When to play 'outside'

What's Hot
kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
I'm a big fan of playing outside and use various methods to achieve this. i.e. sometimes melodic minor, or altered scale, sometimes just half step below resolving back up ( or back down if half step above) or sometimes diminished lines.
Thing I'm not 100% on is when to use outside stuff. Pretty clued on re blues and find that major blues works great for outside stuff (better than minor) and that generally I make outside playing work as the chords change particularly from I chord to IV chord or on the V chord (this works great as it resolves down to the I chord)
Also pretty obvious in jazz e.g. ii v I progression, particularly in minor, when you can use altered scale for example.
However, i'm less clear in more conventional music i.e. rock and pop. Sometimes I try outside stuff in these genres and it just doesn't work, sometimes it does.
Can anyone give clarity as to when outside stuff works and when it doesn't?
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
«1

Comments

  • vizviz Frets: 4951
    edited July 30
    I think it’s always going to make something sound jazzier so it’s never really “right for pop” - obviously it’s a great thing to do but it will always change pop to jazz!

    here are some things I enjoy:

    Altered scale on the V (just as good in major as in  minor key)

    then on the i chord (especially in minor) you can do a number of things - firstly you can play in different diatonic modes, like if in A minor, you suddenly shift up 2 frets to b minor penta - that’s basically A dorian. Or you could even shift momentarily up 1 fret to A# penta and then slip down again. 

    On the I major try lydian dominant, which is 4th mode of melodic minor (or 5th of the altered, so you can slip from V-I by playing altered on the V and then slipping down a semitone and playing Lydian dominant on the I. 

    Also try the half-whole scale, on the dominant. Both versions work; one works better nearer the top of the scale, the other works better nearer the bottom. I prefer the half-whole on the dominant. 

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    It does work with poppy stuff sometimes check this out



    Listen at about 2.40 on - some nice outside lines - not really sure what he is doing - possibly just chromatic stuff. But works really well. But this approach wouldn't work for a lot of pop songs (IMO) - why?

    Yeah I like altered on the V chord.

    Nice tip re Dorian, yes I do this sometimes, but haven't for a while so thanks for the reminder! 

    Not played around with Lydian Dominant really  but kept meaning to so will give that a whirl.

    And done half whole scale (diminished thing - mostly taking advice from Robben Ford i.e. going from I to IV and from V to I)

    Thanks for the reply!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • vizviz Frets: 4951
    kelpbeds said:
    It does work with poppy stuff sometimes check this out



    Listen at about 2.40 on - some nice outside lines - not really sure what he is doing - possibly just chromatic stuff. But works really well. But this approach wouldn't work for a lot of pop songs (IMO) - why?

    Yeah I like altered on the V chord.

    Nice tip re Dorian, yes I do this sometimes, but haven't for a while so thanks for the reminder! 

    Not played around with Lydian Dominant really  but kept meaning to so will give that a whirl.

    And done half whole scale (diminished thing - mostly taking advice from Robben Ford i.e. going from I to IV and from V to I)

    Thanks for the reply!
    Yep that’s nice that solo. I like the Egyptian pentatonic flavour at 2:43, and that little descending lick moving chromatically downwards is classic. Good stuff. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    Just been working on your altered to lydian dominant thing. Nice!

    Tried it in F blues so played C sharp Melodic Minor for V chord ( C altered ) and then C Melodic Minor for I chord(F Lydian Dominant) Cool! Cheers!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    OOh like the Egyptian Pentatonic too! Just been playing around with that one. Pretty unique!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • bloodandtearsbloodandtears Frets: 476
    Post some sound clips??
    My trading feedback

    is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • rossyamaharossyamaha Frets: 1738
    Playing outside totally works in pop. Just listen to any of Alan Murphy's work. 

    I play guitar and take photos of stuff. I also like beans on toast.

    Twitter  |  Instagram  |  YouTube  |  Facebook  |  Website

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ArchtopDaveArchtopDave Frets: 432
    Ultimately, there are no rules as to when playing outside works. In the end, it's down to what you personally find interesting, and, if there's an audience, what their level of tolerance of outside playing is.

