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Jun 1, 2020 - 7:22:44 AM
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159 posts since 7/25/2013

Jun 1, 2020 - 7:29:55 AM
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957 posts since 1/9/2012

Jun 1, 2020 - 10:59:35 AM

3965 posts since 10/18/2007

Great stuff.

Jun 1, 2020 - 1:17:30 PM
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2191 posts since 4/5/2006

Key to the 5 String Banjo- Pat Cloud

Jun 1, 2020 - 8:01:16 PM
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6629 posts since 8/30/2004

Very nicely presented Eli....Jack

Originally posted by Eli Gilbert

Enjoy!


Jun 2, 2020 - 7:29:34 AM

10803 posts since 2/12/2011

That's nice but when do I use them??

Jun 2, 2020 - 10:10:44 AM

3965 posts since 10/18/2007

I have the same question as kmwaters. You did show that you switch key scales when the chords change, which my small brain didn't realize. And I really liked your melodic scales as versions of the single-string scales.

Jun 2, 2020 - 10:40:52 AM
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6629 posts since 8/30/2004

I knew these questions were coming. Here's the simple answer attached. You will have to read a few times for it to make sense...I teach these everyday and it's never easy. smiley  p.s. read all of the drop downs...J
Pentatonic Scales and how to use them

Originally posted by Cornflake

I have the same question as kmwaters. You did show that you switch key scales when the chords change, which my small brain didn't realize. And I really liked your melodic scales as versions of the single-string scales.


Edited by - Jack Baker on 06/02/2020 10:44:03

Jun 4, 2020 - 7:08:45 AM

1862 posts since 2/10/2013

I have no problems using minor pentatonic scales. Easy to use, and used with the right sounding tune, work just about all the time. My problem is using major pentatonic scales.
I understand how they are constructed and why some players might use them. But when someone does very little "off the top of their head" melodic improvisation, why would a person use this scale ? If you are taking your time and creating your own version of a tune, why not just use diatonic scales ?

Jun 4, 2020 - 10:24:37 AM

3965 posts since 10/18/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Richard Hauser

I have no problems using minor pentatonic scales. Easy to use, and used with the right sounding tune, work just about all the time. My problem is using major pentatonic scales.
I understand how they are constructed and why some players might use them. But when someone does very little "off the top of their head" melodic improvisation, why would a person use this scale ? If you are taking your time and creating your own version of a tune, why not just use diatonic scales ?


I wondered that too. Why not make use of all the notes in the  diatonic scale rather than leave out two?

Jun 4, 2020 - 11:21:47 AM
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159 posts since 7/25/2013

Hey folks, hopefully I can clear up some confusion, of course what I'm going to write here will make the most sense if you've watched the entire video.

In this context I'm mostly talking about using Pentatonic scales to improvise. So when I say you can use the major pentatonic scale on major chords, and the minor pentatonic scale on minor chords, it means using those scales at that time is going to give you a certain sound. The different patterns and exercises shown in the video will give you and idea of how to move up and down the scale in interesting ways. The example I play at the beginning of the video makes use of those patterns and exercises.

For instance, the major pentatonic is the 1,2,3,5, and 6 in relation to a certain chord. That means you've got 1, 3, and 5 which will highlight the sound of that major chord, plus the 2 and 6 which give some added color to the sound. If I use the G Major Pentatonic over a G chord, it will give the sound of that chord, plus some other nice sounding notes. When I switch to the C Major Pentatonic for a C chord, it will have the same effect, and I'll successfully outline the chords in the song. The 4 and 7, which are omitted when we play the Major Pentatonic, aren't bad notes, they just don't necessarily outline the sound of a triad very well.

The melodies of most Bluegrass vocal songs are comprised of major pentatonic scales, which is part of the reason they sound the way they do. If melodies only contained notes from the chords they would be extremely simple, and if they made heavy use of every note in the major scale they would be much more complex, like some melodies classical music or jazz. That's a great sound but it's not the sound of Blue Ridge Cabin Home or Head Over Heels. The pentatonic scale is somewhat of a middle ground between the 3 notes in a chord and 7 notes in a scale. That doesn't mean you have to play it, it just means it has a certain effect which you can choose to employ, or not. I could use the Harmonic Minor scale on a Major chord if I wanted to, but I don't want to, so I don't.

But this really isn't about "not" playing the major scale, it's just organizing some of those notes to get a certain sound. It's sort of like asking "why not just play all 12 notes all the time?" You certainly could, and in a certain context I'm sure that would sound great, but improvising is all about making choices and instead of choosing from 12 notes all the time we generally divide them into keys, so that we can choose from 7 notes. The pentatonic scale is just another way of grouping notes to get a certain sound. Every scale, pattern, and subcategory of notes exists so that we have a way to consistently recreate a sound that we like. When we want that sound, we go to that scale. When we want a different sound, we go to a different scale.

This video is not a recommendation that you "should" play the pentatonic scale, but that if you like the sound of it, here's how to play it and when to play it to get these kinds of results. That's why I include the example of myself using it in the beginning of the video, so that people can decide if they want to go down that path or not, and even then it's just one version of the many different ways to use pentatonic scales.


Hope that's helpful, happy to clear up any other questions that might arise!

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