Tag Archives: pentatonic scale

Pentatonic Scale vs Arpeggios – Focus on The Right Things

What to focus on when learning Jazz Guitar: The Pentatonic Scale, that you know or the arpeggios that everybody keeps talking about? It is difficult to make the right choice, but you also want to get it right so that you don’t practice something that won’t help you get what you want from playing Jazz!

This is a very common question in YouTube comments and my Facebook group.

Surprisingly the answer is not that simple, because it is really about what You think is important and what you want to achieve, but it is still important that you make the right choice.

 

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Content:

00:00 Intro

00:30 A Difficult But Important Choice

00:40 Pentatonic Scales – Start With What You Know

02:27 Chords That Don’t Fit With A Pentatonic Scale

02:54 What Do You Think?

03:23 A Jazz Lick with Pentatonic Scales vs A Bebop Jazz Line

04:46 How Most Jazz Musicians Think about Pentatonic Scales

05:55 Arpeggios – Directly Into The Jazz Vocabulary

06:24 Connecting To The Harmony

07:19 Jazz & Bebop Vocabulary

07:45 Which one is better?

08:25 Getting more out of Pentatonic Scales!

08:30 Like the video? Check out my Patreon page!

 

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Sign up for my newsletter – Get the II V I Ebook

 

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Things You Should Know In The Pentatonic Scale

The Pentatonic scale is one of the first things we learn on guitar, and it is also a great scale to use on top of Jazz Chords. But there are also a lot of really great melodies and arpeggios that most people don’t use. In fact, it is one of the best ways you can make really melodic sounding licks with large intervals.

In this video, I am going to show some of them and how you can use them in some really great sounding lines and not only try to play Eric Clapton’s licks on maj7 chords.

 

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More lessons on using the Pentatonic scale in Jazz

7 Pentatonic Tricks That Will Make You Play Better Jazz Solos

5 Pentatonic Scales That Are Great On A Maj7

Lady Bird – Arpeggios & Pentatonic Scales

Content:

00:00 Intro

01:14 Diatonic Quartal Arpeggios

01:23 II Valt I lick with Quartal pattern

01:35 The Diatonic Triad Exercise

02:22 Another way to play them – More like Holdsworth

02:55 Economy Picking

03:08 Modal m7 lick with this fingering

03:36 Playable Melodic Patterns – A “real” Triad like C major (And Some Economy Picking)

04:33 Using it for a II V I lick

05:07 Playable Melodic Patterns – Based on the Am triad

06:08 Using it for a II V I lick

06:28 A Pentatonic Hack for maj7 chords and a great Bm Pattern

07:24 Open-voiced triads and Quintal Arpeggios

08:04 Making Lines with Large Intervals

08:47 Applying Pentatonic Scales to Jazz Harmonies

08:53 Like the video? Check out my Patreon page

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Altered Scale – How To Make It Sound Amazing

The Altered scale is a very common sound in Jazz and also one that can be tricky to get into your playing. In this video, I am quickly going to cover how you get it to work in your playing and what to practice and focus on. Then I am going to go over some examples of what you can use and how you can get that to sound fantastic in your solos with a little bit of practice.

The Altered Scale is a mode of melodic minor, and there are many great sounds in there that you can use in your own playing.

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Content:

00:00 Intro

00:47 What the altered scale is for a dominant?

01:46 The 2 problems with the altered scale

02:24 How to get around that just by thinking a little bit differently.

03:06 Lines with Direction and Target Notes

03:44 Using the “trick” to make lines

05:06 More Diatonic Arpeggios

06:12 Non Diatonic Arpeggios

06:38 Triad Pairs

07:19 Quartal Arpeggios

08:04 Drop2 voicings

08:45 Sus4 triads

09:31 Melodic Minor is Awesome!

09:37 Like the video? Check out my Patreon page

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A Great New Sound In Your Jazz Solo

Arpeggios and scales are often reduced to the notes they contain against a chord, but by doing that you throw away other information that is more important for the sound of your jazz solo, and this is something you want to be aware of and not miss.

It is a way to get so much more out of scales and even pentatonic scales that you already know because you can use them in a different way.

