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  • Improvisation Tools: Pentatonic

    The Pentatonic is an effective tool to use in one's playing. In this thorough article, Guni takes the pentatonic apart and shows you what can be done with it.

    This is the first of a series of articles to familiarize you with the basic tools used in improvisation. In order to get the most out of this article I highly recommend that you have at least some experience in improvising.

    The series "Improvisation Tools" does not attempt to be a prescriptive method that specifies exactly how you should apply a particular tool to a specific chord or give you exact practicing schedules. Rather, they are intended to show you some ideas on how to approach and practice these tools.

    If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or complaints please feel free to post them in the iBretheMusic forums. I hope that this article is helpful and that you have fun studying it.
    __________________________________________________ ______

    So what's the big deal ? Why are Pentatonics so important to us guitar players ?

    A few considerations:

    • Pentatonic has it's distinctive sound, i.e. its intervallic structure gives a certain mood that you are familiar with by listening to Rock, Pop, Blues, Country, Jazz , etc.
    • Pentatonic fits perfectly on the guitar. When we talk about the 5 guitar patterns you will see that there are always 2 notes on a string that makes them easy to locate on the guitar and favors technique.
    • Pentatonic is an easy tool for incorporating guitar specific effects like bends, slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs.
    • Best of all is that Pentatonic goes along with the guitarist's desire for blowing over diatonic chord changes.


    Don't get me wrong: all other tools like triads, arpeggios and scales are very important, but can easily cause problems, e.g. scales tend to be played up and down resulting in a tired, non-musical performance.

    Before we start I would like to mention the time factor. Don't expect to master all this in a few weeks. Take your time with exploring things. If you have the feeling that you are not up to a topic or do not like to do it, just skip it for now and come back in one year.


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