View Full Version : Hendrix/SRV/Clapton - Scales ????
11-25-2007, 04:27 PM
I'm curious to know if these legends really knew any scales. Any real proof? Sure, they played in scales, but did they know it? Did they care?
11-25-2007, 06:22 PM
Outside some basic pentatonic shapes, probably not. Most of what they played was by ear.
11-25-2007, 06:33 PM
"Blues scale" ... a term that is either a cop-out or catch-all term for when the player becomes greater than the notes that are being played :)
11-25-2007, 07:26 PM
it's more like they knew the chords they were playing over and what note/interval they were playing at that time. hendrix had a pretty good grasp of chord theory, that much is for sure. dunno about srv/clapton but they probably did as well. so what are "scales?" they had to at least know major/minor scales, and through that probably had a fair derivation of the modes. i don't think any of them bothered too much with the harmonic or diminished scales though, or anything more than that. maybe melodic. oh yeah and obviously most derivations of the blues scale.
key point though is what note you're playing over what chord and knowing what it's going to sound like. that's the bare-bones essential in my opinon.
11-25-2007, 07:48 PM
hendrix had a pretty good grasp of chord theory, that much is for sure. d
understatement of the century :dude
11-25-2007, 07:54 PM
Given that A) I'm not a mind reader and B) two of the three guys you mentioned are dead, it would be difficult for me to determine what these gents thought about when they played. I can tell you however that the VAST majority of what they played can be found in what is often referred to as the blues scale (minor penatonic with a flat fifth added). A good place to start would be to learn the blues scale and toss in some major thirds (bending the minor third up to a major third is something those guys did a lot--especially Clapton) and start playing some of the licks these cats played.
Or you could just give up because you'll never be as cool as Gulliver thinks he is. ;-)
11-25-2007, 10:55 PM
I heard that Hendrix had no idea about what we would technically call "chord theory." That being said, I think he was a genius in the way he understood theory innately! In fact I think I read somewhere that he described chords by the feelings and colors that he felt playing them. I find it really interesting that he knew in his mind so much more than I could ever grasp, but it just made sense to him holistically instead of having to play by conventional theory and scale rules. Regardless of all the details... one thing's for sure: Hendrix rocks!
11-25-2007, 11:08 PM
I had a childhood friend who played guitar for 6 month only and he could already turn on the radio and play any tune on the spot, even songs he never heard before.
After a year or two put on any crazy jazz solo and he would play it on the spot.
Just amazing ears and amazing memory (the guy was a walking phone book)
Some people are simply gifted.
11-25-2007, 11:18 PM
Damn those people!!!!
11-26-2007, 08:44 AM
HI well I know the played much in pentatonic scales but also far away from that, they played by ear and try and error. Listen to Red Houde from Jimi you notice he is trying some stuff out, its changes all the times. Thats what these guy are so good at making music at will and bends notes to their own taste. Its called skills and you have to play a lot and study hard to do that. Every LP Eric or Jimi and SRV had they know from A to Z and every style the hear they try to master. You can hear that Jimi, Eric and SRV had listen a lot to country,Rock and Roll, Jazz and blues. Their styles is a mixup of all those muscstyles and remember they didn't had Tab. When I want to learn a song I listen to the CD and try to get the same feeling and try to get that specific thing about the song. Music isn't just about scales, you can makes music by using scale but only use scale makes no music. Scales are a tool to learn and understand how your fretboard works and you can exercise your fingers with it.
11-26-2007, 08:51 AM
John Coltrane knew his scales!
11-26-2007, 09:13 AM
understatement of the century :dude
No. I think maybe book wise he wouldn't talk that way. But Hendrix knew the stuff he played intuitively.
A lot of the greats even jazz guys didn't know half the theory some do. I think theory kind've came about as way to describe and analyze what they did. Maybe they were just thinking chromatic or playing with or against a chord tone. They might've not even known a zillion scales.
11-26-2007, 09:26 AM
Clapton once said, his most satisfying moment during a solo would be when he stopped playing what he'd come up himself and start playing all these licks copped from Albert King, Freddie King and Robert Johnson, note for note.
Larry Carlton didn't even have a clue about a scale an audience was talking to him about, during one of his clinics. He did admit he has great understanding of harmony.
Eric Johnson couldn't name a chord he was playing in his instruction video.:eek:
I believe many gifted musicians just couldn't "name" all of what they play. They just play with and by their ears. They just play what sounds good to them.
The publishers, teachers and us, students, aspiring learners, try to comprehend what they did by using words to describe, organize and systemize what they play so that we can better understand.
Unlike many of us, they play the music first, they don't need to bother documenting or naming or comprehenting what they themselves had play, afterwards.
A great chef just come up with great dishes by cooking, tasting and experimenting , not by following any recipe or set rules.
Nevertheless, Coltrane and Davis do know and can name what they play inside out and upside down. They came up with new names for scales and chords from time to time.
In my humble opinion musical language is one that can be self determined. You know, in terms of shapes (of chords and scales) and sounds that go with them and how they react to one another. I've known people who instinctively play in pentatonic major over country type tunes and pentatonic minor over blues. They know the theory but most definitely don't know the names.
It's necessary to know a 'standardised' language to communicate your ideas to other musicians - no surprise you've mentioned guys who sang, played and wrote all on their own.
- a few genralisations in there but I think you get the point.
11-26-2007, 01:04 PM
I remember when I first got my guitar 10 years ago I didn't take any lessons or learned any theory beyond knowing a few basic chords. I would mess around and try to make a good sounding solo and I came up with something that sounded pretty decent to me.
Fast forward 8 years, I finally start to read and learn theory and low and behold, that "solo" that I came up with was simply the extended version of the major pentatonic scale.
Point is, like others posted, they knew the scales and whatnot, simply by messing around with it, but never knew the technical names of them.
I would imagine, though, that if you'd ask them if they played off the "blues scale" or "pentatonic" scale they'd say yes. I wouldn't think they'd be able to answer if you asked them about lydian, dorian, and whatnot.
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