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> Blues!, How to sound more bluesy!!
kevvyg
post Jan 12 2009, 01:49 PM
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Hi Ivan,
Been following your blues lessons and they are a great help! I have a problem though! The more I learn, the more confused i seem to get! I plodded along with the guitar for ages just fiddeling around with the pentatonic and the blues scale and these obviously sound bluesey, but I did feel that something was missing. Then I discovered GMC and following your and other instructors' lessons has made me improve a lot, and my playing is becoming more interesting, due to the licks and phrasing that you provide. This is where the confusion kicks in though. Your stuff seems to be more interesting because of all the notes that are NOT in the scales that I learned in order to play blues!! For example, in your Eric Clapton lesson, right at the beginning there is a lick which uses the 5th fret on the B string (E), and the 6th fret on the E string (Bb).
These two notes are from the G pentatonic scale (Bb), and the G major scale (E), and is obviously a flat 5th. I'd have never thought of playing this interval, because the 2 notes don't appear together in the pentatonic scale. I guess I've been sticking to the 'rules' too ridgidly!! I've noticed also the occurance of minor 3rds, and major and minor 6ths in some of the lessons, which I've never thought of using!! If the pentatonic scale is the 'scale of choice' for blues, how come it sounds more bluesey when notes are added that are not actually in the pentatonic scale?!!!! (Bb/E when playing in G).
Do you have any tips or rules that I could apply to my blues playing, in order that I can make it that more interesting?
I.e, Would you say that the pentatonic is more of a 'starting point' for blues that can be added to rather than something that should be adhered to? What 'modifications' do you make to the blues scale in order to make it that much more interesting? And why do major phrases fit so nicely with the blues licks?!!
I'm trying at the moment to be able to swap between minor and major blues scales, but this is more difficult than it sounds, even if the two scales are identical, just moved apart 3 frets!
Anyway, look forward to your reply, and any helpful tips you can supply - like I said, your lessons are helping tremendously, not just with the new licks, but they are making me ask questions about what I'm doing, and why I'm actually playing the notes I'm playing, which can't be bad, can it?!! Although, like I said, things do get more confusing - I've come back to where I started!!
Oh, and could you give us more licks and stuff from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th pentatonic 'boxes' - I think these get less attention than the 1st and 2nd, and I'm sure they're just as important!!

Thanks for your great lessons!!!
Kevin

This post has been edited by kevvyg: Jan 12 2009, 01:51 PM
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 12 2009, 02:57 PM
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Hey man, first of all thank you for kind words, I'm glad the lessons could help you in any way. smile.gif

Regarding your question, it is completely normal to ask yourself this and you are right in fact. In blues, it is important to mix both minor and major pentatonic scales. When blues was just starting to develop country music was very popular, and the slaves sort of adapted their own African music to that harmony. Country music has mostly major type harmony, so African slaves started to play their unorthodox scales on top of the I - IV - V sequence of major chords. These scales are now lost, because there were some quarter intervals that didn't actually exist in the western type music. So the musicians of that time sort of adapted the scales and this is how the blues scale was born. Blue note was that adaptation to western style music.

Now blues music is like I said based on major type progression and minor type scales for leads. This is what makes it so special. You can play major chords, and dominant ones, and play on top of that minor pentatonic and it will sound cool and "bluesy" since this is the way the players have been playing it and calling it "blues" for almost a century now.

Another interesting scale that can be used in blues is dorian mode. You can actually see that when major and minor pentatonic notes are combined, they form a sort of a dorian mode. That, in combination with blues scale and that I IV V major progression is something that gives the blues it's character.

Check out for example BB King. Guys is famous because he mixes minor and major style licks very naturally. This is the essence of the blues IMO. Blues player should mix both these scales very naturally while playing and then it will sound like a real blues. Blues is that very subtle balance between sad and happy emotions, and in the end although story (blues solo) is sad, the main message of the blues (it's major progression) is happy and positive.

I suggest that you learn both minor and major pentatonic scale positions, and see how they intersect and interact with each other on the guitar fretboard. Start doing it position by position. If you know the patterns it should be easier, just shift the positions and combine different patterns, and try to do both major and minor style licks while playing the blues. You will see how the true essence of blues is slowly emerging.

Hope this helps man, and ask if you need anything else. Cheers! smile.gif


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kevvyg
post Jan 19 2009, 02:09 PM
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Thanks for your reply!
I'll carry on with learning to mix major and minor, although, like I said, it's actually quite difficult to switch between say, pattern 1 of A minor pentatonic to pattern 2 of F# minor (A major) pentatonic. I guess practice makes perfect!
As for the other embellishments to the blues scale, I'm just going to take on board everything I find in your lessons. I noticed for example, that you'll play a note from the pentatonic scale, then add a note a flat fifth below, and bend one of the two notes. This sounds really good. I'll just keep learning from your lessons and playing around! I'm certainly improving!!

