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Lead Patterns VS Box Shapes

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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

frank,

Helgi and Wes are talking about the same thing. the patterns overlap each other and the five patterns cover the fretboard. They are the same five patterns for every key they are just moved to a different root note.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Matteo

To answer your question, yes, play a solo from the Pentatonic scale over the chord progression.

The C Major Pentatonic and the A Minor Pentatonic scale have the same exact notes.... A, C, D, E, and G. That's it, just five notes, that's why it's called "penta" tonic. Penta means five as in Pentagon. :D

So, no matter which position you are in, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th, you are still only playing these five notes. But you can play the notes low on the bass strings, or high on the fretboard on the treble strings. The only difference is the tone of the notes. But tone is a very important effect.

Here are two very simple solos. There is only one difference, the first solo starts with a C note over a C chord, the second solo starts with an A note over an A chord. That is the only difference!

But they will sound a little different. The first solo is the C Major Pentatonic over a progression in the key of C. It should sound happy.

The second solo is the A Minor Pentatonic played over a progression in A Major. Because you are playing the Minor Pentatonic over Major chords, this solo should sound a little dark and melancholy. This is how Blues players often play, a Minor Pentatonic over Major chords to get a "blue" sound.

But only the very first note is changed, and I didn't even need to change that. You do not have to start a phrase with the root note of the chord played over. But in both of these short solos I started on the Root note of the initial chord in the progression.


Progression # 1 (key of C Major)

C/// F/// G/// F///

Progression # 2 (key of A Major)

A/// D/// E/// D///

C F
e-----------------------------------------------
b-----------------------------------------------
g-------------------------7-----5-----------5---
d-------7-----5-----------------------7---------
a-------------------7---------------------------
e-8---------------------------------------------
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

G F
e-------------------------5-----------8-----5---
b-5-----------8-----5----------8----------------
g-------7---------------------------------------
d-----------------------------------------------
a-----------------------------------------------
e-----------------------------------------------
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

A D
e-----------------------------------------------
b-----------------------------------------------
g-------------------------7-----5-----------5---
d-------7-----5-----------------------7---------
a-------------------7---------------------------
e-5---------------------------------------------
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

E D
e-------------------------5-----------8-----5---
b-5-----------8-----5----------8----------------
g-------7---------------------------------------
d-----------------------------------------------
a-----------------------------------------------
e-----------------------------------------------
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

Now, as I said before, both solos are identical except for the very first note. The only notes used in both solos are A, C, D, E, and G. That's it.

Why is the first solo in the C Major Pentatonic? Because you are playing in the key of C Major.

Why is the second solo in A Minor Pentatonic? Because you are playing in the key of A Major. If I simply moved each note down 3 frets, then the solo would have been in the A Major Pentatonic scale.

But the notes and their postion on the fingerboard are exactly the same.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@chris-c)
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Posts: 3460
 

i asked this question on another tread how do you know what position ,box to play like i thought while playing in position 1 you would be on the 1st fret, then 2nd fret for 2nd position ect.like how does one figure out where the postions are and also does this all change in different scales aswell?

There's a bit of confusion here because the numbering system Helgi has used is the normal one that guitar teachers use and works as you say above. 'Position 5' means index on fret 5, middle on fret 6, ring on 7, pinky on fret 8.

Wes' "Position 5" means something different. It refers to the 5 different 'boxes' and the way that they are usually numbered. Kind of confusing if you haven't seen it before, but it's not that rare to find terms in music that can be used in more than one way.... :?

But this is the way it works:

If you want to play in the same key (say Aminor) all the way down the neck, then each time that you move up a few frets you need to change the box shape that you are using. The 5 boxes cover the whole range but they overlap, so the next one will use some of the same finger positions as the last box (but now they're on the the other side of a new 'box').

If you use the same box and move it up the neck that works too - but each time you move the box up a fret it changes the key you're playing in. Apparently it's common to learn a couple of boxes and a small range of positions (which means just a few favourite keys). But if you learn all the boxes and positions then you can play in any key at any place on the neck. Each box has what's called a 'root note' position - so as long as you know which spot it is (and you know the note names on the neck) then that will tell you what key you're in.

