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Scales for Soloing: Other pentatonics
Guest teacher series
Darrin Koltow
MaximumMusician.com

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Scales for Soloing: Other pentatonics
By Darrin Koltow
MaximumMusician.com

Other lessons in the Scales for Soloing series
Pentatonics
Other pentatonics
Blues

We're looking at scales to use for soloing. Here's the progression we're working with

||: C major, A minor, D minor, G7 :||

Last time we improvised over these chords using the C major pentatonic (see the newsletter archives for details, including the pentatonic pattern we used).

Is the C major pentatonic the only scale you can use over a progression in C major? Thankfully, no. We have many choices. Listen carefully to how this next scale plays over the aforementioned changes. This is the G major pentatonic:

|----------------------3-5----|
|------------------3-5--------|
|--------------2-4------------|
|----------2-5----------------|
|------2-5--------------------|
|--3-5------------------------|

The G major pentatonic has none of the notes -- F and C -- that could cause unacceptable dissonances. Specifically, the F, if present, would clash over a C major and A minor chord, and the C, if present, would clash over a G major and E minor chord.

Let's generalize this finding so we can play in other keys: if you know a phrase or progression or sub-progression is going to stay within a major key and not stray outside it, instead of playing the major pentatonic from the root of the key center (e.g. C penta within C major), play the major penta from the V of the key center (e.g. G penta). For D major, this means you would use the A major pentatonic pattern, and for G major, you'd use the D major pentatonic pattern.

Next time: improvising with the Blues

© 2006 Darrin Koltow, All rights reserved
www.MaximumMusician.com


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