What is the difference?

If you listen to how quartal arpeggios sound on a II V I: 

Compared to a more traditional bop line:

Of course, you can mix the two as well, but I think this makes the difference quite clear.

There are a few ways to approach this, and I am going to go over both diatonic and pentatonic options using the II V I in G major: Am7 D7alt Gmaj7

The Scale and a Diatonic Arpeggio exercise

For the Am7 and Gmaj7, you can use the G major scale, and it is fairly easy to play a G major scale in diatonic quartal arpeggios:

The construction of a diatonic quartal arpeggio is really simple:

G A B C D E F# G A B C D

if you want to find the quartal arpeggio on B you just stack 4th intervals: B E A:

 

or for C: C F# B, but notice here that you get an augmented 4th between C and F#:

Using this on the Am7 chord

It is easy to make some lines using these arpeggios on Am7, especially if you avoid using the ones with the F# in there (for now anyway)

That gives us these:

Example using Quartal Arpeggios on Am7

Here I am using two quartal arpeggios on Am7, the one from B and the one from A. I actually continue with quartals on the D7 altered, but I am going to cover those a little later.  First, let’s try to come at this from a pentatonic scale instead of a major scale.

Am pentatonic scale and an important exercise

You all know the Am pentatonic scale:

And if you play this exercise in that scale:

A lot of these are quartal arpeggios (high light and explain) also the C and Am triads

Example using the Pentatonic scale

You can use this as a way to get to this sound in a lick like this

Quartal Arpeggios on an Altered Dominant

Now let’s look at how you can also use quartal harmony on an altered dominant:

Here I am using quartal harmony on all 3 chords and it is constructed so that I am moving two quartal arpeggios on each chord as a motif.

You can practice the quartal arpeggios in the Eb melodic minor

See this in use on a song:

Lady Bird – Arpeggios & Pentatonic Scales

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5 Pentatonic Scales That Are Great On A Maj7

Pentatonic scales are a great resource to get some solid melodies and colorful extensions to shine on a maj7 chord. In this video, I am going to go over 5 options for pentatonic scales that are really great on a maj7 chord. Some of them you know already, but I will also show you how to get them to sound a little more interesting. A few others you probably don’t know and I actually had a hard time finding the right name for them.

I am going to go over the 5 scales but also give you some tips or hacks on how to make more interesting melodies with pentatonic scales because that is something that is very underestimated.

#1 Am Pentatonic (or C major)

The first one is sort of obvious: Am pentatonic is C major pentatonic so that works on this Cmaj7 chord. If you first try this then it probably sounds dull and lacks any interesting color, but that is a matter of the types of melodies you can make with a pentatonic scale as you will see in the example and  exercises If you look at the scale against a C then is sort of giving you the sound of an A C6/9 chord:

A C D E G 6 1  9 3 5

As you will see in this video I use the name of the pentatonic scales from the minor root because that is how most people first learned them. In the end it doesn’t matter too much what name it is as long as it is the same group of notes. In the line, I am using two open triads that are found in the scale, a 1st inversion Am and a root position C major. Using melodies like that can really change the sound a lot so that it does not have to sound like a Country solo when you use this scale. Another great exercise to check out on pentatonic scales is an exercise which is a bit like playing diatonic chords through the scale. An example of a line using this type of melody sounds like this: The scale I use here is another position which is this: and the exercise I use is coming from this pattern through the scale. ex 5

#2 Em Pentatonic

I have mentioned this one quite a few times before and it is a great sound on Maj7 chords: The minor pentatonic scale from the 3rd of the chord. This time I am also going to go over a little hack that I really like to get a different sound out of this scale. The scale could be played like this: Against the Cmaj7 it gives you these colors:

E G  A B D 3 5 13 7 9

and a lick using it sounds like this: Notice how I am again using the quartal arpeggios in the line to get a different sound.