     This is an area which interests me a lot. Phrasing and resolution are important. There are theoretical reasons for justifying playing any note over any chord. This does mean that you cannot blindly widdle away using all 12 notes, but you have to shape your phrases. Have a go at taking a simple I/IV/V Blues sequence, and try producing some phrases over the I Chord using any note you like, but clearly resolving back to a chord tone on beat 1 of the following Chord, whether this be the IV Chord, or the V Chord.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BarneyBarney Frets: 351
    Make sure your well wrapped up and use a RCD socket when playing outside ..that's the best advice I can give 
    3reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BradBrad Frets: 209
    kelpbeds said:
    I'm a big fan of playing outside and use various methods to achieve this. i.e. sometimes melodic minor, or altered scale, sometimes just half step below resolving back up ( or back down if half step above) or sometimes diminished lines.
    Thing I'm not 100% on is when to use outside stuff. Pretty clued on re blues and find that major blues works great for outside stuff (better than minor) and that generally I make outside playing work as the chords change particularly from I chord to IV chord or on the V chord (this works great as it resolves down to the I chord)
    Also pretty obvious in jazz e.g. ii v I progression, particularly in minor, when you can use altered scale for example.
    However, i'm less clear in more conventional music i.e. rock and pop. Sometimes I try outside stuff in these genres and it just doesn't work, sometimes it does.
    Can anyone give clarity as to when outside stuff works and when it doesn't?
    The bits I've highlighted are (IMO) the crux of the issue for playing outside (and doing it well).

    We can play any note/scale over a given chord(s) and they'll work, but only providing that the rhythm, phrasing, timing, contour, placement and resolution are totally on it. This is way more important than the actual notes. You can play all the fancy scales over the correct chord etc but it'll still sound either haphazard at best, or wrong at worst. I should know, I've made those mistakes (and still do!). Just because you can, doesn't mean you should wink 

    When to use this stuff? It sounds like you've got a good working knowledge with Blues and Jazz and it's a similar thing for Pop/Rock. It depends on the chord progression etc but as there aren't always as many 'sophisticated' changes in pop, you have to be more careful. Just because there might be a bar of V going to I doesn't mean you can just play a bar of the Altered scale. Try playing Altered over the second half of the bar leading to the I chord instead. This will make the phrasing more succinct. If needed, even start with just one outside note resolving confidently and work from there. The key to playing outside is having a destination and a direction to that destination.

    Some tunes just don't lend themselves to playing outside either and that's fine. It's good to be selective with where you do this stuff. It's important to really be able to hear the sound of what you want to play. If you can't hear it, it will fall apart. Think of ALL the Pop tunes Steve Lukather has played on, which of those has he gone outside on and what devices has he used to do it?   

    I also don't really think scales are what you're after as such, I think it's a little bit of chromaticism - check out chromatic approaches/enclosures. Things that sound really outside, are quite often really well constructed chromatic lines. And dig into arpeggios/chord tones too, as these will create a solid structure to hang the outside/chromatic stuff from.

    Lastly, TRANSCRIBE TRANSCRIBE TRANSCRIBE!! Then transcribe some more smile John Scofield and Scott Henderson are two guys that go REALLY outside (Sco in particular) and I've been left scratching my head when I've worked out some of their lines. But this can give you a harmonic context too which you can try out in some pop/rock stuff. Or I mentioned Lukather who has done a load of pop stuff, Larry Carlton too.

    Playing outside is hard, it's a tough journey. Good luck!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BarneyBarney Frets: 351
    I think the important thing about playing outside is having good resolution ...which is the hard bit really ...and also playing each note with conviction like you mean it ...and with that being said you can just about play what you want as long as you end on correct notes ...
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • DLMDLM Frets: 1823
    Barney said:
    Make sure your well wrapped up and use a RCD socket when playing outside ..that's the best advice I can give 


    @Barney I'm not sure I'd open or close with it, but maybe two or three songs into the set?

    Find out what these lads do:

    https://www.facebook.com/georgemichaelcoverband/

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    Brad said:
    kelpbeds said:
    I'm a big fan of playing outside and use various methods to achieve this. i.e. sometimes melodic minor, or altered scale, sometimes just half step below resolving back up ( or back down if half step above) or sometimes diminished lines.
    Thing I'm not 100% on is when to use outside stuff. Pretty clued on re blues and find that major blues works great for outside stuff (better than minor) and that generally I make outside playing work as the chords change particularly from I chord to IV chord or on the V chord (this works great as it resolves down to the I chord)
    Also pretty obvious in jazz e.g. ii v I progression, particularly in minor, when you can use altered scale for example.
    However, i'm less clear in more conventional music i.e. rock and pop. Sometimes I try outside stuff in these genres and it just doesn't work, sometimes it does.
    Can anyone give clarity as to when outside stuff works and when it doesn't?
    The bits I've highlighted are (IMO) the crux of the issue for playing outside (and doing it well).

