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#1
What does every one here think of pentatonic scales? I have heard a lot of people call them limiting and I was just wondering what everyone thought.
#2
Well they're essential. I think people speaking against them are against the fact most rockers depend too much on the pentatonic without learning the major scale.

But if someone tells you they don't use the pentatonic, you're looking at a handicapped guitarist.
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#3
Quote by KryptNet
Well they're essential. I think people speaking against them are against the fact most rockers depend too much on the pentatonic without learning the major scale.

But if someone tells you they don't use the pentatonic, you're looking at a handicapped guitarist.


This is my view on it too
#4
I think all scales are limiting, pentatonic scales more so, but they have their uses. The attraction of pentatonic scales is that they're basically diatonic scales with the avoid notes removes, making them easier to use. Once you're familiar enough with the fretboard to know what sounds good where, they become more or less irrelevant (like all scales)

But if someone tells you they don't use the pentatonic, you're looking at a handicapped guitarist.


Why? I don't use any scales when writing music. Am I "handicapped"? I'd say that I'm far more "free" than any guitarist that restricts themselves to a scale.
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#5
Well they're essential. I think people speaking against them are against the fact most rockers depend too much on the pentatonic without learning the major scale.

But if someone tells you they don't use the pentatonic, you're looking at a handicapped guitarist.



Agreed.
Learning pentatonic is really the first step to becoming your own guitarist.
Then it just gets really fun.
#6
Quote by Archeo Avis
I think all scales are limiting, pentatonic scales more so, but they have their uses. The attraction of pentatonic scales is that they're basically diatonic scales with the avoid notes removes, making them easier to use. Once you're familiar enough with the fretboard to know what sounds good where, they become more or less irrelevant (like all scales)


Why? I don't use any scales when writing music. Am I "handicapped"? I'd say that I'm far more "free" than any guitarist that restricts themselves to a scale.



there's no way you write without scales. without any scales, your music lacks all musical structure. ever use any sweeping? guess what, arpeggiated scale. chords are all based on scales. scales are the most essential part of music. period.
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#7
Quote by Goblumich07
there's no way you write without scales. without any scales, your music lacks all musical structure. ever use any sweeping? guess what, arpeggiated scale. chords are all based on scales. scales are the most essential part of tonal music. period.


Fixed.
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#8
there's no way you write without scales. without any scales, your music lacks all musical structure.


Ridiculous. Chords have logical relationships to each other. A G7 chord does not resolve strongly to a Cmaj chord just because they're part of the same scale. Once you understand the functional relationships between chords and intervals, you don't have to restrict yourself to chord progressions based on scales. My melody lines in recent months have been largely chromatic (which cannot be considered a scale in a meaningful sense because it's notes lack meaningful relationships, which are determined by context), and structured progressions easily be created without drawing from scalar collections of notes.

ever use any sweeping? guess what, arpeggiated scale


Sweep picking is a physical motion, nothing more.
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Last edited by Archeo Avis at Feb 11, 2008,
#9
Quote by Goblumich07
there's no way you write without scales. without any scales, your music lacks all musical structure. ever use any sweeping? guess what, arpeggiated scale. chords are all based on scales. scales are the most essential part of music. period.


He probably means, that he doesn't intentionally use scales (as in having memorised them and using then when writing). Yes, he might use them with chords/whatever, but not scales as scales.

Edit: What he ^ said.
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#10
Quote by Fama
He probably means, that he doesn't intentionally use scales (as in having memorised them and using then when writing). Yes, he might use them with chords/whatever, but not scales as scales.


Any scale that you could think of could be applied to my (recent) music for a few bars at best, and is probably coincidental. I may decide that a minor third and a major sixth sound good together in a particular passage. It's not because I've restricted myself to dorian, I'm just familiar enough with different intervals to utilize them when I want that particular sound. You'd likely see different kinds of thirds and sixths all over the song, even in the same bar, both in the melody and the harmony. There are rarely any clear scalar relationships in my music.
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#11
Archeo I really want to hear a clip of you playing ! Your approach to melody and harmony are so abstract (in a good, creative sense)!