The Blues Hack

A variation on this sound is to use the E blues scale on a Cmaj7. So this is the same scale but with an added Bb or A#. The added note does not fit with the Cmaj7 chord but does work well as a leading note for either the A or the B Using that could sound like this:

#3 Bm Pentatonic – Lydian sound

The final”normal” Pentatonic scale is using the minor pentatonic scale from the 7th of the chord. For Cmaj7 that is B minor pentatonic EX 10

With this scale we have:

B D E   F#  A 7 9 3 #11  13

So a lot of colors and especially the #11 that can be extra colorful if it is in a place that we expect to hear a tonic major chord. A line using the Bm pentatonic scale sounds like this:

#4 Hirajoshi Scale

This scale is actually a Cmaj7 chord with an added #11. From E it is E F# G B C but you could see it as Cmaj7:

C E G B plus F# 1 3 5 7        #11

The scale has a tritone which interval from C to F# and that really makes the melodies sound very different. You can play the scale like this: I am playing these scales with two notes per string because that means that I can easily translate my patterns from other pentatonic scales on to this, this means a few stretches but also makes it really easy to get a lot of vocabulary fast when you start using the scale. and if you use it in a line it sounds like this:

#5 Locrian Pentatonic

This scale I couldn’t find a name for, but I ended up calling it Locrian Pentatonic: F# A B C E. You could look at it as a F#minor pentatonic with a b5. if you have a better suggestion for a name  then feel free to let me know in the comments. This is also a scale giving you a #11 or Lydian sound on a maj7 chord. The scale I am using on the Cmaj7 is the F# Locrian Pentatonic: Against C that is

F#   A   B C E #11 13 7 1 3

You can play it like this: This scale also has the tritone between C and F# which I am using for some nice quartal arpeggios in the example like this: A great little exercise to get used to the sound of this scale is a variation of the chords exercise I went over in the beginning:

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7 Pentatonic Tricks That Will Make You Play Better Jazz Solos

You might be getting Pentatonic scales wrong, and it is a really great and powerful Jazz sound even when you are using a very basic version of it. In this video, I am going to talk about how to come up with great pentatonic scale jazz licks and go over 7 ways to use pentatonic scales over chords  I will start really simple and go pretty far out.

Check out more posts on Pentatonics in Jazz

1 Pentatonic Scale over 8 Chords

Pentatonic Scale – How To Not Sound Like The Blues

9 Surprising Pentatonic scale secrets on a Blues

Get The PDF

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https://www.patreon.com/posts/7-pentatonic-you-34711070

Content:

0:00 Intro – It is More Than Just an Easy Scale!

0:52 What is Pentatonic Sound?

1:10 #1 Minor Pentatonic   – Difference between bop sound and pentatonic melodies

2:02 Comparing Bop and Pentatonic melodies

3:05 #2 Minor Pentatonic 3rd of Maj7

4:06 #3 Lydian pentatonic

4:26 #4 Minor 6 pentratonic on Altered Dominant

6:40 #5 Minor 6 pentatonic on Dominant 

7:30 #6 Altered scale (maj b6 pentatonic)

9:30 #7 Lydian Augmented

9:53 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

Altered Scale – The Most Important Things to Know

The Altered scale is a difficult scale to get into your playing. At the same time, altered dominants are also a cornerstone sound in Jazz, and you need to learn how to solo over them.

This video is presenting 15 different things you can use on an altered dominant so you will have a huge vocabulary of triads, arpeggios, and pentatonics that you can work with in your solos.

The point of the scale is to sound dissonant and ask for resolution, so you need to keep that in mind when you practice using it.

Pentatonic Scales, Triads, and Arpeggios

It is important to have a big vocabulary of material that you can use when you are improvising. Having a set of things you can use as a flexible part of your playing is going to give you a lot more freedom when you are playing.

0:00 Intro

0:41 #1 Fø

1:04 #2 Db7

1:29 #3 AbmMaj7

1:55 #4 B augmented

2:17 #5 Bbm Pentatonic

2:43 #6 Bmaj7#5

3:06 #7 Quartal #9

3:30 #8 Db, B aug triad pair

3:53 #9 Bmaj7(b5)

4:15 #10 Quartal from Bb and B

4:39 #11 Absus4

5:04 #12 Eb7#5

5:28 #13 Eb,Db triad pair

5:52 #14 Ebsus4

6:14 #15 Abm, Bbm

6:37 Like The Video? Check out My Patreon Page!

