First Steps in Blues Improvisation using Minor Pentatonic Scale Pattern 1

Wish I had found this thread some weeks ago!!

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After I spent a few months practicing the major scale in grade 4, do you now tell me I should be only focusing on the minor pentatonics if I want to improvise :melting_face: :smiling_face_with_tear: In grade 4 Major Scale maestro justin said major scale is very important and if we are not comfortable with switching between patterns and playing it in every key then we should not move on because that stuff is very important. Now I am feeling a bit like I spent too much time on major scale when my goal is actually to get better at Blues. :smiley:

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Hi Yigit.
I’m sorry if I was unclear. I am not encouraging people to skip modules. I am setting out a narrowly focused restriction on a particular learning style. If you are learning blues improvisation and if you have just learned pattern 1 of the minor pentatonic scale then stay there. Push no further until you have explored the pattern and the techniques to a good extent.
I hope that makes sense.
The major scale is hugely important. All western music can be seen as deriving from it.

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Just to be clear, I am not angry or anything, was just kidding :smiling_face: Thank you for your guidelines, I will definitely come back to these to keep in mind as I learn the licks. I am currently practicing the 5 licks and reviewing my bending technique as I already know the pentatonic scale really well. In the meanwhile, I think I will keep practicing major scale in other keys because I wasn’t finished with that, I am comfortable with G and C but haven’t tried out F, A, D yet. I found that practicing the major scale in many keys is a good way to learn and visualize the fretboard for example I can now easily locate G and C notes on the fretboard because I studied them, playing scale starting from each position of the root notes. Because of this benefit, I plan to continue with remaining keys along with blues studies.

I have one other question as we are on it:

I believe it will be useful to play the licks on multiple positions and keys once I am comfortable with playing that. Such that I can integrate them into my own playing, play them in other contexts and over different progressions. So I am certain that a lick can easily be moved to another key by using the same pentatonic pattern in another position. I am not sure if I should also practice later on after learning other patterns, moving the same lick to different patterns by preserving the intervals, for example if we are bending 3b then playing 7b and root, I can do that in a different pentatonic scale as well, right? As long as fingering is comfortable. My question is that should I practice this as well?

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Playing the licks in different keys, with different phrasing, mixing them up etc, will be to your benefit.
As for moving licks to other parts of the fretboard in the same key, just experiment and see what happens. I’ve found some move around OK others not so much - depends on the lick.
The plus side is you can modify learnt licks in many ways, and come up variations, different phrasings, new licks etc, and play them anywhere you like.

Cheers, Shane

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What’s the best way of playing adjacent notes. Eg the first two notes are at 5 on the E and A strings. Is is best to playing these by moving my finger each time or just laying my finger of both strings? Or is it whatever works best?

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@Stuartw , there are two ways to play notes on adjacent strings, same fret.

  1. If you want the first note to ring out while you play the 2nd note, then you can fret them together with one finger, a mini-barre.

  2. Most often though, you want to play the notes separately, one after the other. Moving your fretting finger from one string to the other will accomplish this, but it’s slow. The best technique is the “roll”, where you sort of roll your finger from one string to the adjacent string. It’s hard to describe in words, but pretty easy on video. Check out Lick #3 in this video: https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/5-blues-licks-from-pattern-1-bl-404, where Justin describes the technique.

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@Stuartw

@jjw got in with a great answer - thanks. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for that. I kind of have been doing the roll action (more by lick than judgement) but it’s not easy (for me) and is going to take some practice. Still trying to work out the first 8 notes in the note skipping exercise!!

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3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Bending Technique In Blues

4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Bending Technique In Blues

@Richard_close2u

Hey Richard I have a question regarding the licks: I have studied all the licks in this Blues Lead 1 course and can successfully play them when I want. The problem is though: I am noticing that none of the longer licks from “FIVE LICKS USING THE BLUE NOTE” and “Licks linking 2 patterns” haven’t made their way into my improv sessions. I am finding myself using mostly licks from pattern 1 and some licks from pattern 2 while also passing from the blue note every now and then. Do I need to force myself to practice them more or just move on and accept that maybe they are not my style of licks?

Thanks @Richard_close2u for posting this. In general I feel that I am making good progress on my guitar journey but improvising and getting it to sound good is an area that I am struggling with.

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Thanks @laser_171825 Can I recommend a little dive into the various improv challenge topics … you can get a sense of other people’s steps along the way and have a go yourself if you fancy it.

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Great thread thanks @Richard_close2u

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This is a great resource, thanks for steering me here and taking the time initially to share.

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It would be a huge help to hear each of these licks played along with the backing track to get a feel of the timing. I’m really surprised this hasn’t been done, as it feels like a big jump to apply the lick to a backing track without any sense of timing.

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Hello @Jabba and welcome to the community. Thanks for checking out this topic.

Each of the licks has its own in-built rhythmic structure which you could call timing. But the timing can be elastic and is not a fixed thing that you are unable to mess around with.
If you notice, each of the licks has a duration of less than one bar. You could, of course, start them all on beat 1 which means they end before the end of the bar. But you can start them on a different beat, or on and & between the beats. You could start on the beat 1 and stretch out some of the notes so the overall duration is longer. Conversely, you could compress the notes so the overall lick is over and done with in less time.
These are simply ideas, suggestions, fragments of something that are there for you to use and explore and shape to your own ends.

I hope that helps.
Cheers
Richard
:slight_smile:

Hello @Richard_close2u ! Thank you for sharing this at Blues#2 live lesson. I’m glad you did…I have been practicing getting bends in tune and have actually practiced the first lick you gave. So challenging, but so fun! However I have not been practicing 1;3 , 1:4 patterns like that. Will put that into the practice session!!! Many thanks brother!

Cheers! SOCIABLE! And peace out! Keep on rocking!!

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@Dman74 I’m glad it is helping you Darren! :slight_smile:

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