Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 40 of 40
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hello Everybody,

    There are many approaches to learning how to improvise over jazz tunes. All of them are valid and have merit. I would like to introduce my approach that is based on using pentatonic scales for any chord, chord progression or song you would ever encounter. This is a "system" and therefore open to much criticism by jazz theorists. However, it will work and will complement your current style and level of development. With this system, it is impossible to play a wrong note. You don't have to worry about "avoid" notes. You can concentrate on the song. Also, it uses a strict two-frets-per-string approach that is very guitar friendly. I have written a book, "Jazz Guitar Soloing Concepts: A Pentatonic Modal Approach to Improvisation". A review of the book appears in the latest (Nov 2009) issue of JUST JAZZ GUITAR. You can also read the review at:

    Jazz Guitar Soloing Concepts: A Pentatonic Modal Approach to Improvisation Book Review


    Thank you very much.

    Ron

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I dig it, Though I usually think of a dorian pentatonic as

    2-4-5-6-1

    Or minor pent from the 2nd. I learned a similar approach from a guy named Jim Knapp. It's basically just using the regular Major and Minor pentatonic scales starting on different scale degree's from each chord.

    The problem I have with this is that because growing up, I used minor pentatoinc so much for rock and smooth jazz, I still phrase that way when I use those scale shapes. effectively turning a solo on a Wayne Shorter tune into a bunch of smooth jazz cliches' using interesting notes.

    I'll spent some time with those links and let you know if I have anymore feed back.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by timscarey
    I dig it, Though I usually think of a dorian pentatonic as

    2-4-5-6-1

    Or minor pent from the 2nd. I learned a similar approach from a guy named Jim Knapp. It's basically just using the regular Major and Minor pentatonic scales starting on different scale degree's from each chord.

    The problem I have with this is that because growing up, I used minor pentatoinc so much for rock and smooth jazz, I still phrase that way when I use those scale shapes. effectively turning a solo on a Wayne Shorter tune into a bunch of smooth jazz cliches' using interesting notes.

    I'll spent some time with those links and let you know if I have anymore feed back.

    Thanks for sharing.
    I have that same problem with the pentatonic. It's so ingrained that it always sounds like a riff. My way around it it to not stay on any one for more then say 5-6 notes and then change up to an arp or mode.

    For exapmle Using say Bmi pentatonic against a Cma7 I eventualy throw in at least a G to reference it to the C or mix it up like alternating 4 notes Bmi pentatonic then 4 of Cma7.

    The other thing is what hapens when you harmonize the pentaonic. You get panditonic chords. They are a mixture of tertial and quartal harmony
    and are a quick way to improvise with chords. Take the following G major pentatonic chord sequence and plug it against a C bass

    ( all 4321)

    EADG
    GBEA
    ADGB
    BEAD
    DGBE

    for dom 7ths you can use 1,3 or 7 or the Dominnt chord to help outline the chord

    Db TRITONE SUB

    (FB)EADG
    (F Db)GBEA
    (Db F) ADGB
    (Db F) BEAD
    (Db Ab) DGBE (ok maybe the 5th too )

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by timscarey
    I dig it, Though I usually think of a dorian pentatonic as

    2-4-5-6-1

    Or minor pent from the 2nd. I learned a similar approach from a guy named Jim Knapp. It's basically just using the regular Major and Minor pentatonic scales starting on different scale degree's from each chord.

    The problem I have with this is that because growing up, I used minor pentatoinc so much for rock and smooth jazz, I still phrase that way when I use those scale shapes. effectively turning a solo on a Wayne Shorter tune into a bunch of smooth jazz cliches' using interesting notes.

    I'll spent some time with those links and let you know if I have anymore feed back.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Hi,

    Great observation. Actually,? the 6th (Dmin69) is left out consciously. My Dorian Pentatonic Scale (1 2 b3 5 b7) is part of a "systematic" approach to improvisation. The basic principle is that every note in my system sounds right in ANY context at any time. There are never any "avoid" notes. You are correct that the 6th distinguishes dorian from aeolian or phyrgian minor. However, it gives a dominant quality that I cover with the Mixolydian Penatontic Scale. This does NOT mean it can't be used. ANY note can be added to this pentatonic system.

    The scale you describe (2-4-5-6-1) is very interesting. If the chord was an Am7, your scale would actually be a regular B Minor Pentatonic Scale. This would give a good "outside" sound in a modal Am7 single chord jam. In my book, I show substitute pentatonic scales for every chord that I rank from most consonant to most dissonant. For a dorian minor chord I list 6 substitute pentatonic scales. I list the scale you suggest as number 5/6 based primarily on the lack of the b3 and b7 tones. All these scales are valid. It is all a matter of what "colors" sound best to you in a specific context. Thanks again for your post.

    Ron

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Sounds great. I'd been working with the Bruce Saunders approach, similar stuff; Bruce really gets into some deep and beautiful sounds. He played with Ben Monder, Steve Cardinas and all those NY cats. I ran into him when he was teaching a class at Berklee.

    Pretty no nonsense approach with a CD to let you hear the examples.

