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Thread: Covering Guitar Solos

  1. #11
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by die Bullen View Post
    I'd like DW to weigh in here but here is my opinion.

    Personally I think you are wasting your time by bothering with pentatonic scales, especially for church music. You are missing key notes would certainly be required for runs, even if the music were to be played straight. Pentatonic scales are extremely limiting. You really need to learn the major (Ionian) scale because it is the basis of all the major modes. If you love the blues, I would suggest you also learn the blues scale.

    I'd also offer up that anyone that plays any instrument and can't play a chromatic scale in 2 octaves is at a severe disadvantage.
    Thanks for the invite, dB.


    First off, in my opinion, "pentatonic" is a commonly misused term. What most people refer to as pentatonic playing (Hendrix, Clapton, etc) is actually the blues scale and sometimes other modes, but the fingers are starting in the pentatonic position and bending up to the missing notes.
    Try playing just the 5 pentatonic notes (no slides or bends allowed) over a blues backing track. I bet you get bored before your audience does.

    dB is absolutely correct in suggesting that you learn the blues scale, but it's not much more to learn, and you probably already know it.
    It is only one more note added to pentatonic scale, the #4 (or b5).
    Whether you fret the note sometimes or not, you bend the 4th up to the 5th, sometimes going only as far as the #4. The solo in the song you posted is a perfect example of this.

    In case you or anyone else reading this is unclear on what I am talking about, let me clarify…

    Here is the A minor pentatonic:

    E|-----------------(5)--
    B|-----------5--8-----
    G|-----5--7-----------
    D|--7-----------------
    A|--------------------
    E|--------------------

    That's (from low to high) 1 b3 4 5 b7 (1)

    I put the high A in brackets so you are aware that there five notes in this scale (hence the name), and that the two A's are merely repeats of each other, an octave apart.


    Now here is the A minor blues scale:

    E|--------------------(5)--
    B|--------------5--8-----
    G|-----5--7--[8]-----------
    D|--7--------------------
    A|-----------------------
    E|-----------------------

    1 b3 4 [#4] 5 b7 (1)

    Most rock/blues guitar players bend the heck out of that G string at the 7th fret when soloing in A. All they are doing is bending a pentatonic 4 through a blues scale #4, to a pentatonic 5. (The blues scale has all three of these notes, but I said it like this because many pentatonic players don't know that they just played a bendy blues scale.)


    As for learning your other modes, the two most commonly used minor modes are the Aeolian and the Dorian. If you play an F note while playing A minor pentatonic, you have gone Aeolian. If you play an F#, you have gone Dorian. (Both Aeolian and Dorian have natural 2's, but no need to worry about that now.)
    The outro solo section of Stairway to Heaven is Aeolian.
    Oye Como Va and Evil Ways are Dorian.


    I also agree very much with dB's suggestion about getting comfortable with the Ionian mode, and the chromatic scale. Not so you can play a chromatic solo. But so that you can through in 2 or 3 or 4 chromatic notes to convincingly complete a phrase.
    There are many more scales to learn and have fun with as you grow as a musician. Just take one scale or mode and really get to know it for a couple of weeks (or longer) before moving on.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  2. #12
    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    whew, i knew i was right to post this here! Plenty of knowledgeable people! Thanks guys. The breath of knowledge here is just amazing.

    So, What I've been gathering is to simply improve on my theory and knowledge on the fretboard so that I can be able to also improve on my playing.

    I never knew that Ionian scale is the basis. Id look into it. I never really gave any attention to any other scale other than the major and minor pentatonic because of blues music.

  3. #13
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    I use the major and minor pentatonics as the base's for teaching scales with my students...

    Take the major pentatonic.
    It consists of the
    1 2 3 5 & 6
    of the seven note major scale (or Ionian mode).

    The minor pentatonic is the
    1 b3 4 5 b7
    of the natural minor scale (which is the Aeolian mode).

    The C major pentatonic and the A minor pentatonic are the same notes, but the scale starts on a different note.

    Now let's add the "blue note" to these scales.
    As I mentioned earlier, the blue note in a minor blues scale is a b5 (or #4).
    Okay, so the blue note in a major blues scale is a b3.
    So here's the cool part...
    In a C minor blues scale the blue note is Eb (D#).
    In an A minor blues scale, the blue note is D#.
    It's the same note.

    So again, just as the C major pentatonic and the A minor pentatonic are the same notes with different root notes,
    the C blues scale and the A blues scale are the same scale with different root notes.
    Last edited by doublewah; 06-20-2015 at 12:15 PM.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  4. #14
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Let's go back to the major pentatonic:
    1 2 3 5 & 6

    If I add a 4 and a 7 I have the Ionian mode.
    If I add a 4 and b7 I have the Mixolydian mode.
    If I add a #4 and a 7 I have the Lydian mode.


    Back to the minor pentatonic:
    1 b3 4 5 b7

    If I add 2 and 6 I have Dorian mode.
    If I add 2 and b6 I have Aeolian mode.
    If I add b2 and b6 I have Phrygian mode.