Anyway to stay on topic i'll say, I think pentatonics and any scale actually, are limiting when you overuse them.
#12
I find them boring. If I am using a mode, and remove the two notes which form a tritone, then I all of a sudden have a pentatonic scale. If I use those two notes than I can add more colour to my music.
#13
I like using the pentatonic scales merely as a guideline for what to play over certain chords.

For example, when I play along to some I IV V blues backing track in E, I would play the E minor pentatonic over the I chord, A minor pentatonic over IV and B minor pentatonic over the V. This way, it still has that familiar bluesy vibe to it, but it gives a bit more variety than just playing the E minor pentatonic scale over all three chords.

Also, if you look at the notes of those three pentatonic scales, you will notice that they combine to form the E minor diatonic scale, but the organization of thinking of them as three pentatonic scales helps to avoid notes that cause unwanted dissonance.
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#14
Quote by Archeo Avis

Why? I don't use any scales when writing music. Am I "handicapped"? I'd say that I'm far more "free" than any guitarist that restricts themselves to a scale.



Would you still recommend learning scales to someone wanting to become more familiar with the fretboard? So that they learn what certain intervals sound like? Because I have been learning to play the major scale throughout the entire neck, first in "shapes" or "patterns" so that I know how it sounds and from there just remembering what intervals are needed to played to get a certain sound? I would like to know. Thanks.
#15
Quote by Paquijón
Would you still recommend learning scales to someone wanting to become more familiar with the fretboard? So that they learn what certain intervals sound like? Because I have been learning to play the major scale throughout the entire neck, first in "shapes" or "patterns" so that I know how it sounds and from there just remembering what intervals are needed to played to get a certain sound? I would like to know. Thanks.


Absolutely. Scales are essential in learning the relationships between intervals. You have to learn the rules before you can break them.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#16
Quote by Paquijón
Would you still recommend learning scales to someone wanting to become more familiar with the fretboard? So that they learn what certain intervals sound like? Because I have been learning to play the major scale throughout the entire neck, first in "shapes" or "patterns" so that I know how it sounds and from there just remembering what intervals are needed to played to get a certain sound? I would like to know. Thanks.


Whoa, whoa whoa, hold on their. Archeo Avis is usually, from what I have seen, a good voice of reason and well versed in harmony. What he is talking about (hopefully) goes into a much more theoretical debate.

Bottom line: as a MUSICIAN, you MUST know scales. It is the foundation upon which chord harmony has been built. If you EVER want to play with other instruments, other musicians, you must understand the concept of scales, inside and out. The only thing you need to do more, is to know what actual notes you are playing when you are in those "patterns", and why those notes are related to each other. If you just learn scales as finger positions, you are selling yourself way short.
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#17
whoever says that pentatonics are limited are the ones limiting themselves. Look at eric johnson. is he limited when he uses them? I don't think so.
#18
Quote by SOAD_freak777
What does every one here think of pentatonic scales? I have heard a lot of people call them limiting and I was just wondering what everyone thought.


No they are not limiting. People are limiting.

Each scale has a unique sound that may be desirable for a particular situation. If you dont know the pentatonic scale, thats one color available to you the artist. THAT is limiting.

Quote by ouchies


Anyway to stay on topic i'll say, I think pentatonics and any scale actually, are limiting when you overuse them.

thats like a poet saying words are limiting, or a painter saying that colors are limiting.

Quote by Spamwise
whoever says that pentatonics are limited are the ones limiting themselves. Look at eric johnson. is he limited when he uses them? I don't think so.


exactly
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Feb 11, 2008,
#19
Quote by KryptNet


The only thing you need to do more, is to know what actual notes you are playing when you are in those "patterns", and why those notes are related to each other. If you just learn scales as finger positions, you are selling yourself way short.


