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rapter

Which Scale?

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I have just read Kirks' forum on improvising and it was very informative, thank you sir. I like to improvise, but as always am drawn back to the pentatonic scale. It seemed to be a little more difficult to use a full major or minor scale (not to mention the modes) and trying to make riffs more melodic. What I am trying to say is, the pentatonic is most comfortable play in a standard 12 bar blues progression for me and other types of progressions because contains all the right notes.

I do see with practice that there are more notes to choose from in full major or minor scales but I have to have a the scales in front of me, (the dots that tell you where to put your fingers on fretboard) for I have not yet learned to to use all the patterns without looking at the scale diagram and make the improvision sound somewhat cohesive.

After all said, and I don't mean to be long winded, do you use a different scale for each chord change or one scale to fit all. I have not read all of the lessons yet in this forum and forgive me if this question has already been answered. Thanks

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Some will just use the minor pentatonic scale for the key the song is in, and you can get by with that. However, Kirk's teaching runs more along the lines of using the "chord of the moment" - whichever chord is being played at the time. You can use the chord tones from that chord, then switch to the chord tones of the next chord at the change.

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I have just read Kirks' forum on improvising and it was very informative, thank you sir. I like to improvise, but as always am drawn back to the pentatonic scale. It seemed to be a little more difficult to use a full major or minor scale (not to mention the modes) and trying to make riffs more melodic. What I am trying to say is, the pentatonic is most comfortable play in a standard 12 bar blues progression for me and other types of progressions because contains all the right notes.

I do see with practice that there are more notes to choose from in full major or minor scales but I have to have a the scales in front of me, (the dots that tell you where to put your fingers on fretboard) for I have not yet learned to to use all the patterns without looking at the scale diagram and make the improvision sound somewhat cohesive.

After all said, and I don't mean to be long winded, do you use a different scale for each chord change or one scale to fit all. I have not read all of the lessons yet in this forum and forgive me if this question has already been answered. Thanks

rapter--

Stratrat hit the nail on the head. Although there's several schools of thought regarding the use of scales and the chord tones, including the idea of the chord of the moment, the ultimate reality is that they all complement each other. Guitar is much like life in that you look at it from points of view which seem to work for you.

There are some 'absolutes' on the neck of the guitar, but much is opinion after that. I'm not sure what your experience has been, but I'd like to suggest that you understand the major scale and it's intervals first and foremost.

The idea is that there are scales, or collections of tones really, that act as tools in the toolbox. They are not how a guitar is played, but rather it's the language that helps express what the available notes are on the neck. The reason I say that the major scale and its intervals are important to understand is because all other scales are derivitives of this one. Once you understand the basic differences, or the alterations thereof, lightbulbs begin to go off in the brain.

So, take what you need from the information and let that guide you along the journey. Think about the 'chord of the moment' ideas that has made Kirk the guitarist he is today. Just know that the tones to play comes from the very same notes that are fingered as you make the chord you are now playing.

Steve

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even in a 12 bar sequence , you still have different chords - like in a blues shuffle using A , D and E you can change your pentatonic to a D pentatonic or E when the chord changes.

with blues , its sounds good if you just use the extra notes in passing , and not to stop on them .

eg - in an A 12 bar you could add F# and B notes which are used frequently but mainly in passing - it just adds a little flavour .

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I dont play the blues much, if you arent playing the blues i wouldnt do what zappa recommended. Like if you are improvising over a backing in Am, eg: Am, Em, C, G use the key of A minor, but dont use E minor then C major then G major, i've never tried so it might sound okay i just think its too much. But you can modulate which i think is way way way over hyped up. If you are in A minor or A Aeolian (same thing different context) you can modulate to C Ionian (Ionian = Major dif context) or to D Dorian. All three of the scales have exactly the same notes. For example i might think im playing C Ionian but i may actually be playing A Aeolian...and i wouldnt care if im playing A Aeolian or C Ionian. Ideally maybe in a couple years i someone can say the word "dorian" and i'll know exactly what they're talking about/ refering to/feel just like if someone said "dominant" refering to a chord name i'll know what they mean.

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After getting by on just playing chords I then skipped right up to pentatonic scales, got those firmly panted in my brain but then, began to get frustrated by not fully understanding things such as knowing every note of the pentatonic scale I was playing, not fully understanding the structure of chords etc.

So I've gone right back to step one, I am logging every note of the fretboard in my brain, mastering all scales and fully understanding chords to the point where I can form chords from my knowledge of scales.

I guess many get by on picking parts that fit what they want to do at any given time (how I used to do it)

For me and I dare say many others it's maybe better in the long run to start from scratch and learn everything there is to know on the instrument of your choice to enable you to master it.

And the begining for me at least is to know every note on my fretboard, that is the foundation for everything you will ever want to learn.

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...began to get frustrated by not fully understanding things such as knowing every note of the pentatonic scale I was playing, not fully understanding the structure of chords etc.

So I've gone right back to step one, I am logging every note of the fretboard in my brain, mastering all scales and fully understanding chords to the point where I can form chords from my knowledge of scales.

I'm afriad I overcomplicated things when i was talking about how every note of the pentatonic scale has its own feel and so forth. If i were you i wouldnt say "i'm gonna learn every note of the pentatonic scale" instead i would say "i'm gonna jam and have fun and as a side objective im gonna notice what the root sounds like." then after i got an understanding of the root maybe a week or two or more later say to myself "i'm gonna jam and on the side i'm gonna pay attention to what a fifth sounds like." and so on (after the root and 5th i would recommend paying attention to what the minor third harmony sounds like). I say so because i got burnt out because i wanted to get better so much that i eventually put the guitar down. Mastering the guitar takes time and even though i wanted to take leaps and bounds forward i didnt think about any downsides. So I've taken on the idea that if i'm enjoying myself who cares if im good or not which means i will get better over time than i would if i tried to take huge leaps and bounds foward right away.

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hi AX7221, if you arent playing the blues - what are you playing ?

if your using pentatonics over a 12 bar sequence then you may get a little stuck with anything else - unless its directly related like country , bluegrass , jazz etc.

but it no good trying to tell someone that it may be better to use modes when they may be a little stuck on pentatonic scales !

then going on to complicate things immensely by not making any sense with talks of 'burn out' etc .

with a simple pentatonic scale it is a good thing to learn to 'feel' the music by actively using the scale over a 12 bar sequence(in this case ) and listening to other users of the scale and how they employ the delicate art of dynamics and phrasing into the bundle that they offer. it isnt about the notes you play , it is in fact the gaps in between that count.

but i stand by what i have already said - that is - when using a pentatonic scale , it is always possible to add 2 more extra notes , which can be used in passing to allow the passages which you create to have a more colourful musical palette than if you just stuck to the simplest scale form available - the pentatonic !

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