    We can play any note/scale over a given chord(s) and they'll work, but only providing that the rhythm, phrasing, timing, contour, placement and resolution are totally on it. This is way more important than the actual notes. You can play all the fancy scales over the correct chord etc but it'll still sound either haphazard at best, or wrong at worst. I should know, I've made those mistakes (and still do!). Just because you can, doesn't mean you should wink 

    When to use this stuff? It sounds like you've got a good working knowledge with Blues and Jazz and it's a similar thing for Pop/Rock. It depends on the chord progression etc but as there aren't always as many 'sophisticated' changes in pop, you have to be more careful. Just because there might be a bar of V going to I doesn't mean you can just play a bar of the Altered scale. Try playing Altered over the second half of the bar leading to the I chord instead. This will make the phrasing more succinct. If needed, even start with just one outside note resolving confidently and work from there. The key to playing outside is having a destination and a direction to that destination.

    Some tunes just don't lend themselves to playing outside either and that's fine. It's good to be selective with where you do this stuff. It's important to really be able to hear the sound of what you want to play. If you can't hear it, it will fall apart. Think of ALL the Pop tunes Steve Lukather has played on, which of those has he gone outside on and what devices has he used to do it?   

    I also don't really think scales are what you're after as such, I think it's a little bit of chromaticism - check out chromatic approaches/enclosures. Things that sound really outside, are quite often really well constructed chromatic lines. And dig into arpeggios/chord tones too, as these will create a solid structure to hang the outside/chromatic stuff from.

    Lastly, TRANSCRIBE TRANSCRIBE TRANSCRIBE!! Then transcribe some more smile John Scofield and Scott Henderson are two guys that go REALLY outside (Sco in particular) and I've been left scratching my head when I've worked out some of their lines. But this can give you a harmonic context too which you can try out in some pop/rock stuff. Or I mentioned Lukather who has done a load of pop stuff, Larry Carlton too.

    Playing outside is hard, it's a tough journey. Good luck!
    Some good stuff there.

    Agreed that rhythm is super important. So much easier to get away with it if your rhythm is spot on. And also other things you mention. Guess you are convincing the listener that what you are playing is legit.

    And yeah, like using a bit of chromaticism, that can work really well. Coming in from half step below/above or surrounding the note half step below then above. 

    I don't transcribe enough - used to loads but now with internet etc... guess I've got a bit lazy re transcribing. 

    Thanks for the answer!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    Barney said:
    I think the important thing about playing outside is having good resolution ...which is the hard bit really ...and also playing each note with conviction like you mean it ...and with that being said you can just about play what you want as long as you end on correct notes ...
    The conviction thing is real important I agree. And  resolution helps make it convincing also. Thanks
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    Post some sound clips??
    Here we go. Quick one take sound clip.

    https://vocaroo.com/i/s1rFEXtpAy4F

    Am vamp on looper.

    First bit straight A pentatonic.
    Then A dorian 22 secs
    Then A egyptian pentatonic  39secs
    Then A Melodic Minor. 57 secs

    Feel free to critique!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    Playing outside totally works in pop. Just listen to any of Alan Murphy's work. 
    Any songs you recommend?
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • bingefellerbingefeller Frets: 5438
    Try playing harmonic minor from the 3rd of a maj chord.  e.g. C# harmonic minor over an Amaj7.


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BarneyBarney Frets: 351
    kelpbeds said:
    Post some sound clips??
    Here we go. Quick one take sound clip.

    https://vocaroo.com/i/s1rFEXtpAy4F

    Am vamp on looper.

