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Session 11 - Pentatonic Scales Guidelines


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#1 MusicalDan

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 09:04 PM

Hey Guys, 

 

I posted this on the Ask Steve forum, but wanted to post here as well to get some other insight. Any help is appreciated! Keep rocking!

 

Thank you,

 

MusicalDan

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Steve, 

 

I reached session 11 (including bonus sessions) in my journey with LMG. First off, I wanted to thank you for providing the community a roadmap to expressing ourselves with music! I have since formed a 3 piece band with likeminded musicians, and we are very excited to see where this journey takes us! 

 

I am a bit confused on how to go about practicing this session. I already have all the shapes memorized, and can play all the patterns up to speed in the key it is written in within the pages of the book.

 

The book states the assignment as follows: 

- Practice all of the pentatonic forms ascending and descending

-practice the pentatonic forms in all of the keys 

-practice connecting them together to play in all the keys the full length of the guitar

-practice the common pentatonic patterns

-Practicing soloing using pentatonic scales on A Minor Pentatonic Blues, G Major Pentatonic, and Aroud the Pentatonic World. Make up your own solo using the scales suggested.

 

I am wondering why the first 3 assignments you gave us, you seem to repeat yourself and tell us to do the same things? The following is how I interpreted your assignment, but I'm still not quite sure.I got the idea that the first assignment, you want me to play the forms in the book (in key of A). The second assignment, I pick a scale and play them chromatically up the neck? I am not quite sure how to go about practicing in this session and would like some guidance. In the video, if I recall correctly,you also say that I need to say the notes out loud as I play? This makes my practice sessions a lot longer, do you still recommend doing this?

 

I am committing to a 2 hour daily practice schedule, can you please give me a breakdown of how to use my time for this session everyday for the next four weeks for this session and the bonuses? 

 

Thanks,

 

MusicalDan 


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#2 triple-oh

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 12:36 AM

MusicalDan, I agree that the assignment sounds repetitive. I think its written that way so you won't stop after learning one or two forms or just using Am.Some folks for example seem to learn Am and its parallel major A  and go no further. Some comments over the years claim all you need to know is the first form and i think Steve is trying to make sure you don't  fall into that trap.This is how I understand the session 11 assignment.

 

 I. learn the five forms in the key of Am, key of C. 

2. learn to play the forms in all the keys. 

3. learn to connect the forms by sliding from one to another,I think Steve shows this only on the first or sixth string, which is part of the confusion, but you could also be sliding from different places in the scale,for example in Am you could slide on the G string fret 7 / 9 to connect forms 1 and 2. You could slide on the D string frets 10 / 12 to connect forms 2 and 3. You could also connect forms 3 and 4 on the D string 12 / 14. 

4. Spend more time on the more common keys, most popular is Am, but I also find myself using Gm Em Cm Bbm Ebm Dm Fm and Bm. I 've heard some really good country solos in E maj. pentatonic.

 

 I didn't practice  the scales  chromatically. I would bounce around the neck. Part of this session was to start learning the notes on the fret board. Learning the major and minor root notes is part of this learning process. I think Steve believes that sounding out the notes makes it easier to learn them. This session gets more interesting when you add session 13 and 14. I have spend hundreds of hours  in sessions 11 13 and 14 and its just starting to pay off. I need to work on it daily.

 

Creating a basic solo is one of the objective of session 11. Knowing the root notes is key in this session for changing minor keys,especially  in the  Around the pentatonic world exercise. To create anything beyond a basic solo requires more tools provided in later sessions.

 

You can also break  each pentatonic scale into two  high or low by starting to  play at the octave  (other than the 1st or 6th string)  depending on the sound you want.  Where you slide from one form to another can also be based on a changing chord in the progression.

 

The patterns Steve listed can help get away from the predictable scale patterns by employing a note jumping technique.Another way to practice after you meet Steve's assignment is to combine two forms and play back and forth in those two forms. Like form i and 2 or form 1 and 5.

 

 One skill Steve seems to have left out of the session 14 is the vibrato and and I am not sure why,but I think it will help your solos. Consider learning the vibrado and 1/4 step bends for session 11 it can help make your first solos sound better.

 

 

Another book that might be worth looking at is "Blues you can Use" by John Ganapes and you might also look at the Blues guitar lesson book.

 

https://www.learnand..._LessonBook.pdf

 

http://acousticguita...-different-way/

 


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#3 Steve Krenz

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 12:12 PM

Dan,

 

Thanks for the post. 

 

Pentatonic scales are a big batch of knowledge that will take some time to learn and digest and eventually put into your playing.

 

Most guitarists learn a pattern or two and play them up and down and think that they have learned all they need to know about pentatonic scales.  That's a bit like saying... "I know the alphabet.  I can say my ABC's forwards and backwards.  I don't understand why I'm not a great novelist by now."

