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Thread: Pentatonic scales

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    They call that "jazz".

  2. #27
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    Just ordered The Pentatonic Mandolin. It shows as advanced, which I'm not, but hope to get there.

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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    I have both of Nilesí books and they are good. I took them to the local copy shop and had them enlarged and bound with a platic comb so these old eyes of mine could see the print better. Also, Don Julinís video in post #3 is really good, I refer back to it from time to time. He also has a online course going thru pentatonic scales and playing the chord changes.
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  5. #29
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Just ordered The Pentatonic Mandolin. It shows as advanced, which I'm not, but hope to get there.
    Question for anyone who has this book:

    Where do you suggest shifting from/to first position in exercises 2 and 3? I can always ask my teacher, but maybe some has figured this out???

  6. #30
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Question for anyone who has this book:

    Where do you suggest shifting from/to first position in exercises 2 and 3? I can always ask my teacher, but maybe some has figured this out???
    Fingerings are in the space between the notation and tablature.

    NH

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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocrucian View Post
    Fingerings are in the space between the notation and tablature.

    NH
    I see it! Thanks!

  8. #32
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    Not mandolin specific, but Jerry Bergonzi is pretty well known for his ideas on using pentatonics.

    https://www.mymusicmasterclass.com/p...nd-pdf-bundle/

  9. #33
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    So, I'm working through some of the exercises in The Pentatonic Mandolin. I get that if you're playing the G major pentatonic scale, you don't play C or F# (4th and 7th). I'm thinking if I try to improvise, I'm going to hit those notes. I feel really dumb, but does it just happen that you hit the correct notes and don't hit those not in the scale? Do you even know what I mean?

  10. #34

    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    Through practice, you've learned to play patterns and scale-runs etc in G major, using the seven notes of the G scale and only those seven notes, without hitting the other five notes of the chromatic scale. Same process will apply with the G major pentatonic scale Ė you'll learn to play patterns using five notes without hitting the other seven.

    Through practice, that is.

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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    What Jim said. The first challenge in improvising is avoiding the notes that don't sound "right", even if they are in the scale. Pentatonics do this for you automatically. If you can find ways to say something interesting using only the notes of the pentatonic scale, then you've completed the first step. Once you're comfortable playing phrases using only those five notes, you can start experimenting with adding in the 4ths and 7ths in ways that work and add interest (passing notes, color tones that indicate the chord underneath, etc.) It's all a process. Learning how to say something with a limited palette is an important building block.
    Mitch Russell

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  14. #36

    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    I was wondering, do you guys playing say, in the key of G major, play the G major pentatonic when the chord for the measure is G major, and then when it moves to a C major chord for the next measure, you change to the C major pentatonic?
    And Am chord would be...?

    I mean do you think in terms of constantly changing scales, or patterns?

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  16. #37
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    I was wondering, do you guys playing say, in the key of G major, play the G major pentatonic when the chord for the measure is G major, and then when it moves to a C major chord for the next measure, you change to the C major pentatonic?
    And Am chord would be...?

    I mean do you think in terms of constantly changing scales, or patterns?
    There is not just "one way" to use scales, Simon, including the pentatonic scale. One answer would be that for most tunes, using the G major pentatonic scale alone over all the chords of a tune in the key of Gmajor will not sound "sour" - you can find licks or melodies using only the five notes of the G major pentatonic scale that will not sound "bad" over the chord changes in the key of G.

    But that could become a boring way of playing very quickly, so using other scales over the changes is a good thing to learn to do. Also, you can use some pentatonic scales of one key over another key to good effect, so that is something else to learn, for example, which chords or keys can the G major pentatonic be played over successfully besides G major? Can the G minor pentatonic be played over G major? Can the G major pentatonic be played over G minor? If you learn enough tunes, you'll find usages that perhaps you hadn't expected.

    As to playing a different scale over each change, yes, that is also common. Check out Pete Martin's excellent YouTube videos on the subject of chord scales using the Barry Harris method, an entire series posted here: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...learning-bebop

    BTW, re: chord scales. When folks say, "chord scale" they often mean playing all the chords of a key in diatonic harmony ascending, example: G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, F#dim, G. That is playing diatonic harmony. On the other hand, a "chord scale" as Pete shows in his teaching of the Barry Harris method is a modified scale that adds notes to the scale in the appropriate places, so that the down stroke when playing eighth notes always falls on a chord tone.

    For a beginner, just try playing the x pentatonic scale over all the chords in the key of x, and try to find patterns or licks using only those five notes that sound good throughout the song. That's the simplest way to start.
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    Jim Bevan's economic reply is probably sufficient, but I want to explain something for elementary students.

    Scales and arpeggios are like the alphabet and spelling rules. Those don't on their own teach you to read, and certainly not to write. Only reading teaches that, as you see the uses of words (melody fragments), phrases (riffs) and sentences and stories (tunes).

    Scales alone just show you where the notes are. Adept players do not go from studying scales to riffing on fiddle tunes, many never bothered to learn scales if in the folk or bluegrass world.

    A fiddle tune is in itself both a scale and pentatonic exercise. And it shows how they are used.
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  20. #39
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    So, is it better to focus on one key, such as G major, or several different ones simultaneously?

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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    One of the beautiful things about the mandolin is that is so predictable - once you begin to see the patterns on the fretboard, you see that they repeat predictably from one end of the fretboard to the other. The trick is learning to see the patterns. So I think it's very beneficial to work on the closed pentatonic scales.

    That said, I also think it's a real confidence booster to get comfortable in the first position with a key that you'll use a lot. For me, that was G. There were lots of songs in G to play along with at the jam, and it didn't take too long to feel reasonably adept at producing a non-embarassing attempt at a solo (this was a slow-ish folk jam, not BG). Then you figure out how to move those patterns one string over to play in D. Then extrapolate from that what you need to do for C. It's a process.

    If you keep picking away at it steadily, it will begin to make sense.
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  23. #41

    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    One thing I just noticed, and I donít know if itís useful but itís cool, is that in the key of G major:

    G pentatonic contains 1,2,3,5,6. that is it contains the notes 1,3,5 of G major chord ie. GBD
    C pentatonic same for C major ie. CEG
    D pentatonic same for D major ie. DF#A

    -havenít tried it yet but it means that if you switch scales through the tune as the chords of each measure change then youíll be playing the exact same patterns.
    So you could play a major shape chord over G,C, and D notes and then impro in the same way.

    Another thing is that the C note ONLY occurs in the C pentatonic, not the others so if you play that one note then it makes the tune go very IV.
    Similar for playing the D pentatonic, if you play the F# then the tune goes very V.

    Itís late here, hope this makes sense!

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  25. #42
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales



    Thanks for asking, Nick, great question. Loads of great responses. Here is a video of me playing nothing but the 5 notes of G pentatonic (along with the 6th "blues" note as well - leave it to musicians to put 6 things into something and then call it "penta" tonic!) over every chord in the tune, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love". All you need to know about pentatonic scale is that all the notes sound good over all of the chords - makes it way easier to get into making up a solo.
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  27. #43
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    Default Re: Pentatonic scales

    FWIW, when I go to a jam there are a lot of songs that I don't know, and I'm not at a point yet where I can intuitively put the melody together like some folks. But with being able to find my way around with the Nashville Numbering System for chords and pentatonic scales for soloing, I'm able to hold my own.

    Once you learn those scales, you should then focus on changing scales during the song to match the dominant chord during a specific set of measures. That sounds confusing, but check out the Don Julin vid that someone posted earlier.

    I mainly play in first position, but lately I've been focusing on the Bluegrass Box to be able to move up the neck.
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