why does the pentatonic have a bad reputation?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Caprica, Dec 15, 2017.


  1. dead of night

    dead of night Member

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    What are some of the best outside pentatonic scales to use over a minor chord. I really like the minor pentatonic a half step down from a major chord, love the outside sound that gives. What about over a minor chord?
     
  2. BriSol

    BriSol Member

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    Minor pent halfstep down over major chord basically is all the color notes of lydian. Cool sound.

    On on minor chord I often find myself playing minor pent or blues scale from the 5th. So, ex: B blues scale over E minor. Not so much "outside" sounding but a cool option.
     
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  3. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Minor pent from the 5th is "sweet" because it gives you the 9th of the chord (in place of the 3rd). Doesn't change the mode (could still be aeolian or dorian, but not phrygian).

    Minor pent a whole step above gives you the major 6th as well as the 9th, i.e. a dorian sound.

    Minor pent a whole step below would theoretically be phrygian, but you may find the avoid notes (b6 and b2) too dissonant, unless you resolve them down to the chord tones (root and 5th of the chord are missing from that pent).
     
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  4. StevenA

    StevenA Member

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    half step above gives you the old slippery slidery McCoy Tynery sound.
     
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  5. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Exotic pentatonic scales can be fun to mess with, but plain ol' minor and major pentatonic can sound "outside" too, just by superimposing the scale over an unexpected key. Side-slipping just one way to do it. For example play your open A string and try pentatonic scales in the keys of Bb (side slipping), B, C, C#, etc. on the higher strings.

    Check out some of Zawinul's pentatonic licks at 2:40 and onward here:

     
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  6. Dirty_Tones

    Dirty_Tones Supporting Member

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    I'm spending an enormous chunk of time on it in the first year to get strength, memory, flow, and dexterity. I've read stuff from many musicians who credit early focus on pentatonics with their subsequent achievements. Forget the haters. Working great for me.

    Also, consider things like string skipping/alternating and backing up a string before going forward as drills.
     
  7. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    in 1986-88, i wrote music (for my band) which used a typical pentatonic scale as a harmonic base upon & from which other harmonies were intended to be both placed (written) and extruded-from (improvised), but.....
    it was important for me to, errrrm, "ground" that music with a pentatonic sound.
    so,i found a drummer who was interested, willing (and technically able) to use my tunings in the electronic side of his drum kit.
    those tunings underpinned all of the material.

    here, the pents start at about 1:10; i establish them first with my kotar, an acoustic guitar with a secondary bridge (on its neck).
    on the left (lower) side of the secondary bridge, the strings are tuned to a pentatonic minor scale; on the right (higher) side, the same scale is transposed up a 5th.

    anyway, here: it was from the opening track of the record (released in 1987):



    i tried to find a "free" version of another track from that recording, "previous man", in which there are waaaay more layers of harmonic development (or "destruction/reconstruction"), but..... UMG took it off YT and such.
    it's all still in print, though, and also now available on Crucify --- i mean, Spotify.
     
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  8. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    I really enjoyed that Dave. Inspiring.
     
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  9. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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  10. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Suyahfu Skin.... great opening track to a classic album, and information-rich indeed
     
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  11. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    It's not "outside" playing, but it does sound modern ethereal. Very Larry Carlton-ish to Gambale-ish if you phrase like them

    There are three available pents derived from a major scale, in C they would be A minor the vim7, D minor the iim7, and E minor the iiim7 of C major scale.

    If your minor chord was Am7 as a vi chord, the three pents would be A, D, and E minor pents. Key of C

    If the minor chord is Am7 as a ii chord the three pents would be E, A, and B minor pents. Key of G.

    If the minor chord is Gm7 as a iim7, the pents would be D, G, and A. Key of F.

    Gm7 as a vim7, G, C, and D minor pents. Key of Bb

    And so on.
     
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  12. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    A more "outside" use of pents in a
    iim7 V7alt Imaj7 VI7alt
    Pretty classic sound

    Dm7.........G7alt..........Cmaj7.....A7alt
    Am pent...Bbm pent..Bm pent..Cm pent

    Am pent is a 9th sound over Dm7
    Bbm pent = altered notes over G7
    Bm pent over Cmaj7 is beautiful Lydian
    Cm pent = altered notes over A7

    Altered notes are b3, b5, b13, b7, b9,

    You just might get your mind blown by how rightously hip jazz this is, and how super easy it is to play. In fact it's so easy that you can focus on the melodic line instead of navigating complex mechanics.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
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  13. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Cliff, wouldn't there be 7 different modal pents contained within a given major scale, or am I missing something?
     
  14. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Yes, seven pents are there, but not needed because the three pents ii, iii, vi, contain all the tones in the scale. It offers three colors to the chord you're playing, tension and release. The advantages of working with three identical 1 b3 4 5 b7 pent shapes is first off it's much less to thin about. This is how easy it becomes, these three pents can be used over all seven chords. In three pents, you have the whole key.

    Take Cmaj7, the three pents are A, D, and E minor pents.

    The A minor pent gives us a Cmaj6 sound. E minor pent gives us a Cmaj9 sound. Those two pents have a Cmaj7 function.

    The D minor pent offers us the "tension" notes. All the notes in this scale come from the C major key so they are not "outside" notes. But they do become tension notes that are drawn towards a resolution to A and E minor pents. If the chord was G7, E and B minor pents would be the resolution and A minor pent would be the tension notes.

    The simplicity is that the thinking can truly be reduced to a "tension resolution impulse". An ear thing, getting out of our controlling brain, and easing into a meditative brain, calm and clear, easy to be focused.

    As far as playing something for each chord I would think and play arpeggios. R 3 5 7's for each chord. And of course three of these arps are found in the three pents so those are places to change up. But just play arps on the four non chord tones of the key.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
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  15. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

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    Because they ran out of 'good ideas' while using it, and hope using news scales will improve their technique and moreover expand their creativity.

    If you can't play a good solo with just a Pentatonic scale, Then you can't play a good solo period, and the root cause is not the scale.

    No reason to avoid it, you play what sounds good. You should know other scales for sure, but it's silly to say one is bad in any fashion.

    It all depends on what you are looking for in music, but all the scales known to man have a purpose in music.
     
  16. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    A cool outside thing you can do that works well in a I7 jam, very out but takes you home is,,, take G7 the V7 of C. Now we decend to Ab, a major 3rd below C. Now another major 3rd below Ab is E. E is also a major 3rd above C.
    On each of these notes C, Ab, and E we play a typical minor pent or blues minor. That gives us

    When jamming over G7 for 1/2 hr, use,
    E minor pent - inside sound
    C minor pent - slightly out
    Ab minor pent - way out

    Play this to get the idea of how it works, four notes of each pent in a sequence,
    G7
    |.E.....................C.................Ab............E................
    -12-10-------------11--8-----------9--7----------7-5-------------
    -----------12-10-----------11--8----------9--7----------8--5----3
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  17. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    Uh-oh... I'm really tempted to post some (even pretty simple, just in one key) chord progression and have you solo over it with just a pentatonic scale.
    Are you up to it?
     
  18. StevenA

    StevenA Member

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    One day , I'm going to figure out your crazy gorilla notation!
     
  19. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    E D B A...Eb C Bb G...Db B Ab Gb...B A G E .....D

    Better?

    Oh yea, all 12 tones are used.

    Of course in real playing you can change the tonality at any time and mix other ideas with this. The one "hopeful" rule is to sound good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
  20. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Bring it on
    "Bring what on?"
    It
    "What is "it"?"
    "It" is what you bring. Duh.

    Yep, do it.
     
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