of context. If this is the case, how do you transition from playing outside the root then back into it without sounding like you're playing atonally?
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#2
Well, it depends on what kind of genre you are playing. In rock, you can use full scales like minor and major, using the scale that fits the overall key for the most part. For jazz or country, you can in certain situations change scales to fit the chords, being sure to target chord tones. Also remember accidentals. Adding notes to your minor pentatonic like 3, b5, and 6, can really bring out some neat sounds.
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#3
Just learn music by ear. That should help. Use your ears and try to hear melodies in your head. It doesn't matter if they are pentatonic or not if you like the melodies you hear in your head. Well, if you don't like the melodies you hear in your head, listen to more music and be inspired by it.

So stop thinking in positions and start thinking in sounds. You don't want your soloing to be completely random (and yes, it is random even if you are playing notes inside a scale). Know what you are after. Hear sounds in your head. Try to play what you hear. Learning to play music by ear will improve your ears and also improve your musical "vocabulary" (what I mean is, if you learn your favorite solos, you'll also learn new licks that you can use in your own solos).


Also, start using the whole major scale or the whole minor scale.
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#4
Quote by arvarna
Does anyone have good advice on soloing out of the typical pentatonics? I try to spice up my soloing with some scales but most of the time I'm going instinctively back to pentatonics, or I try atonal type of sounds by playing one fret above or below the correct pentatonic position before hitting the right position.

Say you're improving on root E, can you improv with the same pentatonics position on the third or fifth? I think I've heard something like that from someone, but when I try it my soloing doesn't sound smooth or connected it feels too out of context. If this is the case, how do you transition from playing outside the root then back into it without sounding like you're playing atonally?

Off topic and being petty but if you are "improving" it means you are getting better at something it doesn't mean "improvising".

Breaking away from pentatonics...
Pentatonics are the skeleton. They contain a strong framework around which you can work.

The first step to expand beyond the pentatonics is to fill in those minor thirds with another note. Use these notes deliberately and consciously and really listen to the way that they sound. Set some time aside each day to really explore these notes and just make it a very conscious effort.

Next start adding in other chromatic notes and not just as passing notes but on strong beats to hear how they sound. They will often need resolution by moving to a nearby note but listen to the tension they create and draw it out to really soak up the sounds.

Learn a lot of melodies, and solos that use a wider range of notes. This is really what is going to propel you forward. Studying and playing music that works and uses the concepts you want to incorporate into your playing is one of the best ways to really understand how a concept works musically. (kind of self evident when you say it like that )

Remember - You play what you practice. So if you practice pentatonics then you will play pentatonics. If that is what you have been practicing and what most of the songs you know are based around then that is what you will end up doing. It takes deliberate and repetitive practice to break away from those ingrained tendencies and branch out.

You can do it though
Si
#5
Just get your regular major/minor scales under you fingers, as well as your triads. Listen to and learn music that uses non-pentatonic melodies. If you want to play differently, you have to learn different stuff.
#6
why are you even worried about soloing? it's such a guitarist thing to do to think that the only way to push your playing forward is to spend your time on trying to make progressively wankier solos that i guarantee no one cares about
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#7
Quote by arvarna
Does anyone have good advice on soloing out of the typical pentatonics? I try to spice up my soloing with some scales but most of the time I'm going instinctively back to pentatonics, or I try atonal type of sounds by playing one fret above or below the correct pentatonic position before hitting the right position.

Say you're improving on root E, can you improv with the same pentatonics position on the third or fifth? I think I've heard something like that from someone, but when I try it my soloing doesn't sound smooth or connected it feels too out of context. If this is the case, how do you transition from playing outside the root then back into it without sounding like you're playing atonally?