Yes, this is what I am doing. When playing through a scale, lets say G major, I am making a conscious effort to recognize the notes I am playing in the scale as well as why those notes are to be played.
#20
Archeo, I have to disagree with you. You're not "above" theory, it can be applied to anything.

You might not pick a scale and go at it, but by playing whatever notes you want the melody implies a scale, no matter which one that is. Like you said, you pick intervals that you want a certain sound from and that's it, but by playing said minor third and major sixth it creates a dorian scale (or any other mode, depending on where you're looking at it from. Just an example.)

As you yourself have said many a time (and I've taken it to heart), theory isn't prescriptive, it's descriptive. Anyone listening to a song of yours and trying to transpose it would hear those intervals and believe it to be a certain scale. They hear the chords and break them down into scale steps. If your music breaks any intervalic rules for one scale, it's certain to fit into another one.
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#21
Quote by GuitarMunky
No they are not limiting. People are limiting.

Each scale has a unique sound that may be desirable for a particular situation. If you dont know the pentatonic scale, thats one color available to you the artist. THAT is limiting.


thats like a poet saying words are limiting, or a painter saying that colors are limiting.


exactly


Yeah but if you only know the pentatonic, then you only know one color, and that is limiting as well.
#22
Quote by Archeo Avis
I think all scales are limiting, pentatonic scales more so, but they have their uses. The attraction of pentatonic scales is that they're basically diatonic scales with the avoid notes removes, making them easier to use. Once you're familiar enough with the fretboard to know what sounds good where, they become more or less irrelevant (like all scales)


Why? I don't use any scales when writing music. Am I "handicapped"? I'd say that I'm far more "free" than any guitarist that restricts themselves to a scale.


LOL so pentatonic scales are used just because they are "easy" version of diatonic scales, and your above using them or any scale.
what a condescending point of view.
The truth is that pentatonic scales offer a different color than diatonic scales. Its just another color in a musicians sound palette. Scales dont limit anything. The only limit is the artists imagination.... or lack of.
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#23
^obviously, but he never said that you only need that.

edit: that was to ouchies
#24
Quote by ouchies
Yeah but if you only know the pentatonic, then you only know one color, and that is limiting as well.


who said anything about only learning one scale?

Again your just confirming what I said.... PEOPLE are limiting, not the scale.

If you choose to only learn one scale.... you(a person) are choosing your limit... not the scale.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Feb 11, 2008,
#25
Quote by GuitarMunky
who said anything about only learning one scale?

Again your just confirming what I said.... PEOPLE are limiting, not the scale.

If you choose to only learn one scale.... you(a person) are choosing your limit... not the scale.


Oh I see what you are saying now, I agree. But my position still stands, the pentatonic is very boring to me when played as is for an extended period of time. But that is my personal opinion.
#26
Quote by ouchies
Oh I see what you are saying now, I agree. But my position still stands, the pentatonic is very boring to me when played as is for an extended period of time. But that is my personal opinion.


Your certainly entitled to your opinion. keep in mind that it is YOU and your opinion that is the limit here, not the scale.

Keep in mind its just 1 of many colors to choose from.

You may want to consider listening to some music that uses the scale. Im sure your well aware of its use in blues rock and metal, but how about looking into some traditional Chinese music, or something different like that where you can hear the scale in a different context. You may begin to appreciate it more that way.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Feb 11, 2008,
#27
Quote by GuitarMunky
Your certainly entitled to your opinion. keep in mind that it is YOU and your opinion that is the limit here, not the scale.

Keep in mind its just 1 of many colors to choose from.

You may want to consider listening to some music that uses the scale. Im sure your well aware of its use in blues rock and metal, but how about looking into some traditional Chinese music, or something different like that where you can hear the scale in a different context. You may begin to appreciate it more that way.