 

So, in the book I give you several steps in your learning of these scales - to get you from learning the alphabet to actually using it.

 

- Practice all of the pentatonic forms ascending and descending

-practice the pentatonic forms in all of the keys 

-practice connecting them together to play in all the keys the full length of the guitar

-practice the common pentatonic patterns

-Practicing soloing using pentatonic scales on A Minor Pentatonic Blues, G Major Pentatonic, and Aroud the Pentatonic World. Make up your own solo using the scales suggested.

 

Let's go through these.

 

STEP 1 - PRACTICE ALL OF THE FORMS ASCENDING & DESCENDING

Start off by learning the fingerpatterns of the forms.  Here's how to practice this.  Pick a form. Play it slowly and carefully up and down.  Each time you make a mistake go back and do the whole form again.  You need to teach your fingers the correct way to play the form. Once you can play the form up and down perfectly with consistency.  Then move the form up a half-step and do it again (up and down).  Don't worry about knowing what key you are in yet, just focus on playing the form accurately.  Work your way up and down the neck playing the scale at a slow to moderate speed.

 

Once you have really learned one form then start learning another form using the same process.  This process, if done correctly, should take around 2 weeks.

 

When you can play all five forms (ascending and descending) with confidence and accuracy then move to the next step.

 

STEP 2 - PRACTICE ALL OF THE FORMS IN ALL OF THE KEYS

Now, its time to move past just playing the finger patterns and begin to assimilate these finger patterns with their associated keys.  Each pattern has an associated major and minor root (as shown on the diagrams). So, let's start with the key of C.  Play each of the five pentatonic forms ascending and descending in the key of C.  You want to start with the form that can be played in the lowest position. Don't start with your favorite form and then figure out the others.  Force yourself to learn where each form is on the neck.  So start with whatever form is the lowest one in that key on the neck.  Then move up the neck switching forms as needed.  When you get higher on the neck you will need to flip back to forms you previously did only now they would be an octave up.

 

Once you can play all of the forms on the entire neck in the key of C, then move around the circle of fifths keys.  So, they would be in this order... C - G - D - A - E - B - F#.    F - Bb - Eb - Ab - Db - Gb. This exercise when done properly should take you, at least, 30 minutes to get through all of the keys. 

 

STEP 3 - PRACTICE CONNECTING THEM TOGETHER TO PLAY IN ALL KEYS THE FULL LENGTH OF THE GUITAR

Look at the Bonus Resources Book pgs 104-107.  These are the patterns that I want you to play in all keys the full range of the instrument.

 

Pick a key.  Identify the form you need to use to play at the lowest part of the neck.  Play that form ASCENDING, then move up to the next form in that key and play it DESCENDING, then move up to the next form in that key and play it ASCENDING and so on, until you run out of neck.  Then work your way back down in a similar way.  When you get back to the bottom of the neck again, then move on to the next key and do it all over again.  Choose your keys in the cycle of the circle of fifths as outlined above.  This should take you about 2 weeks to learn this and will take you at least 30 minutes or more to do this and go through all of the forms in all of the keys.

 

STEP 4 - PRACTICE THE COMMON PENTATONIC PATTERNS

OK, now that you've gotten enough practice on the forms and how they relate to each other in different keys, now it's time to move beyond just playing them up and down.  You need move beyond viewing these scales in a linear (up and down) fashion.  In the lesson book I outline several common pentatonic patterns.  Pick a pattern and learn the basic idea.  Then pick a pentatonic form and play the pattern ascending and descending.  Go to the next pentatonic form and play the same pattern up and down until you've worked through all of the five pentatonic patterns.  Move to different keys, different parts of the neck.  Play them in a connected form shape (ascending in one form, descending in the next).

 

Once you can do this with one pattern then try the others.  This should take you about a week to learn and at least 45 minutes to go through all keys and all three patterns.

 

STEP 5 - PRACTICE SOLOING USING THE PENTATONIC SCALES

Now that you've learned the forms, what keys they are in, where they are on the neck, how they connect to each other, and several helpful patterns to play with them, you should be able to look at the entire neck of your guitar and immediately see this grid of connecting pentatonic forms which will form the basis of which notes you can choose from when you are soloing.

 

Now from this grid of appropriate notes you have a palette of notes to choose from when soloing.  Begin experimenting, using the play-along tracks, trying to play different melodic ideas using the pentatonic scales.  Play them in different parts of the neck.  Don't always start with the same form.  Vary the forms up.  Vary the area of the neck that you start your ideas from. 

 

You will sound clunky and bad at first.  Keep trying.  Eventually you will start to make better and better musical choices.  This takes a few weeks to a lifetime to do this with as much accuracy as you need to.  The goal is to be able to play through your fingers the ideas in your head.  If your head can think it - your fingers can play it.  That's the goal.

