Tag Archives: pentatonic scales guitar lesson

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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9 Surprising Pentatonic scale secrets on a Blues

Pentatonic Scales and Modern Jazz go hand in hand just like guitar and pentatonic scale do. In this video I am going to try to bring the two together using a 12 bar blues and demonstrating 9 ways you can apply pentatonic scales to this chord progression. The ideas are not only going to be on which scale to use on which chord, but more about finding a series of pentatonic scales that you can use to create other movements on top of the jazz blues.

Pentatonic Scale use on a Blues (without sounding Bluesy..)

The blues is a great progression to explore reharmonizations and super-imposed pentatonic scales. There are a lot of very standard chord changes that can be approached in many interesting ways. Most of the examples are using several scales to demonstrate other ways to move throught the changes, but there are also a few surprising scale choices for a chord here and there.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:17 12 Bar Blues and -9 Pentatonic Scale ideas from Wes and Others

1:04 Example 1

1:30 Altering the F major Pentatonic

2:33 Example 2

3:00 Wes’ Pentatonic trick applied to an F blues

3:55 Example 3

4:22 Altered Dom7th Pentatonic + A Charlie Parker observation

6:12 Example 4

6:39 The Altered Dom7th and II V I trick

7:37 Counterpoint ideas on a cadence

8:27 Example 5

8:53 Borrowing a bit of Parker Blues and Parallel Harmony

11:04 Example 6

11:31 Borrowing a bit more Parker Blues

12:28 The Tri-Tone II V and it’s Pentatonic

12:49 Example 7

13:15 Minor pentatonic and m6 pentatonic motifs

14:32 Scale ideas that help connect phrases

15:10 Example 8

15:36 Blues sounds and Tri-Tone II V’s

16:44 Example 9

17:11 Lydian Major Pentatonic, the Lydian b7 pentatonic sound

18:29 Using Pentatonic ideas to create melodic concepts and add a story to your solo

18:59 Do you have a great Pentatonic idea? Leave a comment!

19:46 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

Pentatonic Scale for Altered Chords – Modern Melodic Minor Secrets

The Pentatonic scale is one of the first things we learn. And since it is something we are very familiar with and we can use this to change it a bit and use it for other chord sounds like Altered Dominants or other melodic minor sounds. In this lesson I am going to show you a simple way to make a great pentatonic scale for altered chords and demonstrate how to learn and how to use it.

Creating the Pentatonic scale

I came up with this scale by playing a C minor pentatonic scale and then changing the C to a B. This is shown in example 1, first the C minor and then the B Lydian Augmented pentatonic scale.

As you can see in this example we can easily use that we already know 5 positions of pentatonic scales and that it is easy to “alter” the root so that we make them into or new pentatonic scale.

The Melodic Minor Connection

It is important to also notice that this scale, or 5 note set of notes. Is also a subset of the Ab melodic minor scale:

Melodic minor:       Ab Bb B Db Eb F G Ab Ab Bb

Altered pentatonic:          B        Eb F G            Bb B

This tells us that it is a part of the Ab melodic minor/ G Altered scale and we can also see that it is a good fit for the G7 with an F and a B in there.

Learning The Altered Dom7th Pentatonic Scale

Since the scale is layed out in 2 notes per string patterns across the neck, just like our normal pentatonic scales we can use some of the same exercises to get used to playing the scale

Here are a few excerpts:

The pentatonic scale in groups of 3 notes

The scale in groups of 4 notes:

Finding the chords in the scale

It is important to also have some of the structures under control in the scale. The place you probably want to start is to create some diatonic chords. In Example 5 I have stacked diatonic “3rds” which as you may know yields a lot of quartal harmony.

This exercise is shown here below:

The chords that we get from this are:

  • G7alt Quartal Voicing
  • Eb augmented triad
  • F Quartal Voicing
  • G7 Shell voicing
  • Eb Maj triad (2nd inv)

All of them are quite useful as upper-structures on a G7 altered.

Using the scale as a melody

To demonstrate the way this pentatonic scale works in the context of a II V I I have made three examples.

The first example starts with a pattern of an Fmaj7 (the arpeggio from the 3rd of Dm7). The arepggio is played in a 1 5 3 7 pattern. The line continues with a descending scale run.

On the G7alt the line is simply an ascending run up the scale that is then finally resolved to the 9th(D).

The fact that the pentatonic scale is a bit unusual in the construction makes it possible to get away with using it as a melody in the most basic form as a sort of enriched arpeggio.  

Putting some diatonic chords to use

The 2nd example starts with a Dm7 descending arpeggio. From here it continues with a short scale run. 

On the G7alt the melody is first the G7(#9) quartal voicing and then a Eb augmented triad in inversion.

The line resolves to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7.

The upper-structure triad

This example makes use of the Eb major triad as an upper structure on the G7alt.

The opening on the Dm7 line is constructed first from an F major triad followed by an Am pentatonic scale fragment. On the G7alt the line is an embellishment of an Eb root position triad followed by a small scale run that resolves to the 3rd of Cmaj7.

Working with these altered or modified pentatonic scales

When you work on using this pentatonic scale it is useful to try to tap into some of all the things you already have in your system with normal pentatonics. There is a lot of tips and ideas already explored on guitar in several styles using pentatonic scales after all. 