Other lessons on Altered Scale Ideas

Altered Scale – 3 Great Pentatonic Solutions (Easy And Powerful)

Triad pairs in the altered scale

3 Altered Scale Arpeggios that you forgot to learn!

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Pentatonic Scale – How To Not Sound Like The Blues

The Pentatonic Scale can be great both as a way to get started playing jazz and also just some extra material that you can use as another sound if you are already playing jazz. But when you want to use The Pentatonic Scale in jazz you don’t always want to use blues licks. You want to play melodies that sound like jazz.

In this video, I am going to go over some exercises and show you how you can use them to get another sound out of pentatonic scales and create some modal and some II V I jazz lines. Pentatonic scales are a huge part of the vocabulary of people like Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel and John Scofield.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:15 Jazz Melodies with Pentatonic Scales

0:39 Who Uses Pentatonic Scales in Jazz

0:58 Example 1

1:02 The Basic Am Pentatonic Box

1:28 Analyzing the Example

2:14 Exercises  1

2:27 Making Variations on Exercise 1

3:23 Example 1 – slow

3:28 Using The Am Pentatonic Scale with other material

3:42 Example 2

4:02 Example 2 – slow

4:07 Example 3

4:10 What is really important about the exercises!

4:37 Exercise 2 – Construction

5:10 Exercise 2 – Demonstration

5:16 Analysis of Example 3

5:43 Example 3 – Slow

5:53 Example 4 – Using it in a II V I

6:11 Example 4 – Slow

6:36 Example 5

6:40 Flexibility in Practicing

7:04 Designing Exercises with Good Phrasing

7:18 Analysing Example 5

7:56 Exercise 3

8:38 Example 5 – Slow8:41 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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Easy Jazz Licks – How To Use The Pentatonic Scale

A big part of what makes Jazz difficult in the beginning is that you have to play solos that really follow the chords and when you listen to people playing you hear different sounds flying by.
In this video, I am going to show you how you can pentatonic scale jazz licks. I will go over some jazz licks, and in that way help you get started playing solos where you really follow the harmony.

If you are already familiar with playing over changes then using pentatonic scales is something that can add another sound to your solos and in that way increase your vocabulary so you may find that useful as well.

II V I jazz licks with Pentatonic Scales

The examples in this lesson are all on a II V I in C major, as shown here below.

For each chord I am going to use a different minor pentatonic scale.

Dm7 – Dm Pentatonic

G7alt – Bbm Pentatonic

Cmaj7 – Em Pentatonic

I am going to be using one position of each scale and keep it simple to use . The scales are shown here below first as sheet music and tabs, and then Scale diagrams:

Dm Pentatonic:

Bbm Pentatonic:

Em Pentatonic:

II V I lick #1

The first example is using a fairly simple lick using mostly scale runs within the pentatonic scales.

Notice how I transition from chord to chord using a stepwise motion. D to Db going from Dm7 to G7 and Eb to E when moving from G7 to C.

Never Ending Scale Exercise

A great way to practice moving smoothly from one scale to the next is to play an exercise like this. Here I am moving up Dm pentatonic for 1 bar and then continuing to the closest note in Bbm pentatonic when the chord changes to G7. On the G7alt the scale turns back at the top note and goes to the B in Em pentatonic when the chord changes to Cmaj7.

II V I lick #2

Pentatonic scale positions are two notes per string, and that makes them great candidates for using legato. This example demonstrates that.

It is also an example of how you can make pentatonic licks that skips around and does not move only in a stepwise manner.

To practice playing some basic melodic skips you can do this exercise which is essential playing a pentatonic scale in diatonic 3rds.

II V I lick #3

Using rhythmical patterns and adding more movement to the lick. I am again using some legato to play the lick.

The pattern on the G7 is moving around a 3 note pattern in the scale. This breaks up the rhythm in a nice way, and shifting rhythms like these are an important part of jazz phrasing.