Hope that made sense and wasn't just more confusing. :)

Cheers,

Chris


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(@matteo)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 557
 

Hi wes and chris

thanks so much for your kind explanations. Not that I'll become a solo guitarist, but at least I know a bit more about scales (until now i've played only the Am pentatonic scale starting at the fifth fret of E string as a warm-up excercise)

cheers

Matteo


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(@frank2121)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 269
 

Was about to tell cnev i still did not understand
so thanks chris i was quite confused there for a while


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(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Here is a site that shows the five "box" positions of the G Minor Pentatonic scale. If you want to play the A Minor Pentatonic, simply move each box up a whole step, or two frets on your guitar. But the box shapes will look exactly the same.

http://www.myguitarworkshop.com/Theory/Guitar_Pentatonic_Scales/Guitar-Minor-Pentatonic-Scale-Box-Patterns.htm

Do not make the boxes complicated, you are always playing just five notes. In the G Minor Pentatonic you are playing G, Bb, C, D, and F. No matter which box you are in, these are the only notes you will be playing.

The boxes just allow you a simple way to play this scale at various positions on the fingerboard. You might start a solo at the 1st box position located at the 3rd fret (based on the index finger). Then you want to go high and play some high notes on your guitar in this same scale. So you move up to the 4th box position located at the 10th fret (again, based on the index finger) and play.

And just to let you know, the 1st box position and the 4th box position of the Minor Pentatonic are the most commonly used, mainly because the fingering is very easy to most people. Learn all 5 positions, but learn the 1st, 2nd, and 4th especially.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@bigh29)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 17
 

Matteo

Here are two very simple solos. There is only one difference, the first solo starts with a C note over a C chord, the second solo starts with an A note over an A chord. That is the only difference!


Progression # 1 (key of C Major)
C/// F/// G/// F///

Progression # 2 (key of A Major)
A/// D/// E/// D///

Now, as I said before, both solos are identical except for the very first note.

Wes, thanks for your posts. I have one question though about the key. What determines the key that you are playing in? Is it the chord progressions? If I looked at only the chords and the riff, how would I know that one is C major, and the other is A major? Maybe I am putting the cart in front of the horse. Does the key determine the chords that you use? If so, then maybe going in the other direction doesn't make sense.?.?

In an earlier post, you said that it is common to start a riff on the root of the scale, but not a requirement. For the sake of discussion, let's merge the two solos into one by starting both riffs on a D, fifth fret of the A string. But leave the chord progressions alone. Do you still have one song in C major and one in A major? (never mind that starting on a D may not sound right).

I guess that's more than one question isn't it.
Thanks again.
H


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5384
 

Most of the times you can just look at the notes in the chords and pick the key that fits closest. If that also happens to be the chord that resolves stuff then it's a no-brainer. Anyway, don't get too hung-up on scales, they are just a way to structurize things. Just because you're solo is based on a scale doesn't mean you can't use notes outside that scale. Make sure you always hear a melody in your head before you play it, a lof of guitarists have the habit to 'improvise' by just playing random notes from a scale. That's not improvising music, it's randomly playing notes.


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(@voidious)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 153
 

First off, I see Sleutelbos has already responded - he is a much better person to listen to then I. :) But since I've already written all this, I'll post it...
---
I am certainly still learning music theory myself, but if you don't know anything about keys and scales and such, you might want to start with reading some posts in the Music Theory forum and some articles on GuitarNoise.com. A lot of your basic questions are probably already answered there.

To give a humble beginner's attempt at an answer - C / F / G / F and A / D / E / D both jump out as being I / IV / V / IV progressions if you see them as in the key of the first note (which is a common thing to check), so it's not hard to guess they are C major and A major. They are all major chords and the chords in a major scale go, from first to last: major (C or A, here), minor, minor, major (F or D), major (G or E), minor, diminished. So, assuming there are no off-scale notes, that's the only key each progression could be in.

