Ok I've read a lot on soloing with scales such as the minor pentatonic scale. I just can't seem to get how to get a solo out of the scale . Maybe im doing something wrong? I do not know, but I just try to play something that sounds good out of the notes in the scale. I guess what I'm trying to say is that how can i figure out how to use the scale in the right way to make a nice and simple solo.
Well since I'm not very good with this kinda stuff (learning this kinda stuff atm), my answer might be crappy but I'll give it a shot.
Once you know all of the boxes for the scale type you're looking at (in your case the minor pentatonic) you can just move up and down the fretboard playing parts of each of the boxes. I.E playing half a box then moving up and playing the second half of another (very simple I know) but that's an idea. But, I think the cool solos come in when you start playing parts of the scales backwards, playing extra notes which shouldn't be there but still fit etc.

Could someone tell me if that's actually right or not? Because I'm not too sure myself.

scales shouldnt really be thought of too much.
They are really there to help you make the whole thing sound together and not too random.
specialist scales, like byzantine etc are for good for more unique sounding solos.
But as for regular minor/major/pentatonic, it doesnt make too much difference.
Like Climate said, it is a good idea to move up and down the neck when usin the scales, but you dont want to limit yourself to them too much, otherwise they become predictable and boring.
Modulation is also a very good idea. (dominant and relative minor always good)
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Well, I haven't been playing for much, only 1 year and a half, but I've got a hang on the pentatonic minor scale. There's not really a "right way" to solo. Basically, you should know all of the 5 positions for the scale, and you can play notes in any order you like, sometimes throwing in extra notes which aren't in the scale. If you just learn the positions and start playing stuff randomly and playing with them, sometimes you get interesting results. When you play it over and over again, you end up figuring out which phrases you like more.

I don't know if that was very helpful . I hope it was. What I did was that: learn the positions and then start playing random stuff with them, until I knew what things I like and can use for my solos...

Yeah, and like skwiddy said, you shouldn't limit yourself to the notes in the scale. Throw in extra notes, to get your own personal style.
Last edited by Guito at Aug 12, 2007,
Thanks for the quick replys guys. You made it more clear to me, now I'm gonna experiment with other scales and try to add my own taste by adding different notes that are not in the scale
yeah, you can also use some extensions on these scales, if you didnt know that,


keep in mind, that these can be played at different postions,
also, it helps when playing if you are familiar with what note is at each fret,

try making a solo on only the top srting, using the same notes of the penatonic scale


you can use slides, hammer ons, pull offs, bends, anything as long as you stick to those notes, but be careful when bending, that you bend up all the way to the next note, meaning no bending on 17!

try to add to these licks to make a solo

e|--17p15--17--12-----12--15p12---15--10-------------------------| and so on,

well there you go, any questions, feel frree to ask, hope i helped
Hey i had the same problem... . and its just something that takes practice everyone above me has given good advice but what really helped me was improvising over slow blues songs and then i went on to faster stuff and it all sounded good
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Good thread, finding it useful, as I'm learning the minor pentatonic scale shapes and when I try to create my own licks they're too simple sounding and boring to me, but I will persevere until I get something I like.
scales shouldnt really be thought of too much.

I wouldn't go that far, but I know what he's saying. I think scales are the most useful tool for soloing, so they definitely should be thought of at least at first. Alot of people go overboard learning a bazillion scales, which you don't really need. The majority of solos use pentatonic, major, or minor scales. Then you hear other stuff like harmonic minor sometimes too. But anyway, I would say that learning the basic scales is well worth it. As far as making solos out of the scales, the best advice I have for you is to learn some famous solos, and borrow some licks and musical ideas from them. The solo to stairway to heaven a great one that uses the pentatonic scale. Learning solos written by other people has helped me alot in the past, and I really should do it more often. Also, practice the scales by playing the notes in triplets as well, not just straight through. It's kind of hard to explain online what playing a scale in triplets is, but basically the formula is 2 up, then one back, for each note. If you want a more detailed explanation, PM me.
You can also play appropriate notes for the chord being played at the time...but don't think about it too much...basically just "im in g7 now...that means i can use an F natural" and that should really be it...
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Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
I like Marty Friedman's style of playing (at least how he used to play in Megadeth), and one piece of advice he gives in a video is to invent your own scales . But I think you should first learn a couple of the more used ones, and then go on to that, just to get an idea of how it goes. Also, like yM.Samurai said, it would help if you knew some (just a bit) of musical theory to know which notes will sound OK over which chords, although I'm still learning that myself ... so I can't tell you much about it.
First, figure out what key an easy song is in. There's jam tracks on the internet which will have their key listed. Once you know the key, find the scale it fits in. If the song is in minor, play the pentatonic minor in that key. If the song is in major, play the pentatonic minor but move the root 3 frets down.