    He gets into applications over chords and chord scales derived from Melodic and Harmonic minor too, Sco sounds, Kurt sounds, "modern" sounds.
    Once you get what you can do, you can get some really out things. It really does lend itself to exploration and individual voices.
    David
    Last edited by TH; 06-24-2011 at 10:16 PM.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    Sounds great. I'd been working with the Bruce Saunders approach, similar stuff;
    Hello TruthHertz, Not sure if your post is directed to me. In any event, I agree that the Bruce Saunders book is excellent. I do have his book and, as a matter of fact, I list his book in the bibliography of my book. Other books listed in my bibliography that focus on pentatonics and are:

    Jerry Bergonzi, Inside Improvisation Series: Vol. 2 Pentatonics
    Ramon Ricker, Pentatonic Scales for Jazz Improvisation
    Adelhard Roikinger, Jazz Improvisation & Pentatonic

    Best wishes,

    Ron

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    I've had this book for little over a week now and it's great. I play trumpet as well as guitar. On trumpet I can play changes fine, no real problems. On guitar I've never played jazz, always been into Rock, i've tried a few times but just couldn't get going, everything just sounded like scales.

    This book has really unlocked a few things for me. Using the pentatonics you have all the right notes under your fingers and they're easy to learn. You can get going very quickly playing along with tunes. OK, John Scofield ain't quaking in his boots but I'm building a good base. You can easily try out substitutions as they're only other pentatonics. Top book, really easy to work through. I'll post an mp3 when I'm brave enough haha.

    Thanks Ron, I'll post some reviews on Amazon and Youtube for you.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    So, your basic concept of pentatonic is adding the 2nd degree to the basic 4 note arpeggio? I noticed this for your Ionian, Dorian and Mixo pents, I'm assuming the same for the phrygian, lydian, and locrian .

    Is this a different approach to Ramon Rickers?

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    So, your basic concept of pentatonic is adding the 2nd degree to the basic 4 note arpeggio? I noticed this for your Ionian, Dorian and Mixo pents, I'm assuming the same for the phrygian, lydian, and locrian .

    Is this a different approach to Ramon Rickers?
    Hello princeplanet, In my concept/approach I propose a 5-note scale for every chord that (IMO) most closely communicates the sound of a chord/mode while also being complementary to any chord combination or chord progression. You are correct on the my formulae for the Ionian, Dorian and Mixolydian Pentatonic Scales. However, the formula is different for the Phrygian and Locrian Pentatonic Scales. The formulae also differ for other types of chords, chord extensions, and chord substitutions. Check out my website and book reviews for more detailed information.

    My approach is different from Ricker's book, which I believe is excellent and highly recommend. He states in his introduction that his book "is not intended to be used as a complete method of improvisation" ( p. 1) My book is intended to be be a comprehensive approach to soloing. His book differs from mine in several other areas including fantastic transcriptions of improvised solos by Joe Farrell, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, and Herbie Hancock using pentatonics. These transcriptions alone are worth the price of the book and are extremely valuable for studying the masters. He also provides pentatonic exercises which I do not cover. I demonstrate my concepts with over 200 examples that are also played on an accompanying CD. Also, my book is optimized for guitar by demonstrating a strict 2-notes-per-string approach on all scales in all positions.

    Once again, all books that I reference in my bibliography are excellent and highly recommended. I think they all complement each other. Other excellent pentatonic books that I would add to my list would be:

    Pentatonic Khancepts, Steve Khan
    Pentatonics in Jazz: Creative Aspects and Practice, Masaya Yamaguchi
    Killer Pentatonics for Guitar, Dave Celentano

    Hope this helps.

    Ron

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Are these other books also building their pentatonics the same way (avoiding fourths, favoring 2nds etc)? What are the added notes to the phrygian and locrian arps? Also, why the 2 note per string idea? I find the scales easier to play just adding the extra note to the arpeggio...
    Last edited by princeplanet; 06-28-2011 at 08:54 AM.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    I have been using a derivative of this system for many years. M78w was talking about it the other day as well. Playing the -7 arp, (relative minor of the Major chord being played), over it's relative Major gives you the generic tones of the relative major triad add 6th. If you make the -7 arp a Pent scale, (adding the 4th), you are stressing the 9th of the relative Major. So you could just play major pent on the major chord.

    Ex. Playing F# minor pent over A Major is the same as playing A major pent, your just starting on the 6th.

    It is more fun playing the first inversion of the Major.
    Ex. AM7 arp, 1st inversion gives you C#-6 arp. C# is a major 3rd above.
    That's one approach.

    Next one is simply play a, C#-7 arp . It's first inversion is E triad add 6. I use this all the time over Amaj 7th. In fact I always play a 5th above the chords and add the 6th, diatonically, (1st inversion of the 3rd above the chord). Always sounds good.

    Now when you add the 4th into the C#-7 arp you get C#-7pent. Translate that to the next inversion and you get E6/9. Again playing E major pent.
    I prefer playing the 4 note arp myself. But it is cool stuff. If i play a fifth note on the inversion it is either the 9th or the 7th.

