Who Said Pentatonics Werent Cool?

SvenHock

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I've played them all my life, never ventured very far until a couple of years ago but, I've come back and there are so many ways to make these so called tired scales sound cool and twisted. If I'm not mistaken, it seems harder to be able to play pentatonics with conviction and speed compared to diatonic, 3 note per string stuff?
 

willhutch

Silver Supporting Member
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I don't think it is the pentatonics that aren't cool. Rather it's the blues-box wanking.

There was a time in jazz history when pentatonics were the avant-garde, super-hip thing. They indeed have a very nice, open quality - especially when players take advantage of th 4th intervals in the scale. Some guitar players that make use of pentatonics in a unique way are Eric Johnson, Steve Khan, Jimi Hendrix (think of the song "Waterfall), Wes Montgomery.

Jerry Bergonzi has a book dealingwith pentatonics. He has some ways of moving around the pentatonic scales that sound really cool. They involve patterns of playing adjacent notes and skipped notes. He is a sax payer, so the lines he creates are not inherently guitaristic.

My own opinion is that it is harder to rip pentatonics that it is 3-note-per-string stuff, but easier to play with conviction.
 

Kappy

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On the guitar there are at least 3 different ways to finger the pentatonics and tons of ways to pick them. Choosing a new fingering/picking approach sometimes makes all the difference in the world.
 

JohnM

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706
Yeah - the scale itself can't be un-cool...the usage on the other hand, can be all sorts of un-cool.
 

Scott Auld

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Throw in some chromatics once in a while - help a brotha out. :) Pentas + Chromas = teh brootalz


/HC
 
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A pentatonic scale is any scale with five notes, right?

I believe there are a bunch of cool ones in the Slominsky Thesaurus of Scales and Patterns book.

There are also the Japanese, Indonesian, etc. pentatonic scales...
 

Scott Auld

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A pentatonic scale is any scale with five notes, right?

I believe there are a bunch of cool ones in the Slominsky Thesaurus of Scales and Patterns book.

There are also the Japanese, Indonesian, etc. pentatonic scales...


Yeah, but unless otherwise noted, I think everyone has an unwritten agreement to interpret the word 'Pentatonic' as the common minor diatonic Pentatonic scale.

At least on the playgrounds we play marbles on around here.
 
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Well, SvenHock started this thread and was looking for cool pentatonics, without specifying that they MUST be ONLY scales used in Western blues and rock music. There are several people who post here regularly who use the Slonimsky book (the Pentatonic chapter starts on pg. 160).

BTW, "name" rock guitarists who have mentioned unusual pentatonics in interviews include Shawn Lane, Steve Vai, Jason Becker...

Blame Sven, not me, if talking about pentatonic scales outside of your familiar zone is making you uncomfortable. :Devil
 

Swain

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2,404
Pentatonics are really versatile. I find new ways to use them, all the time.

Here's a cool application:

Over a Dominant chord, play a minor pentatonic based off of the 5th. of the chord.

Over G7 play Dm Pentatonic.
 

SvenHock

Member
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1,060
Well, SvenHock started this thread and was looking for cool pentatonics, without specifying that they MUST be ONLY scales used in Western blues and rock music. There are several people who post here regularly who use the Slonimsky book (the Pentatonic chapter starts on pg. 160).

BTW, "name" rock guitarists who have mentioned unusual pentatonics in interviews include Shawn Lane, Steve Vai, Jason Becker...

Blame Sven, not me, if talking about pentatonic scales outside of your familiar zone is making you uncomfortable. :Devil

Guilty, as charged. I accept responsibility and punishment for my horrible actions. :)

Really, instead of screwing around with some off the wall harmonic minor scale that the masses could give a piss about, shower them with pentatonic licks that even mere mortals can digest.
 

Scott Auld

Administrator
Staff member
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12,389
Well, SvenHock started this thread and was looking for cool pentatonics, without specifying that they MUST be ONLY scales used in Western blues and rock music. There are several people who post here regularly who use the Slonimsky book (the Pentatonic chapter starts on pg. 160).

BTW, "name" rock guitarists who have mentioned unusual pentatonics in interviews include Shawn Lane, Steve Vai, Jason Becker...

Blame Sven, not me, if talking about pentatonic scales outside of your familiar zone is making you uncomfortable. :Devil


:D:D:D I think you are reading more into my reply than was there. :):):)
 
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15,738
Guilty, as charged. I accept responsibility and punishment for my horrible actions. :)

Really, instead of screwing around with some off the wall harmonic minor scale that the masses could give a piss about, shower them with pentatonic licks that even mere mortals can digest.

Well, you really, really want to shower people with harmonic minor pentatonic ideas without getting booed off the stage, you could always disguise them with good songwriting. :YinYang

A friend of mine pointed out that some popular singer back in the day (Paula Cole?) used the full chromatic scale for one of her melodies, but nobody noticed because of the arrangement. I sure didn't notice until this was pointed out.

The Simpsons theme has some odd intervals, but again, millions and millions of people watch the show and aren't bothered by the theme.
 




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