Tip for folks stuck in the box

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Tom Gross, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    North Carolina
    OK, this is just a little thing for self-proclaimed "pentatonic box wankers" trying to break out of the box & the rut.*

    My thing here is just playing minor stuff down a 4th over Dominant chords.
    So over something in G, maybe over a G7, go up to where you usually play D stuff and play D minor things.
    Over an E9 vamp, stay right there at the 7th fret and play B minor stuff.

    Don't bend as much at first - try sliding into notes or playing without bending. Try out your minor pentatonic and dorian stuff (Santana riffs, etc.), and try skipping notes, playing every other note.

    Now, the reasons why are not important right now, but they are related to chord tones & another important cool thing, which is: over a I-IV-V playing Major pentatonic over the root (e.g. A7) and when it goes to the IV (D9) playing A minor pentatonic. It's the same thing.
    (Please see Decay-o-caster's excellent explanation of chord tones in this context in THIS thread)

    But thought of this way it can help in all kinds of contexts: Over any Dominant chord ("Bingo chord" - C7, B9, E7#9) play minor stuff based on the note "down a string" from the root.
    Over C7 play G minor stuff, over B9 play Eminor stuff, etc.

    So if you're playing some song that you can solo over most of, then it goes to some 7th chord that you can't figure out what to do over, try this trick.

    For example, cool song - Robben Ford's Prison of Love, it's mostly just blues in Gm, but instead of going to the iv (C), it goes to the #V - Eb9, then to C9, then to D9. So what do I play over the Eb9? I just go to the 6th fret and play Bb minor stuff.
    Same on any minor blues with a #V like Thrill is gone.

    It's also a good way to just mix it up. If you've been playing a lot of Rock & Blues stuff all night and are tired of your own pentatonic stuff, and here comes G7 again, just go to D minor and don't bend and you've thrown in a "jazzy" solo.

    Give it a try.....


    *I know, I know, the best thing is to really learn theory, harmony, diatonic stuff, modes, learn 100 jazz tunes from the real book, diminished stuff, don't learn modes, tritone subs, etc., etc., blah, blah. I'm just trying to throw out something that will give folks a little jump while they are also doimg all of the other stuff.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  2. srmillis

    srmillis Member

    Messages:
    101
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    The Motor City
    Thanks, Tom! Very, very useful material!
     
  3. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,453
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer
    What you are doing is thinking of a 7th chord as a V7, and then precceeding that V7 with a ii7. This is very common in jazz. So for instance if we're talking about G7 you'd be playing Dmin7 things over the top of that, and you'd have more of a G7sus sound.

    If you're thinking about playing D blues licks over that G7 the b5 in the blues scale is the b9 of G7, so that can be a hip sound.

    I know it's helpful for guitar players to use familiar fingerings over multiple chords, but I highly recommend going deeper than the "one fits all" approach. Let's say we have an E7 chord, and you want to think about a Bmin fingering because it's famiiar. Here's a Bmin pentatonic:

    1)7
    2)7-10
    3)7-9
    4)7-9
    5)7-9
    6)7-10

    Within that postion here are the notes to E7:

    1)7-10
    2)9
    3)7-9
    4)6-9
    5)7
    6)7

    So just take a minute and learn that, and then you won't have to think another chord, you can just think about playing over E7.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  4. Swain

    Swain Member

    Messages:
    2,411
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Location:
    N. Little Rock, AR.
    Here's another easy tip:

    Play your Solo on 1 String. You can use the Pentatonic, or whatever Scale/Arpeggio/etc. you want. But, keep it on 1 String. You'll probably come up with something Melodic.

    Or, you could play a Lionel Ritchie melody for a Solo. Just like "Still Got The Blues". LOL
     
  5. Sub City

    Sub City Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,457
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Location:
    Florida
    Definitely! Patterns based on the ii7 leading into the V7 will get you outside the pentatonic box and jazz up the sound.
     
  6. hottub

    hottub Member

    Messages:
    1,333
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Location:
    PA
    thanks Tom. that's some useful stuff!


    although I'm not familiar with this Bmin pent..

    1)7
    2)7-10
    3)7-8
    4)7-8
    5)7-8
    6)7-10

    ..shouldn't it be.. (7-9) for 3,4 and 5?
     