If they weren't chords, just notes, you couldn't definitely say that's the key of the song - Bb major has C, F, and G; F or C major have A, D, and E. But a major chord has 3 notes in it, so there is a lot of data in just 3 major chords.

-- Voidious


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Posts: 4478
 

Sleu,

I agree with you about hearing a melody in your head and playing it, but I think it's much easier said than done and I think alot of beginning soloists tend to memorize the patterns and then when it comes to soloing go ahead and play what you call "random" notes from those scales.

Is it the best way? Not sure, it's pretty much the only way I know how. I always hear melodies of my own in my head and I know my patterns but I have yet to be able to transfer what I hear in my head into the notes on the guitar within the context of playing a song and having to make split second decisions. It seems to work OK for a short riff or something like that but to improvise a half way decent melodic solo on the fly is difficult for me at the moment.

Any tips?

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@voidious)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 153
 

It seems to work OK for a short riff or something like that but to improvise a half way decent melodic solo on the fly is difficult for me at the moment.

Any tips?

I'm just getting going on some decent (ok, just barely past embarrassing) improvising myself, but keeping in mind what intervals I'm using at any point (minor 3rd, perfect 4th/5th, etc) is something that really keeps me from just playing random notes. As in, not just knowing what scale note I'm on, but like going from flat-7 to flat-3rd is going to be a perfect 5th and sound a certain way. I think getting used to seeing the intervals helps in translating melodies from your head onto the fretboard, too.

-- Voidious


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(@boxboy)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1226
 

Anyway, don't get too hung-up on scales, they are just a way to structurize things. Just because you're solo is based on a scale doesn't mean you can't use notes outside that scale. Make sure you always hear a melody in your head before you play it, a lof of guitarists have the habit to 'improvise' by just playing random notes from a scale. That's not improvising music, it's randomly playing notes.

I've only been playing a year and a half, but what Sleu's talking about ^^^^ is the single most valuable thing I've learned. There are no 'wrong' notes anymore. Just an element of a phrase that hasn't been resolved or referred to yet.
:)

Don


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Box,

The scale patterns will give you the basics to solo and playing those notes won't sound "bad" but Sleu is right you end up playing random notes that fit the key and don't clash but usually don't make much of a musical statement..basically noodling in the right key.

Void,

I think you are correct in what you are doing trying to internalize the sounds of certain intervals. Once you have internalized those it will go a long way to helping produce memorable solos that aren't just a bunch of random notes.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5384
 

Cnev: http://www.musictheory.net -> trainers -> interval ear trainers

Make sure you can identify the intervals in your head. First two notes, then three in astring, then four etc. Make sure you can sing them, play them and write them. Do this a few minutes every day and after some months you can play, write and sing practically all melodies in major/minor scales.

Another excercise: Take the A-minor penta scale. Now play the A. Sing it. Play the C. Sing it. Now play A-C and sing it. Repeat the process. Now turn it around, play the A, sing it and sing the C before playing it. Repeat it. Now do the same with A and D. If it works make combinations of A, C and D. Sing all kinds of riffs with those notes then play them. If it works, play with the A and E notes, then go for the full A, C, D and E notes. Make melodies, sing them, play them, repeat. Now add the final note, G, and do the same again. Now you can sing melodies in penta and play them afterwards. Start slowly and gradually work up. For very fast passages things are a bit different, just make sure you can sing the key notes and treat the rest around it as decoration.

Now fire up a backing track, take a slow blues backing because it's good to practice. Sing a riff over the first two bars and play the same thing on your guitar on the next two. Sing a variation on the 5th and 6th bar and play the same on 7&8. Now play a turnaround and start again with new melodies.


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Sleu,

I'll have to give it a try. I did try one of those ear trainer programs and tried the basic version, which had you pick from several intervals. i got 89 correct out of 100 but I'm not sure what that means. That was while I was in the program if I were to hear a song on the radio I'm not sure I would be able to tell what the interval was. Of course this was only a one time thing so obviously I need to do this more.

I will have to try your other suggestion about singing the notes in the scale that sounds interesting.

Thanks for the tips!

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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