I've been in a pentatonic-ridden plateau for a few years now...

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Hey guys,

So I've been playing guitar since I was a young teenager, and I've always loved it and had a true passion for it. But after heading to university four years ago, I haven't had the time to invest the necessary amount of time on guitar in order to keep excelling. Long story short, I've been playing the same minor blues scale for literally four years now. I currently find myself in a position capable of investing a little bit more time into constructive practices for my music theory. 

So my question to you all is: whats next after I've butchered the pentatonic scales? I've tried to look at modes, but I struggled to get a grip on it. Have any of you ever gone through a similar situation? If so, I would love to hear some advice on how you got through it and continued to excel. I love the guitar, but I really don't want to be playing pentatonics my whole life. 

My guitar heroes are Jimi Hendrix, Kirk Hammett and John Mayer. Interesting combination, I know. But I figured I'd mention the style of music I want to be able to master. 

Cheers!

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  • I use arpeggios in solos to break out of the pentatonic rut, and they highlight chord changes better. Modes are good but you have to know where the intervals are in relation to each other so its doesn't sound scale like when you solo.

    The natural minor can be a good way to darken up a minor key solo too with an added 2nd and minor 6th.
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  • MayneheadMaynehead Frets: 971
    I found the minor scale was a natural progression on from pentatonics. It will add interesting colouration to your leads. After you've gotten used to adding a couple of extra notes to your pentatonic runs, the other modes should be easier to learn.

    What I would say though is don't try to learn them all. Find a mode that you like the sound of, and fits your style, (e.g. Kirk Hammett favours the Dorian mode a lot) and stick to it.
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  • KareemMonzerKareemMonzer Frets: 0
    edited November 13
    @Lestratcaster @Maynehead That's great advice guys, I'll try to look into them! Thanks a lot
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  • Natural minor and Dorian are good places to start as you already know the minor pentatonic, its just adding 2 extra intervals. Dorian contains a major 6 and nat minor a flat 6th, so just shift when you need a particular sound. 
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  • aord43aord43 Frets: 241
    Personally I'd simply like to get the most out of those pentatonic scales.  I am startlingly unoriginal, and don't have many licks.
    I am finding that learning more of other people's solos helps.  Perhaps that would help with the OP too?
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1300
    Natural minor and Dorian are good places to start as you already know the minor pentatonic, its just adding 2 extra intervals. Dorian contains a major 6 and nat minor a flat 6th, so just shift when you need a particular sound. 
    This is a good place to start. It allows you to introduce additional notes one at a time to the pentatonic, which you already know. You can hear what each note adds to the sound and feel of the pentatonic. You can learn how to use the new notes in phrases, still using the pentatonic as your frame of reference.
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  • pia98jfpia98jf Frets: 179
    If your guitar heroes are Jimi Hendrix, Kirk Hammett and John Mayer why are you worried about only playing pentatonics? 
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  • @pia98jf hahaha I guess you're right, but for some reason, I still don't sound like them! I guess its the creativity within a particular pentatonic scale that I feel limited to...

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  • A good one for me is the solo from All Right Now... Ok...you stopped reading. Hear me out! 

    It's an incredibly clever use of two different scales with some nice triads. 

    Written by a, then, 16 year old... Blows me away! 

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  • I use arpeggios in solos to break out of the pentatonic rut, and they highlight chord changes better. Modes are good but you have to know where the intervals are in relation to each other so its doesn't sound scale like when you solo.

    The natural minor can be a good way to darken up a minor key solo too with an added 2nd and minor 6th.
    I'm in a similar boat to the OP (except maybe add 6-7 years :P). How would you play the arpeggios of simple Major/Minor chords? I understand arpeggios in a Jazz context when almost every chord has at least 4 notes, but how do you apply that to a Rock/Pop song that just has triads? Is each one just 3 notes or do you embellish a little?
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 8519
    a pentatonic-ridden plateau for a few years? ..... you're lucky, I fell into a pentatonic pit 30 years ago and broke both legs on hitting the floor. I gave up trying to escape years ago.

    I used to try and send notes out for help but I stopped after 5. I ran out of ideas.
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  • I use arpeggios in solos to break out of the pentatonic rut, and they highlight chord changes better. Modes are good but you have to know where the intervals are in relation to each other so its doesn't sound scale like when you solo.

    The natural minor can be a good way to darken up a minor key solo too with an added 2nd and minor 6th.
    I'm in a similar boat to the OP (except maybe add 6-7 years :P). How would you play the arpeggios of simple Major/Minor chords? I understand arpeggios in a Jazz context when almost every chord has at least 4 notes, but how do you apply that to a Rock/Pop song that just has triads? Is each one just 3 notes or do you embellish a little?
    I focus on the 3 main intervals of said major/minor chords, the root (same note as the chord e.g G will be the root of a G) the 3rd and the 5th. So when the chord comes about, then you play those intervals from it.
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  • BigLicks67BigLicks67 Frets: 280
    If you are into Jimi Hendrix and are coming from a Rock perspective then I suggest you look at your rhythm playing. Learning Phrygian dominant with double twist scales are okay, but in the real world good rhythm chops are where it's at.
    For me the best thing about Jimi was his use of chords and the way he connects them. Have a look at this Guthrie Govan lesson on the Hendrix style.



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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 2033
    I'm almost the same, can play in Minor Key all day, but have to mainly compose rather than improvise in Major Keys. Try moving to Major progressions, understanding playing over Blues Standards(Major Blues Progression) can open up many new possibilities.

    Don't think of it as just "Boring Old Man Blues". You hear Blues licks and influence all over the place in Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Pop and Funk.

    These videos are really helpful as a starter. They emphasise the importance of Chord Tones. Blues is not easy, the b7 in the chords and the changes provide challenges, but also give licence to variety in soloing.









    2 + 2 = 5
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  • baj25baj25 Frets: 2
    Great thread. I've been stuck with the same scale for 40 years now, but as somebody mentioned earlier, I use it as a framework and add notes where I think they'll work. Once in a while they do...
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1488
    Try playing in alternate tunings. 
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • Move you pentatonic shapes 2 frets higher. Dorian!
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  • vizviz Frets: 4295
    edited November 20
    There are 10 available pentatonic scales (or modes) - five of one shape, five of another. Each group of five has some major flavoured scales and some minor ones. Try them all!
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