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Scales

 
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hipbluescat
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Joined: 29 Dec 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:13 pm    Post subject: Scales Reply with quote

Hi

I note on a Vintage guitar magazine article that Robben learned the melodic minor, whole-tone, diminished, harmonic minor.

http://www.vintageguitar.dreamhosters.com/3401/robben-ford/

What scales does Robben use in his playing?
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frank0936
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Joined: 26 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:31 pm    Post subject: Welcome! Reply with quote

Welcome to the club. Robben says in one of his videos that a lot of what he uses is simple pentatonic scales. But, he knows them in any position on the neck. I think what he is doing is what Scott Smith calls the "bricks and mortar" concept. The bricks are the "outside scales" - the diminished, whole-tone, harmonic minor, etc. The mortar is the pentatonic scale. That's what holds everything together. He can play as "outside" as he wants to and as long as he brings it back to a pentatonic scale tone, it still makes sense to your ears.
Hope that helps,
Frank
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hipbluescat
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply.

That I understand.

What I would really like to know are what other scales does Robben use where when and how.

Therefore can anyone give examples in Robben's playing of the use of these other scales.

This forum has already documented the use of diminished scale usage for example.
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jconstant
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Joined: 16 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest you take a look at the many books and videos Robben has created that will teach you everything you're looking for and more. They're all money well spent.
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delstele
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Location: The third coast USA....

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do know he has a fondness for the whole step half step scale mixing in the platonic.. I just wish I could use it as effortless as he seem's to play it..

And as stated above get some of the RF teaching material it is indeed money well spent.
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tboulette
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I echo the suggestion to take a look at Robben's books and videos. There's more to it than simply knowing what scales to play; you also need to get the sound of them in your head and figure out how to resolve them back to an actual chord tone on the back end. After 30+ years of playing, I'm only now realizing just how much of this is about ear training!

I'm presuming you use pentatonic and blues scales as your home bases in this style. To open up your playing a bit, the first thing I would suggest (in the context of major blues) is working with the mixolydian modes. Those aren't really "out", but their pretty important if you're going for a more "sophisticated" modern blues sound.

Once you have those under your fingers, you might try using the half whole diminished scale on the 4th measure, moving to the IV chord. For example, in a standard C major 12 bar blues, play C half-whole diminished [C Db D# E F# G A Bb] in the measure just before you move the the F chord. (This stuff is covered by Robben in Blues and Beyond, so you might want to check that out -- among other things, he gives a bunch of examples and (as I said above) it's really helpful to get the sound of the scale in your ears.) You can also try the C altered scale [C Db D# E F# G# Bb], though I think Robben uses that much less often in this context.

By the way, you can use these scales anytime you're moving from a dominant chord to another chord with a root up a 4th. Thus, just as C half-whole diminished worked over the last measure of C7 going to F7, it will also work in a minor blues that has a V7 to i change, such as G7 to Cmin7.

As a stylistic matter, I rarely hear players use these scales over the V7 chord in the turnaround (bar 12), but every once in a while you might go for it....
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tboulette
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:29 am    Post subject: Re: Scales Reply with quote

hipbluescat wrote:
Hi

I note on a Vintage guitar magazine article that Robben learned the melodic minor, whole-tone, diminished, harmonic minor.

http://www.vintageguitar.dreamhosters.com/3401/robben-ford/

What scales does Robben use in his playing?


Perhaps to more precisely answer you:

The altered scale I mentioned in the previous post is the same as the melodic minor scale, but starting on the 7th note (e.g., C altered = Db melodic minor), and I suspect that's what he means when he says he learned the melodic minor scales. I'm not sure about Robben, but jazzers might also use the melodic minor on occasion over certain minor chords (depending very much on the situation), and other modes of the melodic minor scale can be used in other situations. I don't think Robben does that though; certainly not in his blues playing.

Whole tone works over augmented chords, and can work over some altered dominant chords, but it's somewhat uncommon and I'd recommend sticking with HW diminished and altered until you get bored with them!

Diminished we've largely covered as far as Robben's style goes.

Harmonic minor -- works great over a minor ii7-V7-i7 change; e.g., in C minor, play D harmonic minor over the Dm7 chord; keep it (or switch to G altered) for the V7 chord; resolve to C dorian or C min pentatonic). (BTW, in this context, D harmonic minor over G7 gives you the chord tones plus the 9th, #9th, and b5th.)
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tboulette
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Scales Reply with quote

tboulette wrote:
...play D harmonic minor over the Dm7 chord...


That should be Dm7b5.
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Rob Mac
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Joined: 18 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And don't forget to use the humble, nay, mighty pentatonic scale on different roots. For example, the most obvious is on the sixth note of the scale - in a blues in G, use pentatonic minors on G and also on E, the sixth note. But it also works great on the fifth note, D, and also the second note, A.

So, for a blues in G, play pentatonic minors on G, E, D, A.

You can even squeeze in one on Ab in bar 4. Other uses are possible, but get more 'out'.

My favourite book for all of this is Pentatonic Kahncepts by Steve Kahn. Grap a copy before it sells out.
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tboulette
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right on.

Also, I've really messed up my suggestion about harmonic minor. Let me try it again:

Harmonic minor -- works great over a minor ii7-V7-i7 change; e.g., in C minor, play C harmonic minor over the Dm7b5 chord; keep it (or switch to G altered) for the V7 chord; resolve to C dorian or C min pentatonic). (BTW, in this context, C harmonic minor over G7 gives you the chord tones plus the b9th, 11th, and #5th/b13th.)

I'll try to do a better job of proofreading!
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jconstant
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tboulette wrote:
After 30+ years of playing, I'm only now realizing just how much of this is about ear training!


Damn, me too. This is so true. You can practice the scales up and down and all around until you're blue in the face. You've got to hear the *sound* of the scale to get it to really work the way you want it to.
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delstele
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Joined: 08 Aug 2011
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Location: The third coast USA....

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jconstant wrote:
tboulette wrote:
After 30+ years of playing, I'm only now realizing just how much of this is about ear training!


Damn, me too. This is so true. You can practice the scales up and down and all around until you're blue in the face. You've got to hear the *sound* of the scale to get it to really work the way you want it to.


So true, I have had a set back with my playing hurt my arm last summer. It has been a blessing though I spent a lot of time just listening man do I hear A lot that I never heard before.. Embarassed Embarassed
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