    Note, if you play off of the lydian chord a 5th above and play with the 7th in that mix you get a great #11 sound. Or play Minor 6 arp, and add the b7. Ex. DM7#11, play A13, 1 3 5 6 7, or B-13 arp, 1 b3 5 6 b7
    Last edited by brwnhornet59; 06-28-2011 at 08:53 AM.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Are these other books also building their pentatonics the same way (avoiding fourths, favoring 2nds etc)? What are the added notes to the phrygian and locrian arps? Also, why the 2 note per string idea? I find the scales easier to play just adding the extra note to the arpeggio...

    Hello princeplanet, All of these books look at the topic of pentatonics in differernt ways. They all offer useful perspectives. For specifics, check the reviews and comments on the books on the web. You might also want to consider starting a separate thread in this group asking for feedback on specific books from people who have used them. There are a lot of helpful and supportive people here.

    My 2-notes-per-string approach is part of my "system". It builds on the approach that many guitarists start with when they learn the basic pentatonic scale. Also, it helps in achieving a lot of speed.

    Bottom line--use what works best for you. No approach is a one-size-fits-all. If you are happy with what you are doing, stick with it. Try my Dorian Pentatonic Scale on songs you already play. If you are not immediately excited, then my approach is probably not right for you. That is why I have so many free resources. I want to ensure that anyone purchasing my materials get maximum value for their hard earned dollar. Best wishes, Ron

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterLogic
    Hi rlemos,

    I'm not sure I get this. I mean I understand that with pents you could avoid playing "wrong" notes, but why would you want to? In the right context isn't that a big part of what jazz is all about?

    Might as well play classical?

    Sorry for my ignorance. I didn't read your publications. I was just immediately taken aback by the concept of "wrong notes" in jazz.

    Can you explain the value of only playing the "right notes"?

    Peace in advance
    Hello ScatterLogic,

    I appreciate your interest and opportunity to respond to your excellent questions and observations.

    It would be great if you could find the time to check out my website and my YouTube videos where I give detailed information on my approach. However, I am happy to address your questions directly.

    It is important to emphasize that my approach is total system designed to guarantee that you can play effective solos over any chord or chord progression, at your maximum speed--in a gigging situation. It is NOT designed to make you sound like Joe Pass or Pat Martino or anyone else. There are much better ways to do this. My approach is designed to make you sound like YOU at your best. Also, my system uses a strict two-notes-string approach for ALL scales. This optimizes my approach for guitar. This is a very natural approach for most guitarists. That being said, my system allows you to use it exclusively for ALL soloing or to incorporate it into whatever approach works for you. This means that it will work for beginners or advanced guitarists. Also, you can seamlessly incorporate it into whatever approach you are now taking. In other words you always have the option of using different fingerings, adding chromatics, or using 6-note (hexatonic), 7-note (diatonic), 8-note, 9-note scales or arpeggios.

    I understand that with pents you could avoid playing "wrong" notes, but why would you want to?

    In my system there are no "avoid" notes. You will sound musical no matter what note you start on, finish on or use in you solo. The advantage (to me) is that once you are "liberated" from worrying about "wrong" or "avoid" notes, you can focus on creating a melodic solo and playing at your top speed. This is particularly important in a gigging situation where you are called upon to solo over changes that you are not familiar with. In a gigging situation why would you want to play wrong notes? I have heard the "advice" from well know guitarists that if you play a wrong note "play it again". I have never been in a situation (e.g., paid gig, subbing, rehearsal) where this would work for me.

    In the right context isn't that a big part of what jazz is all about?

    We would probably need to discuss more our definitions of "jazz", "wrong notes" and "context". To me, if it sounds "right" to you then it is right. If it does not sound good you, then it is not good. Every great guitarist can identify "clams" that appear in their recordings. In most cases, they are the only ones that hear them. I was just reading an article where Eric Clapton said his entire solo on the live Cream recording of "Crossroads" is wrong. I always believed it was a great solo. I went back and listened to it again and understood what he meant. However, I would have never guessed it was "wrong" and it still sounds great to me. Also, remember that when bebop first came out, it was criticized by many swing musicians for having so many "wrong" notes and not being musical.

    Might as well play classical?

    My understanding of classical is that it is meant to be played the same way each time. In my system, your solos are designed to sound different (different notes) each time. There are no standardized "licks" to memorize.

    I didn't read your publications.

    Hopefully, you will check out some of the free materials I have on my website and on YouTube.

    I was just immediately taken aback by the concept of "wrong notes" in jazz.

    I do not intend to offend anyone or to "sell" a product that is big on promises and low on value. I spend a lot of time describing exactly how my system works and showing how it works in the context of real songs and chord progressions. I want NO dissatisfied customers. I do not want someone to purchase my book and put it on the shelf with the dozens of other books that you bought that did not deliver. My approach is a "system" that I developed over a long period of time to enable me to play with musicians much better than myself in gigging situations. My system enables me to play a decent solo over any tune at a gig, even if I have never practiced soloing over that tune. I am sharing what works for me. It may or may not work for you. I DO NOT what to play wrong notes on the bandstand.

    Can you explain the value of only playing the "right notes"?