You can practice the pattern through the pentatonic scale to get more used to playing this. It also really builds your general flexibility with the scales.

Taking Pentatonics to Jazz and getting started Soloing

A great jazz song to check out using pentatonic scales on is Blue Bossa. If you want to dig into a lesson on Blue Bossa then you can check out this lesson:

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Altered Scale – 3 Great Pentatonic Solutions (Easy And Powerful)

Finding good ideas for using The altered scale can be difficult and often we end up just running the scale and not really making any interesting melodies.

In this video I will go over 3 pentatonic scales you can use when improvising over an altered dominant which is a great way to get some strong and interesting melodic ideas. Pentatonic scales are a great and easy to use resource on the guitar and as you will see you can do a lot with them.

The Sound of Pentatonic Scale in Modern Jazz

I really like to use pentatonic scales in my playing to get some more modern sounding ideas, which is also where the pentatonic scale is mostly used, but it is overall a very effective tool.

Connecting to the basic G Altered Scale

G7 altered is the same as Ab melodic minor:

Ab Bb B Db Eb F G Ab

We have one straight minor pentatonic scale:

Bbm – Bb Db Eb F Ab Bb

That’s what I am using here in this next example.

In example 2 I am first playing the scale as a 2nd position minor pentatonic.  I also use another way which is to play it in a 3-1 pattern.  This has 3 notes on one string , 1 note on the next etc. That is written in the 2nd 2 bars of example 2 here below.

Next lick another type of pentatonic scale that works really well for melodic minor sounds and especially the Altered scale. I will also go over some useful exercises to combine legato and picking for playing fast in the pentatonic scale.

The altered lick using Bbm pentatonic

Here below is the lick using the Bbm pentatonic scale. The first part is just runing up the basic scale position. in the 2nd bar I use 2 different 3 note per string patterns and then resolve to the G on Cmaj7. The line is closed with a small fragment from an Em pentatonic.

Abm6 Pentatonic

Abm6 pentatonic is a very good choice for a pentatonic scale in the altered scale. In fact it is great fro most chords you come across in melodic minor.

Abm6 pentatonic: Ab B Db Eb F Ab 

You can play that like this:

Connecting it to the tritone substitute

You can also look at it the scale as a Db7(9): Db F Ab B Eb which is how I am using it here.

Ab B Db Eb F re-ordered is Db F Ab B Eb

which is a Db7(9) arpeggio.

The example here below starts with a Db7 arpeggio and ending on the 9th in the 2nd bar two octaves higher. From here it resolves to the 9th on Cmaj7 and ends with a short lick on the Cmaj7.

Mixing legato and picking

This lick relies on mixing legato and picking. I find that those two are really cornerstones in my playing and it makes sense to have exercises where you mix them so that you can solve problems for your right hand with legato.

Here below I included an example of an exercise like this using the Abm6  pentatonic.

Let’s have a look at a more exotic but also effective pentatonic scale for altered dominants, some economy picking and how an E7sus4 chord works great on a Cmaj7.

The Eb major b6 pentatonic

This is the Eb major (b6) pentatonic scale: Eb F G Bb B Eb

It is  a great scale to spell out the sound of  melodic minor because it has the augmented triad from B included.

Constructing the scale

Since we are using the scale over a G7 altered it makes sense to connect it to a Cm pentatonic scale. You can construct the scale by taking a Cm pentatonic replace the C with a B. That makes it easier to find fingerings:

Major b6 pentatonic scale example with economy picking

The example using this scale is making use of an economy picking pattern in the first bar. I am using the economy picking to play the 3 note patterns in bar one branching into bar 2.  From there it starts with a small scale pattern resolving to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7.

The arpeggio on the Cmaj7 is an E7sus4 which works great for that sound. It is also a part of the Em pentatonic scale I am using on that chrord.

Using pentatonic scales in Jazz

The way I work with pentatonics is mostly to get a different sound than the standard blues phrasing, they work great for some open sounds and different melodies. How do you work with pentatonics? Leave a comment and be sure to also check out the ideas that are discussed in the comments because often there is a lot of interesting information being shared.

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Altered Scale – 3 pentatonic scales

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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