It depends a bit on what style you want to play, some are more sort of flexible than others, but at the end of the day, to me, soloing isn't about cycling through some patterns you know will produce music that works, but it is more about imagining what you want to hear, about being moved by the music, and reacting to it, dancing with it, and then playing what your mind wants to hear, and feels, how you want to move. If that is in a pentatonic, then play that, if it isn't then find what it is, and play that. The pentatonic scale is a thing because it's a strong set of notes. Everybody uses it a lot, because it does actually kick a lot of ass, but just noodling in pentatonics forever will sound bland and monotonous, even though there is an endless amount of awesome shit you could do with it.

There are a number of patterns I know that are not pentatonics that I access all the time. Different fingerings for scales, some different scales, chord shapes, a lot of stuff. This is a broad question you're asking. Pentatonics, like I said, are a really cool set of notes, and every level of guitarist plays the shit out of them, but they are still really only kindergarten in a way.
#8
Quote by Hail
why are you even worried about soloing? it's such a guitarist thing to do to think that the only way to push your playing forward is to spend your time on trying to make progressively wankier solos that i guarantee no one cares about


Soloing and improvisation are the things I care about most, because it is a way to be able to instantaneously express myself, exactly how I feel at that moment. It is like a dance for me. I want to do it because I love doing it. The guitar is a pretty cool instrument for that, you can bend, and slide, and vibrato, and play chords, and stuff like that.

I also think it's pretty awesome how unique a freestyle is. Some people think owning a one of a kind hand made dining table or set of mags, or designer dress, or custom chopper, is pretty cool, and they'd be right. You know it's a one off thing, that a great artist or designer created, and that's pretty cool. But freestyling on a guitar is rare still. That music only exists for a fleeting moment, and then it is gone. Only the people in that room experience it, unless it was recorded of course. And those people were part of it also. Part of that atmosphere of that venue which had a part in how the artist felt, and what they played.

I love that about improvisation. Improvisation is probably my favourite sort of music. Definitely my favourite sort to play. There is something much more special about it, to me.
#9
kind of arrogant
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#10
Also, one semitone above or below isn't atonal. That's chromatic.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#11
I was struggling with this too. Then I realized that pentatonics are like basement which you can build melody from.....
I take pentatonics as blank paper which you can paint by certain modes.
(Please tell me, if I am wrong. I will be happy to be corrected.)
#12
Inability to distance ones self from the basic pentatonic scale is a pretty common problem. I think the moment I broke away from that prison was the moment I began to "compose" my leads and fills by humming them first basically creating an alternate melody line then searching it out on the frets. It wasn't so much that I was leaving the pentatonic, but it freed me from the typical pentatonic patterns I was trapped in.

I refer to this as melodic lead development and I most associate it with people like George Harrison or Joe Walsh in which their leads almost become as identifyable with the song as do the melody or lyrics. For example, think about the lead from "Something". Chances are you and almost anyone else could hum that lead because it's so identifiable. By approaching my leads and fills this way I found I was more likely to combine various techniques that tended to take me outside the range of the prototypical patterned leads based on the pentatonic.
#13
Quote by arvarna
Does anyone have good advice on soloing out of the typical pentatonics? I try to spice up my soloing with some scales but most of the time I'm going instinctively back to pentatonics, or I try atonal type of sounds by playing one fret above or below the correct pentatonic position before hitting the right position.

Say you're improving on root E, can you improv with the same pentatonics position on the third or fifth? I think I've heard something like that from someone, but when I try it my soloing doesn't sound smooth or connected it feels too out of context. If this is the case, how do you transition from playing outside the root then back into it without sounding like you're playing atonally?

From a "big picture" perspective, the thing you need to do is stop playing with your fingers and start playing with your brain.

Players only get "trapped" in something because they've stopped thinking about what they're doing and instead start drifting along on autopilot. So put the guitar down for a bit and give your ears and brain a chance to listen and figure out what kind of melody you want to hear, rather than having your muscle memory kick in and make the decision for you.

