Guitar Concepts

Pentatonic Magic 

Guitar Concepts - Pentatonic Magic (2/365) 

By Chad Ellis    

Guitarists can easily hit a wall when it comes to growth. The best advice I was ever given was to keep discovering new music and to talk to other musicians and pick their brain for new inspiration. Today I would like to discuss a cool guitar concept that will keep you busy for a bit! I am taking for granted that you have already mastered your minor pentatonic scales and understand basic music theory. (If you do not please continue to check back here and I will write about that in a later blog.)    

Today's concept will help break the soloist out of the basic minor pentatonic pattern that we all have grown to love. Let's take an Am chord for example. Most beginning guitarist will solo using an A minor pentatonic scale. There is nothing wrong with this. If you want to add a little more color to the sound try using both the A minor and B minor pentatonic scale to your solo. What those notes will give you is the 6th degree and the 9th degree in your solo.    

Now what if you are over a C minor chord? You can use C minor and D minor. In other words try the root pentatonic with the other pentatonic scale one full step up from the root.    

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Diminished Scale (Pt. I) 

Guitar Concepts - Diminished Scale (1/365) 
By: Chad Ellis 

The diminished scales is a very unique sounding scales. It can be found in array of musical genres but perhaps a little less common in popular music. Although when sprinkled in sparingly in your music, it can create an interesting mood. There are two types of diminished scales: whole/half and half/whole. Both of these scales will have different functions and I would love to explore these over the next few blog entries. To understand the way these scales are constructed you need to have a basic understanding of the way half steps and whole steps are built. The whole/half and half/whole diminished scales are called a symmetrical scales. This simply means it is based on a repeating pattern of specific intervals. In the case of the whole/half scale a whole step is followed by a half step and in a half/whole scale, a half step is followed by a whole step.  

Whole-Half diminished scale starting on a C will look like this: 

Half-Whole diminished scale starting on a C will look like this: 

The first use of the scale I would like to discuss would be over a functioning V chord and we are going to employee the half/whole diminished scale. (Functioning V chords are when they return right to the I chord.)  

For Example: 

IG7///ICMinor7///I or IG7///ICMajor7///I   

Over the G7 (V) chord we typically use the altered scale (minor) and mixolydian scale (major). However let's try and using our G half/whole diminished scale instead.  

The notes of the G half-whole diminished scale are G-Ab-Bb-B-C#-D-E-F-G.  

Stay tune for the next blog where will dive deeper into this amazing territory.  

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