Robben Ford riffs/licks

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by PLAYLOUD, Oct 24, 2005.


  1. PLAYLOUD

    PLAYLOUD Member

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    In one of the guitar mags, they talked about Robben using the 6th to sweet up the scale. But, I don't recall which scale they we're talking about. I'm assuming the 7th scale, which if it is that would mean the 6th note of the 7th scale ( A-7), would be F#?

    Can anyone shed some light on this for me? If its not a 7th scale and say a minor scale (A-min) the 6th would be F?

    Thanks
     
  2. That'd be F#, yes. They could have meant adding the 6th to the A minor pentatonic scale, or meant to highlight using the 6th degree of the A dorian mode - it pretty much comes out the same. As a rule of thumb, if context leaves you uncertain what someone means by a scale degree, you can assume they mean what the note would be in the major scale (although context usually makes everything but sixths and the occasional seventh and occasional fourth pretty clear, if you're talking about simple harmony).

    I'm not sure what usage you have in mind for a "7th scale"...if someone said that to me, I'd guess they meant "a 7-note mode that outlines a seventh chord," without it meaning any mode/chord in particular...i.e., C major, D dorian, E phrygian are all "7th scales"...is that what you meant?

    And yes, it's a "sweet" sound...B.B. King is the example that always comes to mind for me.
     
  3. Mondoslug

    Mondoslug Member

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    Yeah I think I remember hearing that on one of his vids... replacing the 7th degree of a Pentatonic Scale with the 6th degree instead.

    A-C-D-E-F#
     
  4. PLAYLOUD

    PLAYLOUD Member

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    When I say 7th scale, I'm talking about the Mixalydian (?spelling) scale.

    Thanks that helps.
     
  5. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    This is where music theory becomes important. If we all speak the same language, we all communicate more efficiently. This is especially helpful in rehearsal, on stage and in the studio.

    Technically a 7 note scale is called a heptatonic scale however, most people use the term "diatonic" scale to mean a 7 note scale which is accurate enough for most situations. For example all the Greek modes are both heptatonic and diatonic.

    Mondoslug is correct, in the key of A, the A-C-D-E-F# pentatonic (5 note) scale is used a lot by blues guys, notably BB King.

    The Allman Bros use the major 6 note or hexatonic scale quite often.

    EX in key of A = A-B-C#-D-F#.
     
  6. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    I have the video in question and what Robben is referring to is replacing the b7 note in a minor pentatonic or blues scale with the natural 6th (aka major 6th) for a sweeter more uptown chicago blues sound in the style of BB king.

    A minor pentatonic: A C D E G / 1 b3 4 5 b7

    A Blues (adds b5): A C D D# E G / 1 b3 4 b5 5 b7

    A uptown blues: A C D E F# / 1 b3 4 5 6

    My personal observation is that none of these old school blues guys were thinking "OK now I'm gonna sub the 6 for the b7". They use them interchangably but tend to favor one or the other. These guys also love to use the major 3rd but IMO this does not mean they are playing or even conceptualizing the mixolydian mode. Put very simply what these guys do is MIX the minor and major pentatonics.

    A Minor Pent: A C D E G
    A Major Pent: A B C# E F#
    A mixolydian: A B C# D E F# G / 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
     
  7. azgolfer

    azgolfer Member

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    Listen to the solo on "North Carolina" from "The Inside Story" . He uses the 1b356 scale a lot in that one. Also check out "Frosty" by Albert Collins.
     
  8. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    By all means check out

    1, 2, b3, 5, 6

    Dorian/Melodic minor pentatonic also reffered to a the Kamoi Japanese pentatonic scale... years of fun :)

    Harry Jacobson
    www.harryj.net
     
  9. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Carlos uses the 6 also........

    As do I....... :rolleyes: :)

    jon
     
  10. PLAYLOUD

    PLAYLOUD Member

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    Harry,

    If were in the key of G are we talking about

    g, a, a#, d and e?

    I know what you mean by 1, 2 and b3 but I'm not sure how you what acutal notes you're talking about. In the example you gave above, If I take a G-7 scale, G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G and apply what you have above then the notes are G, A, A#, D, E. Am I correct?
     
  11. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Another Harry here. You are correct but your terminology is off. Use B flat not A sharp when describing the note choice. Since you listed B at the beginning and then lowered the note it would for all purposes become B flat. Even thought the two notes are the same thing you will find the note written on staff paper as B flat. It's good practice to always lower or raise the note using accidentals but keep the letter the same as it was originally.
     
  12. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    What's cool about this is that many blues/rock folks use the 6th with Major petatonic stuff, rather than with minor pentatonic stuff.
    So in blues, for example, playing this in A is cool in two very different ways over the A7 and over the D7
     
  13. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    At times the sound of a minor, and minor pentatonic scales becomes somewhat predictable and redundant to say the least.

    Some ways to keep it interesting are to either omit a note, add a note or 2, substitute a note or 2.

    Try replacing the b7 of the min pent or even blues with a 6

    1,b3(#9)*,4,5,6 or 1,b3(#9),4,b5,5,6

    or

    replace the b3 with a 2

    1,2,4,5,b7

    omit the 4 to yield a min7 arpeggio

    1,b3,5,b7

    or add a b7 to a Major pent

    1,2,3,5,6,b7 (same as omitting a 4 from Mixolydian)

    Replace the b3 (#9)* with the 3, or just add the 3 to a basic blues scale to create one of many forms of an altered blues scale

    1,3,4,b5,,5,b7 or 1,b3 (#9*),3,4,b5,5,b7

    Another idea is to use chromatic approach and descent tones

    Try to us the 1/2 step before any of the notes in any scale as a "spice" tension note.

    A cool idea is to approach a single and different note each time.

    1,(2),b3,4,5,b7
    1,b3,(3),4,5,b7
    1,b3,4,(b5),5,b7
    1,b3,4,5,(6),b7
    1,b3,4,5,b7,(M7)

    By all means... Try to avoid always starting your lines on the 1 of a scale

    Or

    On the first beat of a measure

    Try to accent an occasional up beat in a shuffle.

    USE DYNAMICS! (like I just did)

    It really becomes endless as you apply all of these combinations... and many more

    * A #9 makes more sense to me when played over a dominant 7 chord, as it's an altered embellishment

    Harry Jacobson
    N.G.W.
    www.harryj.net

    P.S. Look for me on www.workshoplive.com when they launch

    HJ
     
  14. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Great stuff, Harry. Thanks!

    You're one of my favorite players/educators.

    BTW - workshoplive looks pretty cool!
     
  15. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    Thanks Tom, kind of you to say :)

    HJ
     

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