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Thread: Combining Scales

  1. #1
    Registered User The Pecker's Avatar
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    Combining Scales

    I had posted a thread on combining scales earlier, but I need more in-depth descriptions of exactly how to combine scales and what scales combined together sound good. From the name, combing scales, I figured that you just put two scales together (like the major and pentatonic scales). I have found that this sometimes doesnt sound very good, and I would like to know what methods there are to combine scales.

    Just from my musical experience, I have found that Randy Rhoads does this alot. If there are any other greats that do this (which Im sure they are many) mention them and I'll check em out. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Well, it pretty much comes down to being able to do anything but having the knowledge/experience to do it right.

    If you have a CMaj7 chord you can pretty much play any scale that has a root of C and you can 'make' it work.

    There are different methods to making something work that theoretically shouldn't. If you hit chord tones on the strong beats (1 and 3 in 4/4) you can pretty much play anything you want during the rest of the measure. Again this is just comes with experimentation. So you could see CMaj7 and think C phrygian and hit an E on beat 1 and a B on beat 3 and it just might work...not saying it will, but it might.

    Another method is to have a melodic line with such strong forward motion that it gets to the point where you can play anything and it will sound good as long as it resolves to something that 'fits' in the end. Of course there is absolutely no way one can explain what a melodic line with a lot of strong forward motion actually is...you just gotta put in the hours. There are VERY few players in the history of improvisation that can actually bend and slip harmony at there will...which is pretty much what this method is. The most obvious example is Charlie Parker, but a more modern and guitar oriented example would be either Pat Metheny or Kurt Rosenwinkel.

    Isn't it fun when you don't get any answers and it all comes back to sitting down and putting in the rediculas hours?

  3. #3
    In the woodshed rmuscat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silent-storm
    Well, it pretty much comes down to being able to do anything but having the knowledge/experience to do it right.

    If you have a CMaj7 chord you can pretty much play any scale that has a root of C and you can 'make' it work.

    There are different methods to making something work that theoretically shouldn't. If you hit chord tones on the strong beats (1 and 3 in 4/4) you can pretty much play anything you want during the rest of the measure. Again this is just comes with experimentation. So you could see CMaj7 and think C phrygian and hit an E on beat 1 and a B on beat 3 and it just might work...not saying it will, but it might.

    Another method is to have a melodic line with such strong forward motion that it gets to the point where you can play anything and it will sound good as long as it resolves to something that 'fits' in the end. Of course there is absolutely no way one can explain what a melodic line with a lot of strong forward motion actually is...you just gotta put in the hours. There are VERY few players in the history of improvisation that can actually bend and slip harmony at there will...which is pretty much what this method is. The most obvious example is Charlie Parker, but a more modern and guitar oriented example would be either Pat Metheny or Kurt Rosenwinkel.

    Isn't it fun when you don't get any answers and it all comes back to sitting down and putting in the rediculas hours?
    great post IMHO .... scary but incredible conclusion too!
    Edwin Land: Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.

  4. #4
    Registered User Mike7771's Avatar
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    In the begining I would suggest to learning the Major/Minor scale and all the modes. Lets say we're working with the key G Major just from the notes in that scale you could create 7 modes (of course) but you can also create 3 pentatonic scales (E pent, A pent & B pent). Now change the root note to E and you have natural minor. Sharp the D and you have E Hamonic Minor (E F# G A B C D#); Sharp the A and you have B Gypsy Scale (B C D# E F# G A#).

    I could bring this out more but this should be a good start. To recap:
    G Major gives
    All Seven Modes (A Dorian - B Phrygian - C Lydian - D Mixolydian - E Aeolian - F# Locrian)
    3 Pentatonic scales (E pent, A pent, & B pent)
    E Naturtal Minor
    E Harmonic Minor
    B Gypsy Scale

    These are the most easy and common replacements. The way I keep track of it all is to relate everything back to the major/minor scale this way its not like learning a whole new scale, rather its like altering a scale you already know well.

    Let me close by throwing a couple of other scales that could be used as a stand in for G Major:
    C Major (And all its Modes)
    D Major (And all its Modes)
    E Melodic Minor
    G Melodic Minor

    It should be clear why some of these work well but others require rationing out. No time for that now.

  5. #5
    guitarded guitarded's Avatar
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    hmm i think i do that... i combine a minor with blues scale getting something like...

    combining a natural minor with blues scale

    d ------------------5-6-7-
    a --------5-6-7-8---------
    e -5-7-8------------------

    combing a major with blues scale

    d -----------------------2-3-4-
    a --------------2-3-4-5-------
    e --0-1-2-4-5-----------------
    Last edited by guitarded; 03-01-2006 at 07:40 AM.
    Everythings music to someone.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Pecker
    I had posted a thread on combining scales earlier, but I need more in-depth descriptions of exactly how to combine scales and what scales combined together sound good. From the name, combing scales, I figured that you just put two scales together (like the major and pentatonic scales). I have found that this sometimes doesnt sound very good, and I would like to know what methods there are to combine scales.

    Just from my musical experience, I have found that Randy Rhoads does this alot. If there are any other greats that do this (which Im sure they are many) mention them and I'll check em out. Thanks.
    This is something I do alot of, and I'll tell you what I use.
    KickA** combined scale 1 (TM Joey Tafolla)
    combine blues scales of parallel minor/major scales. For instance, E blues would be E,G,A,Bb,B, D.....E "major Blues" (C# blues) C#, E, F#, G, G#, B. Put the together, you've got E, F#, G, G#, A, Bb, B, C#, D. Start a descending line on the B and go down in octaves. sounds very cool. Throw in D#..even cooler.

    Scale 2 (used by diamond darrel, slash, paul gilbert, Zakk Wylde, among others) Dorian Blues scale (also called west coast blues scale from use by Lynch and Demartini) in A, it is A, B, C, D, D#, E, F#, G, A.

    Scale 3 Blues with Chromatics (variation of the scale above, and used by many of the same players.

    in A. A, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, G, G#, A

    Try the three over a 12 bar, see what you think.

    MK

  7. #7
    Registered User The Pecker's Avatar
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    Thanks man, I dont have an axe with me but that sounds awesome. Thanks again.

  8. #8
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    Have fun!

  9. #9
    Registered User The Pecker's Avatar
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    If this link works, check it out. It is Black Sabbath's cover of Blue Suede Shoes. It has some really cool 3NPS blues scales which Iommi uses, who is way underrated. Anyways, if anybody knows what notes hes playing in the scales I'd love to know.

    http://www.rhino.com/retrovid/videop...so?VidID=10198

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