    The Locrian mode is a special case here...
    If I add b2 and b6, and flatten the 4, I have Locrian mode.


    The point of looking at it this way is to understand WHY the pentatonic modes are so important and so popular.
    They are the most common notes of all modes and scales.
    Historically, they are the oldest scales. Humans have been singing major and minor pentatonic scales for thousands of years.
    Lots of beautiful Chinese music is made with both pentatonic scales (although more often the major pentatonic).

    But the notes I added above are what define the other scales and modes. By playing just those new notes, we can tell the listener (and other musicians) what scale or mode we are in.
    (Regardless of whether a listener knows anything about modes. That note will take the listener to the place that that mode takes him.)
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  5. #15
    Axetastic itsallintheblues's Avatar
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    I get it!

    Especially when you talked about the C and the A minor pentatonic starting on different root notes.. I never really looked the major and minor scales with basis on notes. I always looked at it as "Shape" if you know what I mean.. like all the advices given across the internet and a few of my friends, is to start seeing these scales as "shapes" on the fretboard so that I can visualize my "box" and do my improv inside that "box"

    If I really look into it, you're right that the D# is the one sounding somewhat "off", and when "off", i mean to say bluesy.. and when I focus on that D# note, I get more blues.. It makes a lot of sense now.. I'll dive deeper into this when I have more free time.. Thank you for this!!!

  6. #16
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsallintheblues View Post
    I get it!

    Especially when you talked about the C and the A minor pentatonic starting on different root notes.. I never really looked the major and minor scales with basis on notes. I always looked at it as "Shape" if you know what I mean.. like all the advices given across the internet and a few of my friends, is to start seeing these scales as "shapes" on the fretboard so that I can visualize my "box" and do my improv inside that "box"

    If I really look into it, you're right that the D# is the one sounding somewhat "off", and when "off", i mean to say bluesy.. and when I focus on that D# note, I get more blues.. It makes a lot of sense now.. I'll dive deeper into this when I have more free time.. Thank you for this!!!
    I was a box player as well. In fact, in the 70s I bought a book about playing rock in the box shapes. I cannot remember the author, but a young Pat Thrall was shown in pictures demonstrating the positions. (I would love to see this book again!)

    Boxes are a good place to start for "where to place our hands", kind of like Guitar Hero and similar games are for the younger generation.

    Learning the box patterns is just a starting point. Learning the scales and modes is just a starting point, and really all they give you is the same thing that the box patterns gave us - a place to put our hands.
    Learning more advanced theory such as voice leading and counter-point is just a starting point. All these starting points will hopefully inspire us to play the music that is in our hearts.

    The beauty of music is that we never stop learning (unless we want to). I have a friend who plays jazz piano. He is 90 years old, and he can't wait to get to the piano every day so he can learn new stuff.

    And - You are most welcome! I am happy that some of what I said made sense to you.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  7. #17
    Axellent Member Mreilander's Avatar
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    Just to touch on what DW said about 1/2 speed cassettes, there is an app for iOS, and probably for android devices called 'Soundpitch' by polyvision. It allows you to play any song in your library, slowed down or speed up, but on pitch. Conversely, you can play the song at speed, but adjust the pitch for other tunings.
    It's a great little tool.

  8. #18
    Axetastic doublewah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mreilander View Post
    Just to touch on what DW said about 1/2 speed cassettes, there is an app for iOS, and probably for android devices called 'Soundpitch' by polyvision. It allows you to play any song in your library, slowed down or speed up, but on pitch. Conversely, you can play the song at speed, but adjust the pitch for other tunings.
    It's a great little tool.
    Thanks Mike. I have downloaded Soundpitch and will check it out.

    I am a bit of an ipad music app maniac. I have used a few slow-downers over the years:
    AB Loop Lite
    Anytune
    MusicTrainer
    Slow Down Music Player
    Tempo Slow

    The problem is that some of these apps are not available anymore. Either the developer got tired of updating his little creation every time Apple released a new OS update, or Apple let them go because not enough chick-ching was happening. But either way, some of these are still on my old ipad 1 but not available in the app store.
    I bought a relic'd guitar because I liked the way it sounded. Then I refinished it because I didn't like the way it looked.

  9. #19
    Axe-honerated spellcaster's Avatar
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    I always equated my best playing with how closely I could play the licks on the album. I've played in way too many bands who'd say "oh well, we'll just play our own version" when what they meant was "we can't figure out the licks". I think a lot of people want to hear songs in a way they're accustomed to, and if a player needs a creative outlet, add a second lead break to put your brand on it, after you've done the stuff that made people like it in the first place. YMMV.

    The SoundPitch thing sounds interesting.
    "I know just enough to be dangerous....."

  10. #20
    Axe-honerated zontar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spellcaster View Post
    I've played in way too many bands who'd say "oh well, we'll just play our own version" when what they meant was "we can't figure out the licks".
    I have enough trouble playing solos I recorded when doing the song again--I do tend to start & end about the same though, there are licks I come back to.
    I've been a pilgrim on this earth, since the day of my birth, I'm a long way from my home.

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