Well I am Chinese and Vietnamese so I hear the scale quite a bit.

I do appreciate the scale, but I don't use it as much as other rock players would. Not without adding many passing tones to it.
#28
Quote by ouchies
Well I am Chinese and Vietnamese so I hear the scale quite a bit.

I do appreciate the scale, but I don't use it as much as other rock players would. Not without adding many passing tones to it.


Sure, you can diluting the pentatonic color with chromatics. Nothing wrong with that.

I would rather have all options available, rather than limit myself by refusing to play a particular scale.

again to the original TS. Its the person thats the limit, not the scale. Your the artist. have the tools available, use the ones that are most appropriate to achieve YOUR artistic goals.
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#29
Uhh, I never said I don't use it. Of course I use it, but I don't just use it plainly ALL the time.

I think you are taking me for being stubborn, but I am not. I use the scale but not just plainly all the time.

And i don't add chromatics I alter it with diatonic notes.
#30
Quote by ouchies
Uhh, I never said I don't use it. Of course I use it, but I don't just use it plainly ALL the time.

I think you are taking me for being stubborn, but I am not. I use the scale but not just plainly all the time.

And i don't add chromatics I alter it with diatonic notes.



well you said you wouldnt play it unless you added passing tones....

Quote by ouchies
but I don't use it as much as other rock players would. Not without adding many passing tones to it.


which means you would never play it on its own.... thus never having a pure pentatonic sound.

BTW adding diationic passing tones = playing diatonic scale.


To avoid the scale as a matter of taste is respectable, to avoid a scale because someone told you its limiting = foolish.

I know your saying that you just dont like the sound of it...... nothing wrong with that really. Everyone has different tastes. I just wanted to make sure the TS doesnt avoid using the scale because someone (not you) implied that it was limiting.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Feb 11, 2008,
#31
Quote by GuitarMunky
well you said you wouldnt play it unless you added passing tones....


which means you would never play it on its own.... thus never having a pure pentatonic sound.

BTW adding diationic passing tones = playing diatonic scale.

anyway, you can play it how you want. As far as being stubborn...... refusing to play the scale without adding passing tones is..... well call it what you will, im not making any judgments there. Your the artist, use the materials that you see fit.


I said, I don't play it as much as other rock players would. Which means less, but not for the majority of the time. Most of the time I use altered penatonics, but that doesn't mean I don't use the traditional pentatonic. Just most of the time I use altered pentatonic scales.

When I jam blues I do what most blues players do and use the pentatonic blues or using both the pentatonic major and minor of the respective chord. But then a lot of the time I also use Pentatonic add 9 or over the V chord i'd use Phrygian pentatonic. . so in this setting I am barely using JUST the pentatonic.

edit: yeah but when I'm adding diatonic notes its altering the scale, which is what I meant in the first place.. But yes, it's just how I like to play.
#32
I consider the pentatonic scale to be a great place to start learning scales, because it's an easy scale to learn and get good at soloing with. This is huge when you first start, because it's a confidence builder. It helps to learn something like the Pentatonic Scale and just jam on blues tunes until you get to a level where you feel comfortable, and then from there learning modes and things like that and start moving into Jazz and start moving outside of your comfort zone. That's the way that I did it, and I feel like I'm a decent guitarist, though I still have a long way to go.
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#33
It's not "limiting" in any way. I almost always base myself in a pentatonic scale, just because I love the way it sounds.

Quote by Page&HammettFan
I consider the pentatonic scale to be a great place to start learning scales, because it's an easy scale to learn and get good at soloing with. This is huge when you first start, because it's a confidence builder. It helps to learn something like the Pentatonic Scale and just jam on blues tunes until you get to a level where you feel comfortable, and then from there learning modes and things like that and start moving into Jazz and start moving outside of your comfort zone. That's the way that I did it, and I feel like I'm a decent guitarist, though I still have a long way to go.


