#1
Ok as of lately when i've been screwing around improvising, or just trying to come with new riffs and what not for some reason my brain is only coming out with pentatonic licks. When soloing I am staying in a pentatonic scale. I know them all I know the theory behind them, I know constructing them, I can switch throughout them on the fretboard and what not but I can't get out of it.

Now they are all sounding the same, no matter where I'm at, key, or anything they just sound the same. I throw in a little minor with them but I really can't get out of the pentatonics for some reason.

Any body got a suggestion, or another scale that might get me out of this. Even when I teach myself to construct a new scale and want to use it or mess around with it, I find myself, my fingers and brain going straight back into a pent scale of the key that I started in.

Any suggestions ol' wise MT guys?
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#2
Nothing wrong with pentatonics. Heres my tips for improvising:

Try to phrase like a singer. Think of it like you're singing with your guitar. For some strange reason, instrumental melodies that sound rhthymically like a voice are effective.

I trust you know your way around the fretboard? Well as long as you can slide between 3 or 4 notes on the same string you're doing well.

Dont be afraid to use accidentals. You only need to be consonant when you resolve and on strong beats.

Think in terms of degrees, not frets, this way you can have a list of accidental notes you can add to your plain pentatonics.
The best one to use is a b5th, as it works well in any situation. M6's (bright'n bluesy), M7's (use right before resolving), m6's (darker, sadder?) and m2 (dark, best played after a m3) work well with minor based music. #2's (dark, bluesy), M7's (best when played right after a m7 but before a tonic note), m6's (sound sort of eastern, use with care) and P4's (I like it, not too many others do though) will work well when you're trying to improvise around a dominant sort of thing. The only good ones I've found in purely major based improv (the kind you play over major seventh chords) are m6's as a chromatic passing tone and b5's.

Learn your theory
#3
Thanks demonofthenight, I never really thought about just throwing in some accidentals in the pentatonic, not sure why I didn't though. Don't get me wrong I love the pentatonic, there is so much that you can get out of it, just all of a sudden they have been fusing with each other lately not sure why. Sounding the same even if I play it over a different backing really. Just to my ears they sound the same ol' boring crap. Like I said i through in the minor (Aeolian) with it but didn't really think about just throwing in some "random" (If you will) accidentals though.

I get what your saying about phrasing it like a singer, I like to think I have decent phrasing, at times I throw on random songs, from any genre and try to "mimic" if you will the voice and not the guitar, obviously with my guitar. Just for phrasing technique ya know.

I know my way around the fretboard pretty well. Not to sound cocky, and by no means like know it like a pro but know it pretty well.

Thank you once again, I'll start right now just throwing in some accidental's and seeing if I can get that different sound I'm looking for. I'm sure my improv doesn't always sound the same, but to me it just does cuase it feels like I'm playing the same notes ya know. Just to me. Other people completement me (Non-guitarist, or beginning guitarist) on my improv and just "messing" around, but to my ear they are sounding the same.

THANKS!!!
MY GEAR:

ESP LTD MH-50 W/ TREMOLO
ROLAND CUBE 15X
BOSS DS-2 TURBO DISTORTION
Dunlop Ultrex Jazz III
NEW: Dunlop Dimebag Crybaby from Hell
NEW: EHX: Small Clone Chorus Pedal
#4
Just some ideas....
You could try changing the tone of your amp. I sometimes play differently just because of the feel of the amp and the guitar.

Maybe get some backing tracks that have a few different key changes or timing changes and improvise over those.

You could also spend some time listening to players that already play like you want to.
I hope it helps.
#5
Yeah ClassAxe, changing the tone helps, but I still think it sounds the same, just with added distortion/overdrive/chorus/wah/whatever I have on it sound ya know.

Yeah I play over backing tracks all the time. It helps.

I guess my problem really isn't a physical problem as is a mental I guess. Like it is different notes, different timing, different keys and all but I just realize that I am in the pentatonic all the time and then think it is the same thing I am playing. I don't know maybe it is just a weird problem I am going through and will get over it.

I think it is just that I know I am playing the the pent scale and thus automatically block my brain from thinking I am playing differently no matter how different I change it up ya know. Well, no, I don't even know. I really don't, but all that matters is i am still greatly enjoying myself and loving it just seems like I am loving the same sound, even I am confused.....sorry. But thanks classaxe
MY GEAR:

ESP LTD MH-50 W/ TREMOLO
ROLAND CUBE 15X
BOSS DS-2 TURBO DISTORTION
Dunlop Ultrex Jazz III
NEW: Dunlop Dimebag Crybaby from Hell
NEW: EHX: Small Clone Chorus Pedal
#6
Some good suggestions so far.

Another idea:Try a modal vamp and focus on how to use modal notes effectively in your improv.

My reasoning: The notes of the Major Pentatonic scale are the common notes of the three Major Modes (Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian). The major modes are distinguished from one another by the differing quality of the 4th and 7th notes while the Major Pentatonic avoids specific modal flavour by simply leaving out the 4th and 7th degrees of the major scale.

Similarly the minor pentatonic scale is made up of the common notes of the three minor modes (Aeolian, Dorian, Phrygian). These minor modes are distinguished from one another by the differing quality of the 2nd and 6th scale degrees. The minor pent avoids specific modal flavour by leaving out the 2nd and 6th degrees of the minor scale.

So my suggestion is try some modal improv and experimentation. The idea is it will get you playing with the flavoursome notes outside the "safe" pentatonic scales.

For example instead of playing E Pent try E phrygian and see what you can do with the natural F (the mdoal note) to make it sound cool.

Good Luck
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Oct 24, 2008,
#7
One thing that you can try is the Wes Montgomery thing. Throw in some octaves! Seriously, listen to Wes. He's a genius, and though it doesn't sound complicated, one hell of a guitar player. I would say that playing octaves the way that Wes Montgomery does is even MORE of a challenge than playing faster licks on the guitar.
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#8
Completely random notes are fine, just dont hit them on strong beats (thats on the one and three beats if you have a drummer playing with you), dont resolve on them (yuck), dont climax on them (climax is where you hit a peak in your solo and come back down) and its best to move in or out of them by only 1 or 2 semitones (just a suggestion). This is pretty much how parker played. Some of his licks were just random notes with consonant notes on the stressed beats.

The octave thing is pretty fun. Fifths also work. Fourths sort of work too but not as well.