Always bear in mind that the guitar doesn't create the music, you do. The guitar is only one way of turning it from an idea into a thing - however unless you're truly "at one" with your instrument then it can, at times, be a hindrance to creating something rather than a help.
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#14
Quote by arvarna
Does anyone have good advice on soloing out of the typical pentatonics? I try to spice up my soloing with some scales but most of the time I'm going instinctively back to pentatonics, or I try atonal type of sounds by playing one fret above or below the correct pentatonic position before hitting the right position.

Say you're improving on root E, can you improv with the same pentatonics position on the third or fifth? I think I've heard something like that from someone, but when I try it my soloing doesn't sound smooth or connected it feels too out of context. If this is the case, how do you transition from playing outside the root then back into it without sounding like you're playing atonally?


1) Learn E minor, E dorian and E mixolydian. when vamping over an E7 chord, mixolydian is great and when you're vamping over E minor, the minor scale or dorian can provide some great flavor.

2)One of my favorite approaches in minor is to play the pentatonic scale but add the 2nd and 9th notes - so in E minor pentatonic you would add the F note throughout - that simple addition completely changes the sound.

3) incorporate more chromatic notes in your playing.

4) to spice up pentatonics - check out Eric Gales and note how he uses odd rhythmic groupings for his patterns ( 5 over 4 etc.) - which works really well ( basically the Eric Johnson approach).

5)If you're really adventurous you can check out Kurt Rosenwinkel, but that's really advanced playing.

6) incorporate diads - these are incredible effective.
#15
Here are some tips for expanding on the beloved pentatonic using chromaticism. Easily disguises the pentatonic, and doesn't need too much thinking, other than awareness of strong and weak beats.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/soloing/chromaticism_and_swing_picking.html

Be aware I made a huge mistake in one part of the lesson, that I corrected in the comments. It's to do with "swing picking". Here is a copy of my correction...

For swing picking, rather than playing each note for equal duration, experiment with lengthening the duration of the pitch played on the on-beat, and start the off-beat slightly late, shortening its duration. For example, if the on-beat occurs every second, the normal off-beat placement is a 0.5 seconds after the on-beat. Instead, try starting it around 0.6 -0.7 seconds after the on-beat. As things speed up (say around 130 bpm with 1/16th notes) the notes get played evenly spaced out.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jan 8, 2016,
#16
Quote by Hail
kind of arrogant



How? It's not arrogant to want to express ones self from soloing. As for trying to escape the pentatonics, I'll paraphrase something Marty Friedman said: think of the fretboard as streets to your destination rather than thinking of the most direct route to your destination. If something sounds good to you, but it's not in the key or whatever, just go for it anyways.

As I said, it's paraphrased, but I hope you get the point. It also depends on your preferred genre. Blues music you can get away with pentatonics and blues scales, but you'll need to branch out otherwise.
#18
Quote by jrobby1993
think of the fretboard as streets to your destination rather than thinking of the most direct route to your destination.


So are very wrong sounding notes like bad neighborhoods or something?
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#19
Quote by theogonia777
So are very wrong sounding notes like bad neighborhoods or something?


Probably :P Lol, I was just paraphrasing the best I could, but yeah, very wrong sounding notes are neighborhoods you'd best avoid
#20
Quote by jrobby1993
How? It's not arrogant to want to express ones self from soloing. As for trying to escape the pentatonics, I'll paraphrase something Marty Friedman said: think of the fretboard as streets to your destination rather than thinking of the most direct route to your destination. If something sounds good to you, but it's not in the key or whatever, just go for it anyways.

As I said, it's paraphrased, but I hope you get the point. It also depends on your preferred genre. Blues music you can get away with pentatonics and blues scales, but you'll need to branch out otherwise.


did you just say something wasn't arrogant then quote marty friedman
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#21
Quote by Hail
did you just say something wasn't arrogant then quote marty friedman


I sure did! Though, it didn't involve you, or your own attempts to escape the pentatonic, so why are you worried about who I quote?
#23
it must be easy to write off anybody who disagrees with your wrong opinions as a troll
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#24
Listen to MaggaraMarine and that Seagull guy, they know what's up. (and whoever else who posted similar suggestions)
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