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Jazz scales

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(@blaine)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 52
Topic starter  

what are some good jazz sounding scales... and where can i find a good array of scales... liek a website or even this site...

blaine

Blaine Adams


   
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(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

For Jazz, I'd rank the scales in order of importance:

Major
Melodic Minor
Harmonic Minor
Wholetone
Natural Minor
Diminished

If you have your head around those 6 scales, and at any position on the guitar you can tell me what note you're playing, what key you're in, what that interval is in that key, and what the interval is in relationship to the current note on the melody line and the current chord tonic (and if the note is in the chord or not) then you can jam with any jazz players anywhere.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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(@blaine)
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Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 52
Topic starter  

awesome... thanks alot:)

Blaine Adams


   
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(@shadychar)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 41
 

Mark Sabatella's Jazz Improvisation Primer has a lot of great stuff in it.


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

My list would be a little different... but I'd have to split it up into two parts: the scales you should LEARN in order to play jazz, and the scales you'll use most often in jazz (a lot of variation there - depends on whether you're playing bop, cool, fusion, etc.). If you skip ahead to what's used most often, you'll neglect the foundation you need to use them well.

Learn:

Major
Harmonic minor
Melodic minor
Whole tone
Diminished
Chromatic

When you've got them under your belt, you'll learn and use:

Lydian
Dorian
Be-bop (an eight note scale with both b7 and 7 - think of it as major with b7 added)
Arpeggios as altered scales

It's really important that you know your arpeggios - if the chord is C9+5 you'll want a scale that includes C,D,E,G#, and Bb - the choices for F and A are up to you, but no matter what notes you choose it won't fit a 'standard' scale.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@kingpatzer)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

I think the only place Noteboat and I differ is here is how we approach modes.

When I play something in Lydian, for example, I don't play a "lydian scale" that I have memorized. Rather, I play a Major scale and sharp the 4th (which is one reason I need to know which note is which interval!)

The other bit may have to do with what type of jazz you play. Modern Jazz is different from Bop is different from Swing is different from Ragtime. So depending on what jazz sub-genre you are interested in playing within will greatly influence how you will come to order scales for yourself.

Lastly, personal style and preference goes a long way here as well. For example, I placed melodic minor above harmonic minor in my scales. That's because I tend to use melodic minor runs to go into and come out of solo's. A lot of people use something different for that purpose, so personal style does come into play.

I know a guy who would insist, for example, that the hungarian minor scale needs to be included in this list . . because he uses it all the time. I almost never use it. Everyone is a little different, and that's what makes Jazz so fun.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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(@steve-0)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1162
 

When I play something in Lydian, for example, I don't play a "lydian scale" that I have memorized. Rather, I play a Major scale and sharp the 4th (which is one reason I need to know which note is which interval!)

Check out http://www.jimmybruno.com he's a jazz guitarist who uses the concept of using 'outside notes' for improvisation, there's an article he wrote under the 'tips' section of the website that sheds more light on this, and i think this would strengthen kingpatzer's point.

Steve-0


   
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