    First bit straight A pentatonic.
    Then A dorian 22 secs
    Then A egyptian pentatonic  39secs
    Then A Melodic Minor. 57 secs

    Feel free to critique!
    Try playing minor pentatonic up one fret or 2 frets from root note..just use the same shape and try and make good resolution 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 2132
    In this weather as much as possible, nice acoustic noodle in the park ;)
    Warning: this post may contain overtly affectionate references to Mary Spender
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    Try playing harmonic minor from the 3rd of a maj chord.  e.g. C# harmonic minor over an Amaj7.

    Interesting, technically what would that be then? I guess it's modal but mixing the minor with the major thing makes it hard to figure out what it is.

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    edited July 31
    Barney said:
    kelpbeds said:
    Post some sound clips??
    Here we go. Quick one take sound clip.

    https://vocaroo.com/i/s1rFEXtpAy4F

    Am vamp on looper.

    First bit straight A pentatonic.
    Then A dorian 22 secs
    Then A egyptian pentatonic  39secs
    Then A Melodic Minor. 57 secs

    Feel free to critique!
    Try playing minor pentatonic up one fret or 2 frets from root note..just use the same shape and try and make good resolution 
    Yeah I like dorian (which is the two frets up thing) but prefer playing it in the same position as the minor pent - just seems a bit more natural. So basically adding the 6th of the scale on the 7th fret of the B string.

    Also I sometimes shift the pent up a 1/2 step but can't say iI've had much success doing that. Never sounds quite right to my ears and feel it is less theoretically sound if you know what I mean (not that that always matters!) Cheers
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • bingefellerbingefeller Frets: 5438
    kelpbeds said:
    Try playing harmonic minor from the 3rd of a maj chord.  e.g. C# harmonic minor over an Amaj7.

    Interesting, technically what would that be then? I guess it's modal but mixing the minor with the major thing makes it hard to figure out what it is.

    Sorry, my reply isn't correct as I was going from what Kurt Rosenwinkel told me on his forum many years ago.  I managed to find a PDF that someone sent me of the thread where I asked the question so here is the question and his reply explaining it:


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BarneyBarney Frets: 351
    edited July 31
    kelpbeds said:
    Barney said:
    kelpbeds said:
    Post some sound clips??
    Here we go. Quick one take sound clip.

    https://vocaroo.com/i/s1rFEXtpAy4F

    Am vamp on looper.

    First bit straight A pentatonic.
    Then A dorian 22 secs
    Then A egyptian pentatonic  39secs
    Then A Melodic Minor. 57 secs

    Feel free to critique!
    Try playing minor pentatonic up one fret or 2 frets from root note..just use the same shape and try and make good resolution 
    Yeah I like dorian (which is the two frets up thing) but prefer playing it in the same position as the minor pent - just seems a bit more natural. So basically adding the 6th of the scale on the 7th fret of the B string.

    Also I sometimes shift the pent up a 1/2 step but can't say iI've had much success doing that. Never sounds quite right to my ears and feel it is less theoretically sound if you know what I mean (not that that always matters!) Cheers


    Just done a quick vid of what I mean cos it's easier than talking about it
    It's starting on Cm pentatonic
    Them C diminished
    Then minor pentatonic 2 frets up 
    Then 2 frets up and down a fret and ending up on minor pentatonic again ...hope it makes sense


    vid below works ..this one doesn't
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BarneyBarney Frets: 351
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    kelpbeds said:
    Try playing harmonic minor from the 3rd of a maj chord.  e.g. C# harmonic minor over an Amaj7.

    Interesting, technically what would that be then? I guess it's modal but mixing the minor with the major thing makes it hard to figure out what it is.

    Sorry, my reply isn't correct as I was going from what Kurt Rosenwinkel told me on his forum many years ago.  I managed to find a PDF that someone sent me of the thread where I asked the question so here is the question and his reply explaining it:


    Nice one, thanks, will have a play around with that and get back to you. All played out for today!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 5
    Barney said:
    kelpbeds said:
    Barney said:
    kelpbeds said:
    Post some sound clips??
    Here we go. Quick one take sound clip.

    https://vocaroo.com/i/s1rFEXtpAy4F

    Am vamp on looper.

    First bit straight A pentatonic.
    Then A dorian 22 secs
    Then A egyptian pentatonic  39secs
    Then A Melodic Minor. 57 secs

    Feel free to critique!
    Try playing minor pentatonic up one fret or 2 frets from root note..just use the same shape and try and make good resolution 
    Yeah I like dorian (which is the two frets up thing) but prefer playing it in the same position as the minor pent - just seems a bit more natural. So basically adding the 6th of the scale on the 7th fret of the B string.