Thanks,
Kevin

Regarding your question, it is completely normal to ask yourself this and you are right in fact. In blues, it is important to mix both minor and major pentatonic scales. When blues was just starting to develop country music was very popular, and the slaves sort of adapted their own African music to that harmony. Country music has mostly major type harmony, so African slaves started to play their unorthodox scales on top of the I - IV - V sequence of major chords. These scales are now lost, because there were some quarter intervals that didn't actually exist in the western type music. So the musicians of that time sort of adapted the scales and this is how the blues scale was born. Blue note was that adaptation to western style music.

Now blues music is like I said based on major type progression and minor type scales for leads. This is what makes it so special. You can play major chords, and dominant ones, and play on top of that minor pentatonic and it will sound cool and "bluesy" since this is the way the players have been playing it and calling it "blues" for almost a century now.

Another interesting scale that can be used in blues is dorian mode. You can actually see that when major and minor pentatonic notes are combined, they form a sort of a dorian mode. That, in combination with blues scale and that I IV V major progression is something that gives the blues it's character.

Check out for example BB King. Guys is famous because he mixes minor and major style licks very naturally. This is the essence of the blues IMO. Blues player should mix both these scales very naturally while playing and then it will sound like a real blues. Blues is that very subtle balance between sad and happy emotions, and in the end although story (blues solo) is sad, the main message of the blues (it's major progression) is happy and positive.

I suggest that you learn both minor and major pentatonic scale positions, and see how they intersect and interact with each other on the guitar fretboard. Start doing it position by position. If you know the patterns it should be easier, just shift the positions and combine different patterns, and try to do both major and minor style licks while playing the blues. You will see how the true essence of blues is slowly emerging.

Hope this helps man, and ask if you need anything else. Cheers! smile.gif
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 19 2009, 03:18 PM
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QUOTE (kevvyg @ Jan 19 2009, 02:09 PM) *
Thanks for your reply!
I'll carry on with learning to mix major and minor, although, like I said, it's actually quite difficult to switch between say, pattern 1 of A minor pentatonic to pattern 2 of F# minor (A major) pentatonic. I guess practice makes perfect!


No problem man, I'm here to help in any way I can smile.gif
You're spot on, just take your time and it will all fit into place. Learn the licks, and the scales, and in time you will start to develop a feel for combining these positions as a second nature.

Cheers! smile.gif


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kevvyg
post Jan 22 2009, 12:34 PM
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Ok, thanks a lot. I'd just like to let you guys know about a web site I came across called 'Slowhand Blues Guitar'. Not taking anything away from GMC, but it has a lot of information about the blues including some note by note analysis of a lot of blues music by players such as Robert Johnson and Eric Clapton. Every little helps!
There is a section about the origin of the blues, and it basically says that the blues scale is an estimation of the blues 'feel' as it can't really be described technically, and anything goes as well as it sounds good. This kind of explains my idea that the blues scale does sound blusey, but the addition of other notes and intervals makes it sound better, ie the addition of the notes from the major scale, as well as 3rds, flat 5ths and 6ths.

Oh, and could you possibly give us a lesson about turnarounds and how to use them properly!

Kevin

This post has been edited by kevvyg: Jan 22 2009, 12:46 PM
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 22 2009, 03:12 PM
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Thanks for sharing man, will check out that site! smile.gif

About the turnarounds, here are a couple of lessons where you can find them. In the first one you have one turnaround lick at the end of the solo, and in the second one, there are couple of turnarounds as examples:

1. https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/solo-guit...loing-beginner/
2. https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/rhythm-gu...library-part-1/


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kevvyg
post Jan 27 2009, 12:38 PM
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Thanks Ivan.
I've already come across these lessons. They are very helpful!
Are there any guidelines to follow for creating turnarounds? The most common one I've come across so far is:

I - I7 - IVm - IV7 - I - IV - bIV - V(7), with a few variations on the last 3 chords, like IV - V#7 - V7.

I have a few suggestions for either specific lessons, or maybe some pages added to the theory section:

1) A list of all chords with their 'spellings', ie 7th (1,3,5,b7), and a fingering diagram. (Although there are a lot on the web, I guess, it would be good if GMC had their own). Especially the most common chords used in blues and rock.
2) Any guidelnes on how to apply the chords - what chords go well together, or not, and why!
3) Guidelines on transposing chords, ie Dom7 chords can be replaced by VIIdim7, I7sus2, or I7sus4.

It's probably quite a project, but it would be worth it!
Anyway, just a few ideas!
One last thing - In one of your lessons, you say that given a chord sequence F - Bb - C, we can use F major pentatonic over the Fmaj chord, Bb major pentatonic over the Bbmaj chord, and C major pentatonic and C minor pentatonic over the Cmaj chord. I read somewhere else that both major AND minor pentatonic can be used over major chords. That would mean that in the sequence F - Bb - C, we could also use F minor pentatonic over the Fmaj chord, and Bb minor pentatonic over the Bbmaj chord. Which is correct?!! Are the I and IV special in some why that minor pentatonic doesn't sound good over them?
See what I mean about things getting more complicated the more you study them?!
Who'd have thought that 3 chord blues could get complicated?!
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 29 2009, 11:36 PM
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Great recommendations mate, this will definitely be something interesting to see done!

