News & Updates

04.05.17: New video lesson uploaded: MiniGrips. Check it out here!!

05.01.16: REFERENTIAL PLAYING EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE!!

02.10.16: Started recording audio examples for my ebook... the end is in sight!!

01.05.16: Happy New Year, everybody!!

06.26.14: New dates added to Gigs page.

02.25.14: Hey guys!! Been a while. I've been enjoying playing, teaching guitar, and teaching music theory and ear training at Vanier College (Mtl, Qc). Back to work on my Referential Playing Ebook shortly.

05.18.13: Here's a discussion on using guide tones while improvising!!

05.12.13: Part 2 of "Some Blues Basics" is now up - check it out here!!

05.03.13: I've uploaded the first of a two-part lesson on basic blues soloing - check it out here!!

03.04.13: A new article discussing pentatonic uses in the blues, featured on Jazzguitar.be - check it out here!!

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"While I have taken lessons from many skilled musicians, Scott is the first to be an equally skilled teacher. Scott's referential theory has helped me to pull together 20+ years of incomplete fragments from countless instructors and theory books. His approach stresses making theory and practice musical, which has helped me accelerate learning the instrument beyond boxes, patterns and methods. His clear and concise instruction, and genuine passion for sharing his knowledge and experience make his Skype lessons more effective than any other face to face lessons I have taken."
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Alternate (Not Altered) Pentatonic Licks
Using common scale patterns in less-common situations


Most guitar players are comfortable with major and minor pentatonic scales, especially the box-shapedpattern that spans four frets (Ex.01). When learning to apply this pattern, it’s easy to build that pattern above the root of whatever chord you’re soloing over and leave it at that. But musicians are sometimes stumped when it comes to using pentatonic scales built on notes other than a given chord’s root.

Ex.01: The familiar box-shaped pentatonic pattern

This lesson includes a few short (2 measure) licks that use “alternate” (not altered) pentatonic scales—meaning, pentatonic scales built above notes other than the root of the chord you're soloing over. However, they restrict themselves to the familiar fingerings, making them quick and easy to learn. Example 2 is in the minor mode, resulting in an altered-dominant sound that resolves to a minor tonic. Example 3 is in the major mode, suggesting a Lydian (or Maj7#11) sound.

Ex.02: These lines can be used over a V7–i, in the key of D minor. The line in the first measure uses a Gmin Pentatonic scale over the A7 chord, which produces a nice altered sound.

Generally speaking, when playing over V in a minor key, try playing the minor pentatonic scale whose root is a perfect-5th below the tonic of the key you’re in (where, in this case, G is a perfect-5th below D)

Ex.03: These lines can be used over the chord AMaj7#11. The lines use a BMaj Pentatonic scale over the A chord.

Generally speaking, when playing over a Maj7#11, try playing the major pentatonic scale whose root is a whole-step above the root of the chord that you’re soloing over. This chord type is used in a lot of non-diatonic, contemporary jazz writing (listen to the music of Kenny Wheeler, for instance). Note how the second example resolves to EMaj, supporting a IV–I progression in the key of E major.

Thanks, and enjoy!!

Scott

To download a pdf of this lesson, just click here.