To practice making solos, hum out a simple lick that sounds kinda cool. Find the notes you're humming on the fretboard, and play it. Try to experiment on different orders of the notes, bends, slides etc. Once you feel you've played everything that's possible to play with that lick, try to hum a new one. Try not to make anything too fast or ambitious - start simple. It's easier to make such licks if you play some chords while humming. For example, play Am, C and Em - that's in the key of A minor. Then try to experiment with different variations of this:


You'll recognize it as the A minor pentatonic, only it doesn't start at the note of A. It's important to try and find ways of playing the pentatonic scales without necessarily starting at the root note.
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Quote by Guito
I like Marty Friedman's style of playing (at least how he used to play in Megadeth), and one piece of advice he gives in a video is to invent your own scales.

Not the best piece of advice he gave in Melodic Control. I'm sure he knows the "usual"
scales very well.

Using scales is pretty simple to describe -- all it is is creating interesting movements
using the notes of the scale. The interest can be generated by rhythmic or
melodic or both movements. Understanding and applying that can be the hard part.

Is there any way you can practice that? Yes. Absolutely. You first have to realize
that linearly going up & down a scale, which is all you're probably done for scale
"practice", is only one of an infinite number of patterns that goes through a scale. If
you only practice that one way, why would you think your soloing with scales will
sound much different than playing up and down a scale? So, you need to begin
practicing lots of new patterns.

I'd suggest the best place to start is 3rds. Do them everywhere and know them cold.
Thirds are the building blocks of your basic chords and arpeggios and they can be
easily used to create interesting movements.
It's not just scales, it's the chordal background you're playing to.
When you know it, decide for the best scale.
Also, phrasing is imporant, too, use bends, slides, h/ons, p/offs, harmonics, etc.
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Agreed there. The thing that makes a solo stand out is how unique and original it is. You not only do the notes you have to phrase each one differently in combination with the rest. Pick your scale based on the backing, but you really have to push the boundaries and show off your technique in a solo. Theory doesn't teach you technique.
Quote by Guito
Basically, you should know all of the 5 positions for the scale, and you can play notes in any order you like, sometimes throwing in extra notes which aren't in the scale.

You mean the CAGED shapes ?
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Can someone help me out please? Let's say I wanted to improvise over the chords Am and G. Would I use the notes from those chords to imrov over?? I could use, say, A minor penta??
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look it's about creating a story with a solo, like make a melody in your head and than try imitate it on the guitar, learn licks and make your own licks up, it helps to have another guitarist and than one plays chords and the other solos. it's a matter of alot of practice.

and you don't necassarly need to learn box shapes, if you knwo the notes of the fret board and the notes that relate to that scale you automatically can make your own shapes. also as mentioned use the different octaves along a fret board, gives it a unique feel
if you only been playing ay ear then practcie the scale a lot until you know it well and don't have to think about the patten. the more you practice using the scale the easier it will be.
for me i'll just listen to songs and solos often so that i have like a kinda tune in my head. if i wanna write a solo i get a melody or tune in my head or figure out some riff or something at the climax. the scales are merely a guideline to help me find the notes faster. u should only be trapped to your scales if you're playing sometime out of improvisation.
or else if u're writing try to get a tune or riff first
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Quote by iruka2998
You mean the CAGED shapes ?

Yeah. Although if you wanna be original those aren't very useful . They're useful for improvisation but not so much for composition I'd say.
well for improvising a solo around a scale i find it helpful if i know the finger pattern of the scale that why i can just pick the notes on the fly
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