  7. gennation

    gennation Member

    Messages:
    6,705
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Good stuff Tom. Nice and simple, and inspirational.
     
  8. johnwtuggle

    johnwtuggle Member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Location:
    Decatur Ga
    Good ideas here. rockinrob is your signature a quote from Mr Mom?
    Excellent movie! :AOK
     
  9. frankencat

    frankencat Guitarded Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,628
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Cool stuff. I will definitely go over this stuff on "practice day".
     
  10. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,453
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer

    Yes- good call, I'll change it. The reason I elaborated on Tom's great post is because IMO the best way to get "out of the box" is to really understand what the box is. If you know each note and the notes outside as well the box sort of ceases to exist.



    Yup. :AOK
     
  11. MBreinin

    MBreinin Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,844
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Location:
    New Orleans, Booziana
    Maybe if I hadn't been stuck in the box rut for so long, I would have understood some of that stuff. LOL.

    One scale, 3 positions! That is me in a nutshell. :-D

    Mike
     
  12. hottub

    hottub Member

    Messages:
    1,333
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Location:
    PA
    that's for sure. I've been practicing trying to find and use those notes outside of the standard box pattern. It's like, "I know they're there", but hitting them at the right time and using them in a musical way is a whole other avenue, LOL! ...patience and practice, I guess. :jo
     
  13. johnwtuggle

    johnwtuggle Member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Location:
    Decatur Ga
    I think knowing what intervals are and how they sound will open up the entire fretboard.

    First start off learning where your root note is all over the fretboard.

    Next learn where your 3rd and 5ths are at.

    Now flat the 3rd for minor and you have a bunch of little positions.

    Next add the b7th and so on. After you understand these basic intervals, you will then need to understand what chords you can play these intervals over, and what scales occur when you do this.

    I think starting off simple and branching out from there will help a lot when learning this stuff.

    If you just play the Minor Pentatonic Scale in A starting on the 5th fret, what intervals are these. Then start adding notes, and understanding what scales are formed and when you need to play these notes.
     
  14. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Yeah! Thanks to y'all that elaborated on my OP and took it further.
    I agree, the best way to get out of the box is to peer into the box. This will lead from learning to call the notes by degrees (5th, flat 7th, etc.) - you have to call them something - to learning intervals, to learning the major scale, to understanding minor and dominant, to learning the degree, sound, and use for the "other" notes, to the whole world...

    IMHO, it is good for players who are trying to learn and are at that sort of point to learn to play something that is cool, and then try to understand why it is cool and why it works.
     
  15. gennation

    gennation Member

    Messages:
    6,705
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    In most Dominant rock and blues based stuff you can stack boxes on top of each other and find there is no box left at all...IOW...

    Stack an A Major Pentatonic directly over an A Blues scale and you get every fretted note available except three (these can also be used, they are just not present when using this simplified concept).

    With this you get A B C C# D Eb E F# G which relates to all these scales: A Min Pent, A Maj Pent, A Blues, A Dorian, A Mixolydian, A Lydian Dominant, and more...all in one view.

    That list of notes you end up with looks chromatic but when messing around with it and listening to players who have been doing this forever, you'll find it's more musical than chromatic and might be at the heart of many of the coolest licks to date by rock, blues, and country guys.

    The list of players who do this (maybe even without knowing it) would be a HUGE list. It's called many names like Major Blues, Mixo Minor, Mixo Blues, Mixo Pentatonic, Enhanced Blues, Advanced Blues, Minor Major Blues, etc...I've heard it called MANY names over the decades. I call it the Super-Imposed scale since you super-impose two scales (actually two sounds...Major and Minor sounds) over each other to create resolving sounds from one larger scale.

    I wrote a comprehensive tutorial on it, I just call it Advanced Pentatonic but it completely gets you away from "the box", gives you the "in between notes", give you some musical sounds in your playing, and it gets you into it really quick too: http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/AdvPent/AvdPentTOC.htm

    It's a real nice enhancement to chord scales over a Dominant type chord.

    READ THE INTRODUCTION for sure, it will show you the objective of the concept.

    This will blow the box up. And the best part is, you don't really have to learn anything new...just how to better use what you know...and, when you do find your way back into the old box it'll mesh perfectly with this concept and sound good instead of redundant.
     

Share This Page