Here we can talk about scales/modes that we like to use while we dig out the jazz from our fingers. Show the scale/modes (the notes) and/or explain why you like this scale and what not...
So lets get to it!
I've been thinking about this a lot. What scales to get the true 'jazz' sound. The 'Jazz' minor is a good one, as is the 'bebop' scale. The major scale is another good one. There are too many to mention. But I found however hard I tried to get Jazz coming from the guitar, it didn't. Not until I found a super item:
The thing to me is to play off of the thirds. Basing your arps and scales off the third in the original chord. It's something I found out after month after month of trying to recreate that Bebop sound and feel I heard from all my favorite players. I just couldn't get the hang of what they did to get that so special feel that is in all bebop I've heard (and tried to get closer to). The bebop scale, well I got it down, couldn't make it sound like bebop anyway. Luckily I ran across a post on a forum, 'play off of the third'. That's what it said. I thought to myself 'Can't be that easy, and if so, then why can't people say so in the first place?'. Well, the truth is it isn't that easy, but that's one of the building blocks creating the bop in bebop. An other equally important factor is 'swing'. It has to swing. One just can't tap the foot on one and three, no, on two and four. That's just as important, if you have the right notes, but not the swing, well, then jazz it ain't. If you have the swing, but the wrong notes, no jazz. Or at least no bebop.
I found that to get the bebop feel, let's say that we want to play a 251 in C, like my 'Again came Lester', we start on the 2, which is a Dm7, ok, so what do we play over that chord? We play the arp off of the third, which in the case of Dminor 7 is FMaj7. A minor 7 chord is a Maj 7 in the case of playing thirds. Try the arp, you'll see, the notes fit, it's a good sub. And then over the 5 chord - G7 - we play a Bm7b5 arp. So a 7 chord is a m7b5 arp. Then we get to the CMaj7 chord. Play off of the third, E, and it is an Em7 arp we need. Then if you have added subs, you just follow the same formula for your arps and scales; m7 is Maj7 and vice versa, Maj7 is m7, and a standard 7 chord is a m7b5 arp or scale, and vice versa. It sounds too easy to be true, but it makes miracles with getting jazz into your sound, it does. Then there are other things to think about, listening and copying licks from the pro's, I like the downward motion in the bebop scale, and also I dig playing downwards from the 4th, and linking up arps and chords with all possible notes in between, the 'Coltrane' scale thing, the only thing I need to work very much on is the speed and accuracy, but this thirds pattern is one of the major help issues I've found so far. The thing is, I don't want to play things I borrow from others, I want to know how to create those lines. And this is - thus far - the best method I've found, and I'll stick to it and develop it, because it sounds the way I want it to sound if I play like I described in the above.
Skei (the 'play what you hear' one)
Wow, Skei, that bit you posted is going to help me a lot more now!
I thank you for that information about the 3rds of each chord!
Here's a website I want to share among you people. Not sure how many know about it but I found it to be extremely helpful when I need scales/chords and what not.
This place is a safe haven for people to learn scales/chords/progressions and more. Has video lessons, metronome, tuner, lessons and more. Check it out!
Brock & Skei
Thanks for the info - interesting site you mentioned - Checked it out and it's now earmarked(LOL)
Soooooo.............much to learn & so little time to do it in .......
My name is Joe Pescatello and a few months ago I started studying modal theory. After I understood it conceptually I went looking for a tool to help me do some of the memorization work, like the 5-chord in G Mixolydian is D-7, etc, etc. When I couldn't find any useful exercises on the web I built a site that I believe fills that need. http://modalmusictheory.com/ has hundreds of exercises covering the seven primary modes in most keys. They come in two levels - introductory and advanced. There are also chord drills to help students memorize the notes in Maj7, Min7, Dom7 and 1/2 Dim chords in most keys.
The site is completely free and I'm posting it here because I thought JazzMatrix readers might be able to use it. If you have time, please take a look at the site and pass it on to anyone there who might be interested. And if you're inclined to offer me any advice on how to improve it, I'd be honored to receive it.
Thanks again and best regards,
Further learning I got hold of recently, to make things more interesting, forward a little of the 'out' feel:
let's pretend we're playing a 251 in A. we start on Bm7, well to make a more interesting set of notes one may for instance play the arp of C sharp m7. Adds a lot of tension, and makes it interesting. And for the E7 (5) we can play a dim arp, very interesting. For the 1 chord, AM7, we play a BM7 arp, lots of tension there. And of course one may play off of the third here to, to get even more out, haven't tried that, but I'm sure if we are consistent it should be interesting...
Just some thoughts on the way. By the way, a player who always trigger my attention and curiosity is John Stowell. There are a number of tunes with him on youtube, well worth listening to.
Skei (the ever looking for ways one)
Here is how I think about each scale:
The 6 individual pairs of ROOT relationship with each other note.
So ROOT and 2nd
ROOT and 3rd
ROOT and 4th
ROOT and 5th
ROOT and 6th
ROOT and 7th
The 2nd can be flat or natural.
The 3rd can be flat or natural
The 4th is natural, or sharpened (same as a Flat5)
The 5th can be flat, natural, or sharpened
The 6th can be flattened or natural (major)
The 7th can be flattened or natural (major)
And that's about it. All scales ever written in the 12 tone western scale are comprised of various permutations of the above. The challenge for guitar atleast, is: Knowing what each of those possibilities sounds like, and how to play that on the fingerboard.
For instance: the Lydian Sharp 5 (a mode of the melodic minor). Is like playing a Major Scale. But you are sharpening the 4th. And also sharpening the 5th. Just need to recognize what those 2 notes add to the sound of a major scale (and it's a huge change by the way), and then through trial-and-error figure out in which situations you can use that mode.
This has been my approach to scales and modes so far. I do memorize all the patterns though in 5 positions. And then - just have to memorize which notes are which interval numbers, and you're done. All that's left is to jam!
Very perceptive! And succinct. Nice general logic.
Consider two "ways" of thinking while playing. First, what can be done INSIDE a temporary structure (the current chord). Second, how will I move FROM the current structure to the next structure (chord or section).
Playing "lead" tends to be the former mentality. Playing "melody" tends to be from the latter mentality.
Like when you travel. You have the pleasures of staying in a place, and the pleasure of moving to the next place.
I once took a private lesson with Lorne Lofski here in Toronto.
One of the things he taught me was:
For half an hour, play by using your theory knowledge and think about the music rules. (target chord tones, try to make meaningful phrases etc)
And then for the next half an hour just play like a kid in the playground. Do not think of any theory. And don't worry about making mistakes. I guess you can play with a guitar like you're playing with a toy here.
It might be useful to keep in mind that what we call THEORY (in any field) is not something on its own with a reality outside our acceptance of it.
Consider the two ways of thinking about what a "scale" really IS. First, you could read about the scale in a book and memorize it and learn (bookwise) what that scale "should" be used for. Secondly, you might look at the scale not as something that DETERMINES sounds, fingering and use, but rather IS A RESULT of someone's analysis of what is done by lots of people.
This two-way thinking is important for scientists, for example. Many of them get fooled into thinking of the theory as the REALITY, which actually functions to prevent discovery. But more discovery is possible for scientists who remember that the current theory is ONLY a conventional statement of what a lot of people are doing at this time.
Same in grammar. Linguists write grammars but only stupid linguists think of these grammars as "defining" what people do when they speak a language. The theory/grammar is only a POST HOC story about what people actually DO.
Similarly, think of a "scale" as an after-the-fact "story" about patterns, and not as a "rule", and that will lead to more discovery.
So, this raises the question of WHAT drives the actual musical behaviors that later get systemetized into official "scales"?