    Also I sometimes shift the pent up a 1/2 step but can't say iI've had much success doing that. Never sounds quite right to my ears and feel it is less theoretically sound if you know what I mean (not that that always matters!) Cheers


    Just done a quick vid of what I mean cos it's easier than talking about it
    It's starting on Cm pentatonic
    Them C diminished
    Then minor pentatonic 2 frets up 
    Then 2 frets up and down a fret and ending up on minor pentatonic again ...hope it makes sense


    vid below works ..this one doesn't
    Sweet - love it! What's the chords on the backing track? Thanks
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BarneyBarney Frets: 351
    edited July 31
    kelpbeds said:
    Barney said:
    kelpbeds said:
    Barney said:
    kelpbeds said:
    Post some sound clips??
    Here we go. Quick one take sound clip.

    https://vocaroo.com/i/s1rFEXtpAy4F

    Am vamp on looper.

    First bit straight A pentatonic.
    Then A dorian 22 secs
    Then A egyptian pentatonic  39secs
    Then A Melodic Minor. 57 secs

    Feel free to critique!
    Try playing minor pentatonic up one fret or 2 frets from root note..just use the same shape and try and make good resolution 
    Yeah I like dorian (which is the two frets up thing) but prefer playing it in the same position as the minor pent - just seems a bit more natural. So basically adding the 6th of the scale on the 7th fret of the B string.

    Also I sometimes shift the pent up a 1/2 step but can't say iI've had much success doing that. Never sounds quite right to my ears and feel it is less theoretically sound if you know what I mean (not that that always matters!) Cheers


    Just done a quick vid of what I mean cos it's easier than talking about it
    It's starting on Cm pentatonic
    Them C diminished
    Then minor pentatonic 2 frets up 
    Then 2 frets up and down a fret and ending up on minor pentatonic again ...hope it makes sense


    vid below works ..this one doesn't
    Sweet - love it! What's the chords on the backing track? Thanks
    its just a backing track in C minor its from youtube




    thats the backer when the guy stops playing ..

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • ModellistaModellista Frets: 869
    That vid explains in 45 secs what a whole thread would stuggle to do! 

    In fact you seem to be changing the order of things as you repeat the bars... C pent ->  C dim -> D pent -> C pent -> D pent -> C# pent -> C pent -> D pent -> C dim -> C pent  - is that right?

    So you're emphasising the root of the 2-fret shifted pentatonic to emphasise the movement that has happened, but also using the b7 of the scale to keep it linked with home, then the diminished seems like a nice link.  Then mixing it up again.  

    Nice demonstration, thanks.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • BarneyBarney Frets: 351
    That vid explains in 45 secs what a whole thread would stuggle to do! 

    In fact you seem to be changing the order of things as you repeat the bars... C pent ->  C dim -> D pent -> C pent -> D pent -> C# pent -> C pent -> D pent -> C dim -> C pent  - is that right?

    So you're emphasising the root of the 2-fret shifted pentatonic to emphasise the movement that has happened, but also using the b7 of the scale to keep it linked with home, then the diminished seems like a nice link.  Then mixing it up again.  

    Nice demonstration, thanks.
    Yep exactly as you said with the things used ...was just trying to show a few different ways to get outside ...it's a lot easier for me like this than talking about the different ways .. :)
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
  • bloodandtearsbloodandtears Frets: 476
    Barney said:
    That vid explains in 45 secs what a whole thread would stuggle to do! 

    In fact you seem to be changing the order of things as you repeat the bars... C pent ->  C dim -> D pent -> C pent -> D pent -> C# pent -> C pent -> D pent -> C dim -> C pent  - is that right?

    So you're emphasising the root of the 2-fret shifted pentatonic to emphasise the movement that has happened, but also using the b7 of the scale to keep it linked with home, then the diminished seems like a nice link.  Then mixing it up again.  

    Nice demonstration, thanks.
    Yep exactly as you said with the things used ...was just trying to show a few different ways to get outside ...it's a lot easier for me like this than talking about the different ways .. :)
    Awesome..  tab it??
    My trading feedback

    is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom · Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Sign In or Register to comment.