    Once again, we need to define "wrong" and "right" notes.This not easy to do. What sounds right to one person, may not sound right to another. For example,one of the most famous systems of improvisation is George Russell's "Lydian Chromatic Concept". I have periodically gone back to it for over 40 years. I still can't get it to work for me. For example, in his system the true Imaj chord is the lydian major In the key of C, the "correct" scale is C D E F# G A B--NOT C D E F G A G.When I play "Misty" in the key of C, the F# over the Imaj chords do not sound right to me. This is NOT Russell's problem or a criticism of his approach. It is a reflection of what sounds right to me. In my system, I give specific options for dealing with Imaj and IVmaj chords. These all work for me. Maybe they will work for you. If not, the easy thing to do is not use my system.

    Sorry if I am boring you with long answers. It is just that I am very passionate about my approach. I am so humbled and gratified by the posivive responses that I have received over the past two years. I invite you to check out my article on the Dorian Pentatonic Scale (on my website) and then check out my YouTube video showing how it works in "Misty". The critical thing is that YOU play the song and in your solo use my Dorian Pentatonic Scale over all of the IIm7 chords. How does it sound to you? I think you will be very happy with how YOU sound. If if doesn't sound good to you, then my approach is not right for you. The important thing for me is that you didn't have to buy the book first to discover it was useless to you.

    Thank you once again, and please feel free ask more questions.

    Best wishes,

    Ron

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    I bought this book, I'm a jazz beginner and intermediate at best with rock/blues. Playing over the changes has been very challenging. This book has really helped me, I like it. This book has also helped me with chord scale theory. I have a long way to go, but this approach is very guitarist friendly. Thanks rlemos.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Hi everyone,

    I've been trying to find a complete, practical guitar reference to all pentatonic scales and their possible usages, searched a lot in this forum as well as many internet sites, but couldn't find an encapsulated resource containing all there is to know about pentatonics and there possible applications in Jazz - perhaps I haven't searched hard enough.

    Anyway, I came up with a diagram which I believe represents a (semi) ultimate resource for pentatonic scales, that I wanted to share with everyone, and possibly improving on it, keeping in mind that my definition of a pentatonic scale is "a five note scale that does not contain semi tones". The diagram is attached.

    Looking forward for feedback, improvement suggestions on the list of scales or even the very definition that it is based upon.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    So if I read you correctly, you're proposing "new" pentatonic scales that are not the same as the usual pentatonic scale we all know and love, correct? I'm not sure I understand the utility of such constructs. Why would I not just learn the Lydian or Lydian dominant scales, and pick what notes I want out of that? Seems like a lot more to learn, and I'm not sure what the payoff is.

    Although, I do know that Steve Kahn speaks of the "dominant pentatonic" in his Kahncepts book on pentatonics. I never dug into this though.

    What do these pent scales buy you?

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Jeff, though not on his list, give this scale a whirl:

    A C D Eb G

    It's just an A minor pentatonic with a flatted fifth, so finding fingerings is easy. It's true that it's from A locrian (Bb major) and A locrian nat 2 (C melodic minor) so you might think 'what's the point of taking out two notes?' but give it a try over these chords:

    Am7b5

    B7alt

    F9

    Ebmaj7b5

    Cm(6) or Cminmaj7

    D7sus4b9

    Gm

    Using the above as a guide, you can use it over minor ii V i over each chord (in the right spot.) There are a lot of options.

    It's a pretty standard technique to to superimpose not only the standard pentatonic we're familiar with, but other pentatonic scales as well.

    I think specific omission from the standard chord scales can lead to some very interesting possibilities.

    For example, something I find very melodic is simply a major scale without the 4. Yes, lydian provides a seven note scale where there is technically no avoid note, but the #4 is a very distinct sound and often I don't want to hit my listeners over the head with a big bag of lydian. To have no 4 at all is very "smooth" to my ears. A lot of the melodies in the first movement of Ravel's string quartet in F major use this collection of pitches...major scale with no 4th.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by FatJeff
    So if I read you correctly, you're proposing "new" pentatonic scales that are not the same as the usual pentatonic scale we all know and love, correct? I'm not sure I understand the utility of such constructs. Why would I not just learn the Lydian or Lydian dominant scales, and pick what notes I want out of that? Seems like a lot more to learn, and I'm not sure what the payoff is....
    What do these pent scales buy you?
    At first sight, it looks like the 15 listed scales are too much to learn and apply. But if you look more closely, you'll find them to be just three different scales, listed in all their possible modes: 3 x 5 = 15 . So there's nothing really alien about those scales, you'll know and have played most, or all of them even.

    The reason why I believe this is useful is that a "guitarist" will be aware of absolutely all the ways to apply the scales and techniques that "we all know and love"

    So if you apply the "Major pentatonic" built from the root, you will get:
    R 2 3 5 6
    Which is the most straight forward feeling.

    But you can also apply the "Locrian Pentatonic" (which is just a mode of the familiar Lydian Pentatonic) built on the seventh, you get a rootless:
    7 9 11 5 13
    Containing all the colors ! Yet using the fingerings and techniques you already know.

    So modal thinking of pentatonics will help a guitarist reuse their techniques and phrases to get completely different sounds while improvising, in a systematic way.

    Do you agree?

