why does the pentatonic have a bad reputation?

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


  1. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

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    I would be embarrassed to play in the shear wake of your ability, my apologies, but I'm just not all that good ~ (compared to You that is Maestro), and wouldn't presume to be able to share any stage with you. :bow

    But please, may I suggest you post your improvised solo, using just the easy pentatonic scale, over a chord progression that you pick ? That will show us all how it's done, and we can then move on to more advanced topics, of your choice.

    That I am sure, would be quite elementary and easy for a great seasoned, creative, and talented player like yourself, and we can all learn directly from you.

    Personally I would enjoy it, and just sit in awe of your tremendous ability, an opportunity to learn directly from an absolute Master !
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
  2. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    If you prefer to make a stupid joke out of it, be it so.
    But jfyi: I have *not* been the one saying all it'd take was a pentatonic - that was you. And hence I'd be interested to hear how you'd do it. Because I could not.

    So again: Are you up to it or could it be that you don't know the pentatonic as well as you pretend to do?
     
  3. ninjaaron

    ninjaaron Member

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    I was unaware that the pentatonic scales had a bad reputation. They sound good.
     
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  4. JohnnyBGoode

    JohnnyBGoode Member

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    Some folks get stuck musically and go for more and more speed and more and more theory. So suddenly anything simple gets bad reputation. If you approachmusic creatively and rememver it's an art and not a competitive sport, you can use whatever you want...
     
  5. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

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    Uh-oh... So it appears maybe you aren't who I assumed. The teacher who would write me a type of 'lesson plan' including a simple chord progression (so as to make it easy for my low level abilities...) one that I would could actually solo over, so you could then critique my work and give us your opinion as to my worth as a guitarist... I'm now flabbergasted you yourself say you can't play a solo using just a simple pentatonic scale.

    So do us both a favor, leave it where it stands. I can play guitar quite well using a pentatonic and other scales, and perhaps you can as well.

    Try in the future not to come off with condescending statements meant to automatically put you on the 'Top'. No more challenges requiring anyone to 'prove' their ability to You. My time is valuable, and perhaps yours is as well.
     
  6. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    I'm terribly sorry, but all that is nothing but halfway clever packaged excuses and not even remotely good enough to support your claim.
     
  7. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

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    Have it your way Sascha, have it your way.
     
  8. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    Of course.
     
  9. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Oh Sascha!
    That went terribly off the rails, sorry. .
    But it’s not a bad idea, diatonic progressions where either major or minor pentatonic might not be the best choice.
    So go ahead and post one up if you think you’ve got something particularly confounding.
     
  10. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    See, all I was saying was that the pentatonic is not exactly good enough for plenty of things (while Harold seemed to make us believe it would be). Just a simple I-V progression will become a tough thing once you limit yourself to a pentatonic (most likely that of the tonic).
    So the entire "if you can't get it right with a pentatonic, you can't get it right at all" really doesn't bode well with me.
     
  11. JonnyQ

    JonnyQ Silver Supporting Member

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    It seemed to bode well with B.B., Freddie, Albert and so many other Kings and Queens.

    Not saying there aren't other paths to royal creations, but surely some have done more with five notes than others have with abundance.
     
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  12. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Well, yeah. It'd be silly to restrict yourself to pentatonic if it really didn't hit the marks you needed to get your point across, but nobody plays like that anyway. If you need a half step, play one.

    Flip side being there's too many simple, iconic, I IV V type things with straight pentatonic Melody like Amazing Grace or Auld Lang Syne to ignore as a model for "singable melody" negotiating those kind of changes.

    To the extent pentatonic scales have made strong, singable, melody going back into prehistoric times, I'm not personally confronted by the idea the scale should be applicable almost universally with respect to improvised melody, but I wouldn't go so far as to suggest it'd be a superior soloing strategy across the board.
     
  13. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    But that's bluesy stuff all throughout.
     
  14. JonnyQ

    JonnyQ Silver Supporting Member

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    Naturally.

    Were you considering about ABBA tunes or some other genre? Not being facetious. I think @kimock last remarks summed it up so well. Depending on the needs of the tune, who would really rely on one scale dogmatically if not for some imposed exercise or simply out of ignorance, devoid of an awareness of other options?

    Still, I would be genuinely interested in giving your proposed backing track a whirl with just one pentatonic. Not as a competition of Kings, but as peasant of form.
     
  15. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    Oh I thought about these while replying.
    But they're rather limited (very slow note pace - nothing wrong with it, still a limitation, and doubling the note pace would probably make them sound weird) and it's most likely that the melodies existed before the harmonies, in other words: the chords were played to suit the melody - for improvisation it's usually the other way around. Quite a difference.

    Anyhow, limiting yourself to a pentatonic over a progression using halftone movements as a central thing (i.e. dominant -> tonic) is - well - a limitation. And sometimes a rather severe limitation, IMO at least.

    Yes.
    For me, there's not even remotely any sort of superior soloing strategy at all (stating the obvious, huh?). And as a result of that, any claims such as "if you can't improvise with just a pentatonic, you can't improvise at all" have a rather zen-alike character at best, but in the context of a thread like this they're limiting.
     
  16. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Still a majority of the melody leaning back into untempered pentatonic vocal practice for that music.
    Back to the vocal music angle, I know, but you gotta have a melody if you're gonna have a tune.
     
  17. Sascha Franck

    Sascha Franck Member

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    Ok. I'll try to post something soon (not at home, stuff packed somewhere in the car, xmas action, etc).
     
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  18. JonnyQ

    JonnyQ Silver Supporting Member

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    Fröhliche Weihnachten
     
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  19. ninjaaron

    ninjaaron Member

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    WTF happened in this thread? I feel like I'm reading Facebook comments in a political thread where everyone unfriends each other at the end. Let's all be friends, guys.
     
  20. HaroldBrooks

    HaroldBrooks Member

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    LOL, I don't hate anyone, not really, unless they insult my Mother.

    Agree or disagree, just part of life, and you guys here are all something like me, I have no doubt, or you wouldn't be on this forum in the first place, so my flaws are common here.

    I never said, nor would say in a thousand years that the pentatonic scale could be used over any chord progression. Not sure where that ever came from other than some misunderstanding of what I wrote, or some hyper sensitivity.

    But if you can't play some type of decent solo using a pentatonic scale - over an ordinary blues chord progression, - you still have some work ahead of you. No sense trying to introduce other scales as a buffer, some are just muddying the waters to get away from your some glaring deficiency in their creative or melodic playing.

    I personally consider good note vibrato (or intentional lack thereof), note attack, and bending more important to soulful playing than just playing a lot of 'notes' for the sake of it, but perhaps that's just my taste. I don't consider running up an down scales and using patterns exclusively, as a mark of good playing. A lot of shredders seem to think it is. I also believe if you can't play slow and good first, don't start playing fast passages, your sabotaging your growth spiritually as a versatile musician.

    I have to laugh how things can become obsolete because they are supposedly old and tired - (Pentatonic scale for one). Not so easy with me, it's been in Chinese music since the 7th century BC, and just about every other type of music you can think of has made use of the Pentatonic scale along the way. People who are Bored easily are Boring people themselves, that's the paradox.

    Add the new to the old I say, and don't disparage the great work done by our guitar ancestors. They had it together, and then some if you care to learn about it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017

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