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Pentatonic Scales – Melodic Minor – Altered Scale

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better 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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Do you really know the pentatonic scale?

Most guitarists learn the Pentatonic Scale as one of the first things they ever learn on the guitar, and most of the time it is not a scale that we think too much about when we use it. It’s just the pentatonic scale and it’s something that is in our ears and fingers for years. And that is even if we are already for the rest playing music with extended chords, altered dominants etc.

In this lesson I am going to take apart the pentatonic scale and look at some of the things that you can find in there since that might yield some new ways of using it by combining what you know of the pentatonic scale and what you know about improvising with chords and arpeggios.

The Pentatonic Scale

The pentatonic scale that I will spend time on in this lesson is this D minor pentatonic scale:

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 1

If you try to remember all the exercises you have done in a pentatonic scale you will probably find that they are all sequences and groups of notes (3 and 4 are very common) more than they are praciticing specific structures that could be seen as a chord.

Diatonic chords in the Pentatonic scale

In a major scale we create chords by stacking diatonic 3rds. A diatonic third is basically a just a note followed by the note 2 steps higher in the scale. If we build chords in the scale like this we get this scale exercise:

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 2

To get a better overview of what these arpeggios are you can play them as chords (the pentatonic scale is very forgiving with it’s 2 note per string fingerings) and that will give us the following set of chords that are “diatonic triads” in the pentatonic scale.

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 3

As you can see the “triads” that we build are almost never consisiting of actuall 3rd intervals and especially the 4th is much more present in the chords which is why we get stacks of 4ths (the sus chord inversions).

The chords we have are then Dm, F, Gsus4, Csus4, Dsus4 which you could consider the diatonic triads in the scale.

Even if it is possible to play this in a position like I did in example 3 it is very useful both for comping and for using them as arpeggios to practice these on a string set like shown in example 4:

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 4

It is worth while to keep in mind that if you can use the pentatonic scale to play a solo over a chord then probably the chords in example 4 are good for comping over that chord. Maybe try out example 4 over a Bb bass note to get a Bbmaj7 sound.

Open voiced diatonic chords

Now that we have 3 different types of chords: major, minor and sus4. We can start getting more out of the chords by playing them as open voiced triads. The easiest place to start with making open voiced triads is to take example 4 and then lower the 2nd note an octave. If you do that you will get the following chords:

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 5

With open voiced triads you get a lot out of inverting them, because they contain a lot of quite large intervals. To just cover that I’ve written out a set of inversions for each type of the open voiced triads:

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 6

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 7

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 8

Practicing these open voiced triad inversions is a great thing to put to use with pentatonic scales and they are also great for right hand accuracy and technique since they contian a lot of irregular string skips.

If you want to check out open voiced triads in more detail you can also have a look at this lesson: Open Triads in Solos

Shell voicings in the pentatonic scale

One way to think of the D minor pentatonic scale is to think of it as a Dm7 arpeggio with an added G. Since the Dm7 chord is to be found in the scale we can of course also use a Dm7 shell voicing and try to play that through the scale.

I have written this out in example 9. The most logical starting point seemed to be the standard Dm7 shell voicing in the 5th fret. From There I take it through all 5 degrees of the scale to get some other voicings. Some of the voicings have nice seconds in them and can be put to good use in any situation where Dm pentatonic is an option.

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 9

If you want to know more about using shell voicings as arpeggios you can also check out my lesson on this subject: Shell Voicings as Arpeggios

A few examples

All three examples are basic II V I progressions in the key of C, so Dm7, G7alt and Cmaj7. They should illustrate how you can use some of the arpeggios and structures cover in the first part of this article.

The first example is using the open voiced triads, and more or less just playing the first two arpeggios from example 5, which are a Dm and then an inversion of a Csus4 (or an open voiced Fsus2 if you will). From there the line descends down the scale and continues to a G7 alt line that is based around an AbmMaj7(9) arpeggio that then is resolved via the Ab to the 5th(G) of C.

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 10

Using the “diatonic triads” from example 2 in a similar basic way is also a very useful. In the 2nd line I start of with an A and then go into the F major 2nd inversion and G sus 4 triads from example 2. On the G7alt the line is using the Bb min pentatonic scale. First a stack of 4ths from Bb, which would be the same as the Dsus4 triad in example 2.  Fromt here it descends down the scale and resolves to the 7th of Cmaj7

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 11

The third example is mixing up the open voiced  triads and stacks of 4ths. First an open voiced Csus4 triad followed by a Gsus4 triad. From there it continues with a basic line on G7alt that is build around an AbmMaj7 arpeggio that via an chromatic approach resolves to the 5th(G) of Cmaj7

Do you really know the pentatonic scale ex 12

Some of the chord names that I end up using in this lesson like the Gsus4 and the Dsus4 are maybe not the best names to describe the sound that you have at your disposal with these arpeggios, but it is still very worth while to use this approach to get some new arpeggios and melodic structures out of the pentatonic scale. By looking at it in the same way we would the major or melodic minor scale.

I hope that you can use the material that I went over here to get some new ideas and make some good surprising lines using pentatonic scales.

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Do you really know the pentatonic scale

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make thme fit what you want to hear.

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