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    Jeff, though not on his list, give this scale a whirl:

    A C D Eb G

    It's just an A minor pentatonic with a flatted fifth, so finding fingerings is easy. It's true that it's from A locrian (Bb major) and A locrian nat 2 (C melodic minor) so you might think 'what's the point of taking out two notes?' but give it a try over these chords:

    Am7b5

    B7alt

    F9

    Ebmaj7b5

    Cm(6) or Cminmaj7

    D7sus4b9

    Gm

    Using the above as a guide, you can use it over minor ii V i over each chord (in the right spot.) There are a lot of options.
    I completely agree with your theory, but I intentionally left out pentatonics containing semi tones for the following reasons:

    1- They will generally be more difficult to finger, and thus less melodic control
    2- It will be harder generally to invoke chromatics; with scales lacking semi-tones, you can literally use all 12 notes in a melodic and sensible way to the listener.
    3- Not all of its modes will sound good, again, due to the half step involved, and thus its usage will be a little more restrictive

    I'm not saying that a R 3b 4 5b 7b is not a good sound, I'm just saying it might not be very suitable as a pentatonic used in a blind improvisation situation, especially for beginners (like myself).

    The A min 5b Pentatonic over D7sus4b9 sounds really exotic !! but really difficult to use

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by alphekkai
    1- They will generally be more difficult to finger, and thus less melodic control
    I don't find this to be true.

    2- It will be harder generally to invoke chromatics; with scales lacking semi-tones, you can literally use all 12 notes in a melodic and sensible way to the listener.
    I don't understand what you mean here.

    3- Not all of its modes will sound good, again, due to the half step involved, and thus its usage will be a little more restrictive
    I disagree here. It's not the presence or lack of half steps that makes something sound good, but I think you already know that.

    I'm not saying that a R 3b 4 5b 7b is not a good sound, I'm just saying it might not be very suitable as a pentatonic used in a blind improvisation situation, especially for beginners (like myself).
    Sorry to be potentially harsh, but if you're looking for scales that you can use blindly, you should stop right now.

    The A min 5b Pentatonic over D7sus4b9 sounds really exotic
    Keep in mind a D7sus4b9 chord is D, Eb, G, A, C. That's the same exact notes of the scale.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by alphekkai
    At first sight, it looks like the 15 listed scales are too much to learn and apply. But if you look more closely, you'll find them to be just three different scales, listed in all their possible modes: 3 x 5 = 15 . So there's nothing really alien about those scales, you'll know and have played most, or all of them even.

    The reason why I believe this is useful is that a "guitarist" will be aware of absolutely all the ways to apply the scales and techniques that "we all know and love"

    So if you apply the "Major pentatonic" built from the root, you will get:
    R 2 3 5 6
    Which is the most straight forward feeling.

    But you can also apply the "Locrian Pentatonic" (which is just a mode of the familiar Lydian Pentatonic) built on the seventh, you get a rootless:
    7 9 11 5 13
    Containing all the colors ! Yet using the fingerings and techniques you already know.

    So modal thinking of pentatonics will help a guitarist reuse their techniques and phrases to get completely different sounds while improvising, in a systematic way.

    Do you agree?
    So let me see if I understand what you're saying here. Use already-familiar pentatonic fingerings with the "root" in a different place in order to realize different sounds. This is something that I do have some exposure to. However, it's with the usual R-2-3-5-6 (major pent) or R-b3-4-5-b7 (minor pent) fingerings (which are already inversions of one another). A lot of the other pentatonic scales you put in that chart (e.g. dominant pentatonic) have different intervallic structure, so it is something new I have to memorize. Not that I'm against anything new, but I'm sort of confused here.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    If you are into/or looking at pentatonics for soloing in jazz, then this book
    " Jazz Guitar soloing concepts" a pentatonic modal approach to improvisation
    by Dr Ron Lemos would be a good place to start.. he is also a forum member so he might well jump in and say something..

    Tom..

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by FatJeff
    A lot of the other pentatonic scales you put in that chart (e.g. dominant pentatonic) have different intervallic structure, so it is something new I have to memorize. Not that I'm against anything new, but I'm sort of confused here.
    The Dominant Pentatonic is just another mode of the Lydian Pentatonic. The following scales are just different modes of the same scale, and thus have the same fingerings. So if you learn one of them, you learn all others by default. The sound implied by the assigned name is outlined through the context it is being applied in; such as the chords they're being played over.

    Lydian Pentatonic (over any major chord)
    R 2 3 5b 6
    Dominant Pentatonic (over any dominant chord)
    R 2 3 5 7b
    Suspended Minor Pentatonic (over any minor chord)
    R 2 4 6b 7b
    Dorian Pentatonic (over any minor chord)
    R 3b 4 5 6
    Locrian Pentatonic (over any minor chord, preferably a min7b5)
    R 3b 5b 6b 7b

    The confusion here is that different modes of the same scale are not put in a sequence in the list, and not explicitly reflecting the fact that they are modes to each other, but I did that intentionally...

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    I don't find this to be true.



    I don't understand what you mean here.



    I disagree here. It's not the presence or lack of half steps that makes something sound good, but I think you already know that.



    Sorry to be potentially harsh, but if you're looking for scales that you can use blindly, you should stop right now.