Riiiigghhtttttt....Tell Eric Johnson, Zakk Wylde, Alexi Laiho, and Paul Gilbert that the Pentatonic is a "beginner scale".
Last edited by CowboyUp at Feb 11, 2008,
#34
^
Same. Most of the time, I don't know what the theory behind what I'm doing is, I just use things like chromatic runs and "color tones" to make my playing more interesting, like a lot of players. I do, however, want to start learning exactly what I'm doing... I've just got other things going on right now and can't take the time to do it.
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#35
Quote by Page&HammettFan
^
Same. Most of the time, I don't know what the theory behind what I'm doing is, I just use things like chromatic runs and "color tones" to make my playing more interesting, like a lot of players. I do, however, want to start learning exactly what I'm doing... I've just got other things going on right now and can't take the time to do it.

But the thing is, it's not "less interesting" or "less complex" just because it has less notes. It just has a different sound. Some of the most brutal Paul Gilbert licks I've ever seen are straight pentatonic scales.

That said, I usually modify the scale as I play, doing everything from chromatic phrases to diminished runs, but I still love the base feel. Plus, I'm a b5 and major second *****.
#36
Quote by Page&HammettFan
I consider the pentatonic scale to be a great place to start learning scales, because it's an easy scale to learn and get good at soloing with. This is huge when you first start, because it's a confidence builder. It helps to learn something like the Pentatonic Scale and just jam on blues tunes until you get to a level where you feel comfortable, and then from there learning modes and things like that and start moving into Jazz and start moving outside of your comfort zone. That's the way that I did it, and I feel like I'm a decent guitarist, though I still have a long way to go.


I agree, it can be a great place to start for people learning to solo. Especially if they are into rock & blues.

To Cowboy.... I dont think hes saying its a "beginner" scale.... just that its a comfortable place to start for alot of people. I cant disagree with that. I know minor pentatonic was the 1st scale I learned, and it was appropriate because the solos I wanted to learn at the time used that scale. It got me going, and eventually I branched out to the others.... then started studying theory.

Personally I dont think of any scale as a beginner or advanced scale..... but depending on if you are just jamming or studying theory, the order you learn them in may be important.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Feb 11, 2008,
#37
Well I think the pentatonic is a good place to start because there are less dissonant notes to hit.

Also its pretty easy to sound like a rock star when using it 8]
#38
He was commenting about the thing I said about coloring the pentatonic scale with chromatic runs and other tricks.

Cowboy, do you play blues a lot? I love playing blues in a _7 context because you can play both major and minor scales, and some of my favorite licks to play use the sharp second and flat five, depending on what I'm doing.
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#39
Quote by Page&HammettFan
He was commenting about the thing I said about coloring the pentatonic scale with chromatic runs and other tricks.

Cowboy, do you play blues a lot? I love playing blues in a _7 context because you can play both major and minor scales, and some of my favorite licks to play use the sharp second and flat five, depending on what I'm doing.

I do play blues a lot. When I play, I love being able to throw in pretty much anything. It makes for some heavy dissonance sometimes, but I'm getting good enough at it that I know what I'm getting myself into when I enter into some weird dissonant phrase. In laymens terms, I just kind of "go for it", the only guide being what I hear in my head and what I know of the relationship between notes.
#40
Well, I wasn't going to post anything but I might as well.
I think the pentatonic scale is essentially just a scale. It has its uses and it has its advantages. If I were to teach someone guitar, It would definitely be the first scale I would teach. I find that for beginners, its more comforting to learn the pentatonic scale than say, the diminished scale, simply because it is easier to learn. However, being able to incorporate the pentatonic scale and use it creatively is completely up to the player. I agree that people make the pentatonic scale limiting. I personally prefer the the diminished scale, but that doesn't mean I completely devoid myself of the pentatonic scale. Its up to the player whether or not the scale is limiting or not. I believe this also applies to any other scale.
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