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I don't think anyone only uses one thing.I use scales and arpeggios to allow me to play melodies.Melody is what matters.
Whats your process in a solo? Do you ever use scales if the chord changes are too fast?
Having thought about it, I'm not even sure if I can describe what I'm thinking about when I'm playing solos. I'm probably thinking about melodies and chord tones. If the chord changes were flying past then I would maybe go into arpeggio mode and try to outline the chords as best I could.
If I want to play a fast run or something then I'm thinking about scales and shapes that I am familiar with.
Im starting to have a bit of a breakthrough with this. Some great wisdom in all posts.What my approach is now is to practice improvising with scales and arpeggios and sing as I play, what im realising is that as I get to know these shapes more, they become second nature to play and more importantly i feel, is that my intervallic awareness improves..Im using pentatonic shapes and arpeggios... I feel with these shapes i can play all the surrounding notes and develop my awareness of their sounds which will enable me to use them when i improvise.My question would be now, how can I benefit through learning different scales and going into modes? If i experiment with pentatonic and arpeggio shapes and adding in chromatic tones will this not serve the same purpose?