    Keep in mind a D7sus4b9 chord is D, Eb, G, A, C. That's the same exact notes of the scale.
    1- A scale lacking half steps will almost always guarantee to have a two notes per string fingering throughout the entire fingerboard, and thus easier to finger, bend, string-skip, tap, apply really complex odd patterns, etc... and hence what I previously mentioned "more melodic control", slightly

    2- A scale with two notes per string will allow you to use chromatics in a more standard, understandable way: before the first note, between the two notes and after the second note, and will allow a beginner to 'know' how the chromaticism would sound like during improvisation.

    3-A scale with one or more semi-tones will render one or more modes with a flat 2nd, which can mainly be used to get a 9b over a dominant chord, but not much else. This usage requires an advanced player to use during improvisation.

    4-By blind improvisation, I mean a situation where your not quite sure of the changes. Forgive my language, I'm not a native English Speaker.

    5-I enjoy your potential harshness

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    3 pentatonics I use all the time: minor (1 b3 4 5 b7), minor b5 (1 b3 4 b5 b7) and minor with a nat 3rd (1 3 4 5 b7). Can someone tell me if it's possible to post PDF's? If so, I'll pop thru my usages for min and min b5 pents. Dominant pent (or whatever you want to call it) can be used harmonically and melodically over ANY of the 4 common heptatonics (maj / mel min / harm min / harm maj) starting from the 5th degree of each of these scales.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Limiting your scale choices because you want to have 2 notes per string is a silly idea. Don't let technique determine the possible number of scales available to you. Instead of coming up with all these systems practice your major scales and learn to play over changes with them using arpeggios.

    If it is so important to add chromatic notes then mayb it is because you lack some of those in the scale in the first place (ie. you really hear 7 note scales but try to adapt your pentatonic system) Avoid notes are have a purpose too in music (because they are not aboid notes all the time...)

    If you are afraid of playing modes with avoid notes (f.ex b2) then play with only arpeggio notes, they are also easy to play 2 notes per string...)

    If you are in a situation of "blind improvisation" then go learn the changes!

    I guess I am not so much harsh as plain rude, but you are making systems of scales and making choices that you, as your say yourself, as a beginner can't make.

    You are probably better off pracitising improvising than making systems of scales. That is my opinion as a teacher anyway...

    Jens

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by alphekkai
    The Dominant Pentatonic is just another mode of the Lydian Pentatonic. The following scales are just different modes of the same scale, and thus have the same fingerings. So if you learn one of them, you learn all others by default. The sound implied by the assigned name is outlined through the context it is being applied in; such as the chords they're being played over.

    Lydian Pentatonic (over any major chord)
    R 2 3 5b 6
    Dominant Pentatonic (over any dominant chord)
    R 2 3 5 7b
    Suspended Minor Pentatonic (over any minor chord)
    R 2 4 6b 7b
    Dorian Pentatonic (over any minor chord)
    R 3b 4 5 6
    Locrian Pentatonic (over any minor chord, preferably a min7b5)
    R 3b 5b 6b 7b

    The confusion here is that different modes of the same scale are not put in a sequence in the list, and not explicitly reflecting the fact that they are modes to each other, but I did that intentionally...
    OK, I see what you mean now. I'll try playing around with the dominant pent today and see if it does anything for me.

    I might point out that - for me, at least - I don't like the idea of "modes" all being the same to one another. When I play a dorian scale, I'm thinking dorian, not "I'm playing the second mode of major". So for my way of thinking, all these pentatonics really are 5 new scales, not just 1.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by FatJeff
    OK, I see what you mean now. I'll try playing around with the dominant pent today and see if it does anything for me.

    I might point out that - for me, at least - I don't like the idea of "modes" all being the same to one another. When I play a dorian scale, I'm thinking dorian, not "I'm playing the second mode of major". So for my way of thinking, all these pentatonics really are 5 new scales, not just 1.
    Great Idea ! I'm sure you will like that one specifically - it actually is the one that triggered me doing that whole thing the first place. The fact that using it in the Lydian mode (over a Major chord) sounded completely different than in the dominant mode (over a Dominant 7th chord).

    I agree that they could be thought of as different scales, because they really do have different sounds. But technically speaking on the guitar, you can play the same melodic line on different chords to get different sounds, so they can be thought of all being the same scale as well

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by alphekkai
    Great Idea ! I'm sure you will like that one specifically - it actually is the one that triggered me doing that whole thing the first place. The fact that using it in the Lydian mode (over a Major chord) sounded completely different than in the dominant mode (over a Dominant 7th chord).

    I agree that they could be thought of as different scales, because they really do have different sounds. But technically speaking on the guitar, you can play the same melodic line on different chords to get different sounds, so they can be thought of all being the same scale as well
    True, but melodic lines are usually crafted with certain tones (often chord tones) being highlighted. Moving the same lick from one mode to another may or may not be successful. I guess one would have to experiment.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Steve Khan has a great book on pentatonics, as well as a great book on contemporary chord voicings. There's info on his website Steve Khan Books

    (Poke around his website, there's an incredibly generous section of transcriptions and the discography offers a lot of insights to his approach to recording)

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Joe Diorio's books are amazing as well. He is a master craftsman with pent...

