Breaking out of pentatonics

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PUNCHLINE
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Hi, i`ve been playing for a good few years now, and although I like my phrasing, and some other bits of my playing, my note choices for solos are very limited, mainly involving pentatonic bluesy type scales..anyone suggest an easy(ish) technique to get out of the rut, something to kick start me into a different area, and expand my choices somewhat? Obviously spending a lot of time studying scale/note theory would help, which i`m going to start, but I need some advice, inspiration etc from you guys!

Thanks!
endor
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we'll thats a pretty broad area, but one thing i like to do to kick up my playing are root, then semi tone minor sweeps and using half whole diminished scale. But when playing bluesy solos, I play the dorian mode, but i often add the tritone to it. Ive been taking alot of influence from petrucci and Tony macalpines stuff from planet x. Try listening to some planet x, or some more fusion'y players, that really helped me get out of the rut of playing the same old stuff. Also try playing licks that feel wierd, often these strange licks are cool becuase people usually play whats comfortable on the instrument. I hope these ideas kinda help, though these applications are more for static chord and riffage, but if youd like to expand on some ideas, thatd help me help you with what your doing.



Alex,
Jay3
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I don't think there's really an easy way to do it, but I was in the same situation a few months ago actually :P . Learn your modes. Learn how each mode fits a progression. At first you'll be like ":shock: . . how am I going to remember all this?" but after a while of playing in each mode, your ear will learn them, and memorize them. You'll hear each one, and find one to your liking, because obviously each mode has a different kind of sound (Correct me if I'm wrong :wink: ).
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Ricardo
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Well, you are stuck in the "scale box". It is a common problem. Start learning your major and minor scales in every postion. It will take a long time. Use 3 notes per string patterns. Even if you do that very quick, you can still get boxed into your favorite shapes when improvising.

So in the mean time that you are working on learning the neck better, try this. Solo over the same old tunes you have been soloing over in the pentatonic box, but play something as interesting as possible, on ONE STRING only. Like the high E string. Use your ear, but move up and down the neck of course to make interesting melodies. When you are good at not hitting "wrong" notes, try the same thing on the B string. Then, try doing only the E and B strings, but the same thing, all over the neck. This usually breaks you out of the "box" pretty quick.

Obviously continue that idea on the rest of the individual strings. That idea will tie right into to your scale practice and you will start to visualize the whole neck as a "key" rather than positions.

Ricardo
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Big Bad Bill
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A good thing to do is learn a 'minor shape box' in one position of the fretboard and force yourself to play along to a backing track with just this box. You may even feel that limiting yourself to a couple of strings only will help. Don't worry about it sounding good-this stage is about becoming very familiar with the shape and intervals. Do this for a week until it's ingrained!

Learn another minor shape in another position of the fretboard and play along to the same backing track-strictly staying in that new position.

Finally learn a third position and do the same.

Hopefully you now have three minor shapes burned into your head that span the whole fretboard. Now consciously try switching between the positions you've learned (if you haven't already done so unconsciously) and see how they're linked across the fretboard. Maybe play a lick on the G string and rather than descending down the scale on a lower string, slide down the same string to a lower position. This should merge the boxes into one huge box thatspans the fretboard!

In a few easy weeks, I guarantee you'll be playing without boxes all over the fretboard!
PUNCHLINE
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Thank you all so much!
You`ve given me plenty to be getting on with, much appreciated.
:-D
Zebula77
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Another thing is to play wider intervals. Even in standard blues scales, it can sound refreshing and new. Like playing in E Dorian and hitting the 12th fret on the D string and then the 14th on the B strong. Major seventh intervals are cool. Fifths also sound kinda different in a blues solo.
spanishphrygian
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I am not a fan of pre-conceived over-intellectualizations.

I say before you even prejudice yourself with limitations and expections and other cliche biased moves, shred out a scale that you make up yourself!

I mean just pick some patterns and shred them out, wait until after the fact to use your process thinking and analysis of what happened. Most likely you will have something that is more you.

This is the fastest way out of anybox that I know of.

:)

Also, I like using decontructive methods on all scales and modes. Basically, I frament them by either taking a note out, or adding a note. Sometimes I alter one or two notes here or there.

This is a very simple method yet yeilds tons of scales and modes that are already out there.

I.E. lets take a major scale. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 right? Easy, now alter the 3 by a flat- Poof! Melodic Minor. See how simple that is? Really that is all that is going on with all of theory anyway if you turn it into a Math problem (hehe personal joke here).

Now take a Melodic Minor and flat the second! Poof! You have Neapolitan Major!

So instead of sitting around all day long writing a ten page dissertation on that one note that you want to play. :o

Just do it all day long! You can play anything you want. Really it can be as BLUE COLLAR and low brow as that. haha.

Sorry to pop anyones THEORY bubble here. hahah. 8)


(Oh Crap! THEY are comming after me right now for thinking my own way! If you don't hear from me in a few days you know that THEY got me! Sorry I still don't know who THEY are though. :twisted: )
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