Regarding your question, yes you can use all those scales, but when playing blues you are using note here note there, not whole scales up & down, so this is why it works nicely. Many of these 6 pentatonic scale have the same notes in common, so using them is a nice way to play the blues - it's just depends how you look at things.


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kevvyg
post Feb 6 2009, 01:53 PM
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So, with regard to your lesson, which notes from the C minor pentatonic would it be best to avoid?
I've done a bit of 'homework', and I've come up with following regarding the three scales:

F major - F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E
Bb major - Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-A
C major - C-D-E-F-G-A-B

F min pent - F-Ab-Bb-C-Eb
F maj pent - F-G-A-C-D

Bb min pent - Bb-Db-Eb-F-Ab
Bb maj pent - Bb-C-D-F-G

C min pent - C-Eb-F-G-Bb
C maj pent - C-D-E-G-A

The major pentatonic scales obviously contain all the correct notes from the major scale, whereas the minor pentatonic scales contain some major scale notes plus the min 3rd, and the min 7th, both of which I've learned are great for blues!
Not forgetting the b5th, and 6ths. This seems to apply to all three scales. It's pretty clear that you could mix the major and minor pentatonic over each chord with the same root, ie C maj/C min pent over the C major chord, but did you mean that any of the pentatonic scales would fit over any of the chords, (as they're all related!), but that it's best to avoid some notes from the C min pentatonic scale when playing over the F major or Bb major chords?

Sorry if I'm getting a bit bogged down in the theory, but I like to understand what's going on! I'll try to move on now!!

Ps just bought two Albert King CDs - 'Born Under A Bad Sign' and 'Blues At Sunrise'. I can highly recommend these as they contain some excellent tracks, (I guess you already know these albums!), and you can certainly hear where Clapton's influence came from! biggrin.gif

PPS - Just had a moment of clarity actually!!! The C minor pentatonic contains the Bb and Eb from F major and B major, but it might sound a bit dodgy if you play the Eb over the F major chord, for example! It's starting to make sense!!
(You could of course play the Eb on purpose to suggest an Fdom7 chord). I hope all of this struggling with theory turns out to be worth it. Sometimes too much theory can slow you down.......!! Very Interesting though...

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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 6 2009, 09:57 PM
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QUOTE
So, with regard to your lesson, which notes from the C minor pentatonic would it be best to avoid?
I've done a bit of 'homework', and I've come up with following regarding the three scales:

F major - F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E
Bb major - Bb-C-D-Eb-F-G-A
C major - C-D-E-F-G-A-B

F min pent - F-Ab-Bb-C-Eb
F maj pent - F-G-A-C-D

Bb min pent - Bb-Db-Eb-F-Ab
Bb maj pent - Bb-C-D-F-G

C min pent - C-Eb-F-G-Bb
C maj pent - C-D-E-G-A


This way of analyzing the scales is good and it is very useful to check out all the possible combinations that you can use when using the F Bb C progression. Good job mate! smile.gif

QUOTE
The major pentatonic scales obviously contain all the correct notes from the major scale, whereas the minor pentatonic scales contain some major scale notes plus the min 3rd, and the min 7th, both of which I've learned are great for blues!
Not forgetting the b5th, and 6ths. This seems to apply to all three scales. It's pretty clear that you could mix the major and minor pentatonic over each chord with the same root, ie C maj/C min pent over the C major chord, but did you mean that any of the pentatonic scales would fit over any of the chords, (as they're all related!), but that it's best to avoid some notes from the C min pentatonic scale when playing over the F major or Bb major chords?


When soloing it is all about using couple of notes from that scale, and couple of notes from that if you know what I mean mate. So mixing Fmajor/Fminor pentatonic is good in most situations, but not always will work to mix other two pairs of scales (C and Bb). When playing the solo in the blues it is good to use your ear and see what sounds good. Generally when I play the F Bb C progression I don't think about the Bb and C scales at all, I just use F dorian mode, F major/F minor, and F blues scales for mixing them.


QUOTE
Sorry if I'm getting a bit bogged down in the theory, but I like to understand what's going on! I'll try to move on now!!

Ps just bought two Albert King CDs - 'Born Under A Bad Sign' and 'Blues At Sunrise'. I can highly recommend these as they contain some excellent tracks, (I guess you already know these albums!), and you can certainly hear where Clapton's influence came from! biggrin.gif

Not at all mate, I share your enthusiasm! smile.gif
Great to hear you're listening to Albert King. The guy is just brilliant, a true legend. Eric Clapton sure picked up a lot of stuff from him and other bluesman of that time. After all Eric was just a kid then and these guys were banging hard core blues in the US back in those days! He's a great person to be an influence to any guitar player IMO.

QUOTE
PPS - Just had a moment of clarity actually!!! The C minor pentatonic contains the Bb and Eb from F major and B major, but it might sound a bit dodgy if you play the Eb over the F major chord, for example! It's starting to make sense!!
(You could of course play the Eb on purpose to suggest an Fdom7 chord). I hope all of this struggling with theory turns out to be worth it. Sometimes too much theory can slow you down.......!! Very Interesting though...

Definitely right mate! The whole point is to choose those notes that sound and fit together. You can discover them the best through playing, and explain them through theory later to understand.


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