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    1- A scale lacking half steps will almost always guarantee to have a two notes per string fingering throughout the entire fingerboard, and thus easier to finger, bend, string-skip, tap, apply really complex odd patterns, etc... and hence what I previously mentioned "more melodic control", slightly
    This is waaaaay too subjective to state as a rule, and I just flat out think you are incorrect. The pentatonic scale I described can be played with 2 notes per string pretty easily, and I don't think 2NPS necessarily makes any of things you describe any easier.

    2- A scale with two notes per string will allow you to use chromatics in a more standard, understandable way: before the first note, between the two notes and after the second note, and will allow a beginner to 'know' how the chromaticism would sound like during improvisation.
    I just disagree with you here.

    I think it's extremely convoluted to try to invent pentatonic scales that intentionally exclude half steps so that you can make chromaticism easier for yourself. Honestly, I'm all for experimenting and coming up with theories and ideas, and I get the path you are trying to go down, but I think your time would be better spent

    1. Doing ear training
    2. Learning how some of the 'masters' have already put pentatonic scales (and other material) to use

    Your speaking of improvisation in a very theoretical model. Again, not to be harsh, but it seems like once you just learn more about some very conventional principles of melodic jazz vocabulary you might realize that your efforts here might not be guiding you in the best direction. I think the spirit of trying to organize your thinking is great, but...well, more on that later

    3-A scale with one or more semi-tones will render one or more modes with a flat 2nd, which can mainly be used to get a 9b over a dominant chord, but not much else. This usage requires an advanced player to use during improvisation.
    Again, if you are trying to invent pentatonic scales just to make things easier for yourself, I'd say to just stop right now. Conventionally speaking, you don't want to look for scales that you can use for going into auto-pilot mode...you always want to be using your ears and hearing the function of each tone you play against the harmony of the band.

    4-By blind improvisation, I mean a situation where your not quite sure of the changes. Forgive my language, I'm not a native English Speaker.
    Similar to the above, if you don't know the changes, your systems of pentatonic scales are NOT going to help you. You need to simply know those changes. Knowing scales without half steps will do you know good if you don't know the tune.

    Big picture: I've had a habit of doing what I can see you are doing now. You want to get to that next place of music-making and you think you can use your brain and invent new systems or organizational methods to get you there quickly. More often then not, the answer is simply playing music and listening to music rather than coming up with theories or techniques.

    I think experimentation and thinking outside the box is great, but to be honest, it sounds like you don't have enough knowledge or experience with harmonic improvisation to be able to develop good systems that will help you or others. Maybe I'm wrong. Keep it simple - learn about the conventional uses of pentatonic scales in jazz. Analyze many heads, solos, melodies, chord changes, etc. I guarantee if you do this then your perspective and goals with pentatonic scales will change drastically.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    alphekkai, I do not see anything wrong with your system as far as having it at your command to play certain lines the way that you hear them. Also I feel that Jake and JensL are giving you some very important and solid insight into playing jazz..They are right to point out that one technique or approach, in and of itself, is no shortcut to vocabulary and knowing the road map.

    So I think the implied usage as an overall "this is it" method is where the rub lies..organizational systems are just reference points that can tend to become heavily relied on when one does not see/hear the bigger picture. Stating that pent with semitones is counter intuitive to playing chromatic's is a highly subjective statement that I do not agree with either. In the end it is all how you have it categorized and labeled. I am not a believer in avoid notes either...

    When you put restrictions on yourself it is usually done to free up less developed aspects of ones playing (at least that is how I use restriction) for insight. When you box yourself in with a system solely for organization and ease, you exclude a lot of important aspects that abound, limiting your endgame.

    In the end it is all what you want to do, what anyone else thinks is moot. I would think that bebop scales might be an interesting research for you as you develop. Take what you know and try and correlate it with accepted jazz theory and practices. I think you will make much greater progress by opening up your horizon, not restricting it to what you already know, which is basically what these guys are telling you...IMHO...

    Good luck.
    Last edited by brwnhornet59; 05-07-2012 at 02:40 PM.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by brwnhornet59
    alphekkai, I do not see anything wrong with your system as far as having it at your command to play certain lines the way that you hear them. Also I feel that Jake and JensL are giving you some very important and solid insight into playing jazz..They are right to point out that one technique or approach, in and of itself, is no shortcut to vocabulary and knowing the road map.

    So I think the implied usage as an overall "this is it" method is where the rub lies..organizational systems are just reference points that can tend to become heavily relied on when one does not see/hear the bigger picture. Stating that pent with semitones is counter intuitive to playing chromatic's is a highly subjective statement that I do not agree with either. In the end it is all how you have it categorized and labeled. I am not a believer in avoid notes either...

    When you put restrictions on yourself it is usually done to free up less developed aspects of ones playing (at least that is how I use restriction) for insight. When you box yourself in with a system solely for organization and ease, you exclude a lot of important aspects that abound, limiting your endgame.

    In the end it is all what you want to do, what anyone else thinks is moot. I would think that bebop scales might be an interesting research for you as you develop. Take what you know and try and correlate it with accepted jazz theory and practices. I think you will make much greater progress by opening up your horizon, not restricting it to what you already know, which is basically what these guys are telling you...IMHO...

    Good luck.
    I understand and agree with every word you say. The only problem with what you and Jake and JensL are thinking is that I see that you are assuming that I'm putting a restriction on myself, while I'm only putting the restriction on the system.

    If I decide to study and use the melodic minor in general, and the altered usage in specific, then it will be wrong to try to put the "no semi-tone" restriction on that system, it wouldn't make any sense (as all would agree upon), it will deviate from the actual and ultimate target. But then you might have to impose another restriction - that it needs to be used over functioning dominants (which can be implicit or explicit), which really does make sense.

    Some restrictions make sense more than others, I agree. The reason why you put constraints on a system the first place is to limit its possibilities, to facilitate its study it in this form.

    1- This restriction doesn't have to remain forever
    2- This restriction doesn't have to be applied to other systems
    3- This restricted system can be used besides and within other systems (in the same bar, even)

    So it really is a grouping mechanism to facilitate study.

    Thanks for the Bepop scale recommendation! it really does sound like an interesting topic to study. Thanks!
    Last edited by alphekkai; 05-08-2012 at 05:10 AM.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    Jeff, though not on his list, give this scale a whirl:

    A C D Eb G

    It's just an A minor pentatonic with a flatted fifth, .
    I's also a mode of the Kumoi scale which is a major pentatonic with a flatted 3rd

    C D Eb G A.

    sort of a 'tonic minor' pentatonic scale


    I've mentioned it before but if you want to make quick pentatonic scales just add some sort of 2, 4 or 6 to a 7th arpeggio (and it's inversions)

    Cma7 + b2 = C Db E G B
    C7 + #4 = C E F# G Bb

    I found this one useful :

    C ma7 b5 + #5 =

    C E F# G# B

    Lots of altered sounds there as well as A mi/ma9, F#mi11b5 , D13#11 ect.


    I've found that it easier to look at unusual or not the standard pentatonics this way.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by dixnacey
    3 pentatonics I use all the time: minor (1 b3 4 5 b7), minor b5 (1 b3 4 b5 b7) and minor with a nat 3rd (1 3 4 5 b7). Can someone tell me if it's possible to post PDF's? If so, I'll pop thru my usages for min and min b5 pents. Dominant pent (or whatever you want to call it) can be used harmonically and melodically over ANY of the 4 common heptatonics (maj / mel min / harm min / harm maj) starting from the 5th degree of each of these scales.
    Welcome aboard Dixon. Great to have you on the list. I find your videos to be a valuable resource and I spent many hours with your Melodic Minor series.
    It makes a hugh difference when the teacher can "play the talk" with taste and technique.

    Regarding posting .pdf's, I don't know the exact method but I note other people doing it. My guess is that you do the same as if you were inserting a photo.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    There is a lot of material already available on applying pentatonics to improvisation in jazz. Ramon Ricker, Jerry Bergonzi, Bruce Saunders, Gary Campbell have all written books discussing this subject as well as the aforementioned Steve Khan. All these guys can play and know what they're talking about.

    Time is precious. Anyone interested in pentatonic improvisation should investigate their work to save time and possibly avoid trying to reinvent the wheel.

    Pentatonics can be a useful tool. Eddie Lang used them in the 1930s and so did Dick McDonough but that was only a part of their tool kit. I don't think pentatonics alone will suffice even for modern playing. Just my opinion.

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Just came across this post and watched Dr Lemos' video. I must say this sounds like a very practical system for a beginning improvisor like myself. Seems like one could get a lot of mileages from just 1 fingering, the dorian pentatonic mode 1, which covers all ii-V progression if I'm not mistaken. I played with this fingering and was able to play some lines that sounds good to me immediately. I do have one confusion after reading the reviews at Amazon, which mentioned there are 11 types of pentatonic scales and becomes 132 when multiplied by 12 keys. It seems to me the fingering is movable though so one fingering already applies to every key, right? Furthermore, it seems to me that one could start using the system for improvisation after learning only a few fingerings, as Dr. Lemos suggested in #14 regarding Satin Doll. Am I missing something here?

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    I bought your book today. It looked really interesting and pretty cheap i must say?.

    I feel stuck in a rud lately playing similar things constantly. I'm not a jazz guitarist and I try to free play on an type of music i hear. I feel this book will take me to the next level of playing across scales and make it possible to apply it to any type of music. Looking forward to it!

    Found this group bacause of it. Will be reading up on jazz.

    Thnx!

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rlemos
    Hello petepachio, Thank you so much for purchasing my book. I deeply appreciate your support. If you haven't already done so, please check out my YouTube videos on the Dorian, Mixolydian, and Ionian Pentatonic Scales. These were all done after the book got published. Also, when you get the book, please email me directly at:

    rlemos@calstatela.edu

    I have put together a 1 page ERRATA sheet on a few typos that I have found in the book (nothing major). Also, please feel free to contact me at any time regarding questions or comments.

    Thank you once again,

    Ron
    I am only now digging into this excellent book. Unfortunately, the author Ron passed away in 2012. I wish I could have thanked him for this excellent contribution to popular jazz guitar literature.

    Does anyone here have the ERRATA sheet? It would be great to see posted here. It doesn't look like it's on the Hal Leonard webpage.

    Ron's obit, an accomplished guy, with and without his guitar. I bet one of the reasons he's so good at explaining things to people like me is he's got a regular day job... (no offense to any real musicians out there!)
    In Memoriam | Cal State LA