 

So, as you can see, there is quite a bit of material there to work through regarding pentatonic scales.

 

It's not easy but it's one of the most important skills you need to have as a guitarist for soloing and knowing the neck of your instrument.

 

This whole process took me about 3 months to learn and I use it every time I pick up the instrument.

 

- Steve


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#4 dodobird

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 12:43 PM

Great post and thank you from all of us Steve.

#5 RFH

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 12:53 PM

Thanks Steve
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#6 Dave_White

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 04:34 PM

Very helpful - thanks Steve!


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#7 DianeB

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 07:36 PM

Thanks, Steve, Dan, and Triple-oh. I needed some prodding with this. I worked on the major scale patterns by that same circle of fifths sequence, so I can vouch for it as a good plan.


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#8 k9kaos

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:27 AM

Great post!! 

 

I like the idea of using the circle of fifths to use all of the keys.  

I had been just randomly picking 3 or 4 each day and practicing those...

but I think subconsciously I was avoiding a few of the keys I find more difficult...  :whistling:


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#9 SandyB53

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 11:06 AM

Well I am nowhere even close to this Information but I think i am going to try to Save it and Archive it on my PC for Future Reference. THAT is ALOT of Information!!! And Another Reason Steve has the Very Best Course on the Market Barr None! I recommend this Course to Anyone who even Thinks they may want to Learn to Play a Guitar. But Steve taking the TIME to come here and Create additional Information for FREE (Nobody Does This) is in My Opinion the Reason he does so Well and Why His Students are ( I am certain ) Guitarists at a Much Higher Level than Any of his Competition. Thank You Steve for Your Continued Service AFTER the Sale. Your just Amazing. Also Thanks to the Senior Students here who also Make a Difference and offer Assistance to us Younger Students. May God Bless You ALL.


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#10 Eracer_Team -DougH

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 12:09 PM

WooHoo.. I've watched for quote's from Steve for some time.. this one is worthy for the Words of Guitar Wisdom from Steve Krenz thread.

 

Sandy.. take a look at the Words of Guitar Wisdom from Steve Krenz thread for great quotes from Steve over the years.


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#11 MusicalDan

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 04:22 AM

Wow, what a reply, Steve!!! Thanks for consistently going above and beyond to guide us in our journey!

 

P.S., did you intend for us to say the note names out loud as we practice? That makes a lot of the exercises a lot more time consuming for me. One way I did try to go about saying them aloud was to write the note names on paper and read them aloud as I play the patterns. Should I continue with this practice or focus my brain power to letting my fingers do the work? 


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#12 Eracer_Team -DougH

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 12:03 PM

Yes it's important to say the name, why?? I'm working on Session2 of the LMBlues course, and Steve just expects you to know where the notes are on the fret board, He just puts a finger on a fret and goes, there's the flatted 5th, then down a string and goes there's the flatted 7th, He expects you to know where they are in a scale to play along with him in the Blues course
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Sessions "somewhere between Sessions 8, 9 and 11"

#13 MusicalDan

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 04:24 AM

Yes it's important to say the name, why?? I'm working on Session2 of the LMBlues course, and Steve just expects you to know where the notes are on the fret board, He just puts a finger on a fret and goes, there's the flatted 5th, then down a string and goes there's the flatted 7th, He expects you to know where they are in a scale to play along with him in the Blues course

 

Great stuff! Thanks for being specific! I have that course too! I am super stoked to get cracking into that once I hit session 13!


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#14 KWilson5035

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 01:54 PM

Thanks Steve. I'm working on session three of the Fingerstyle course, it'seems big. This approach will fit well with the interval studies.

#15 MusicalDan

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 05:48 AM

Thanks for all the feedback guys, 

 

I'm also currently supplementing this chapter with these resources and it's helping a ton! Check them out!

 

http://www.amazon.co...tboard workbook

http://www.amazon.co...s=guitar411 dvd


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#16 earth47

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:47 PM

WooHoo.. I've watched for quote's from Steve for some time.. this one is worthy for the Words of Guitar Wisdom from Steve Krenz thread.

 

Sandy.. take a look at the Words of Guitar Wisdom from Steve Krenz thread for great quotes from Steve over the years.

I agree, what a great response.



#17 MusicalDan

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 09:08 AM

Dan,

 

Thanks for the post. 

 

Pentatonic scales are a big batch of knowledge that will take some time to learn and digest and eventually put into your playing.

 

Most guitarists learn a pattern or two and play them up and down and think that they have learned all they need to know about pentatonic scales.  That's a bit like saying... "I know the alphabet.  I can say my ABC's forwards and backwards.  I don't understand why I'm not a great novelist by now."

 

So, in the book I give you several steps in your learning of these scales - to get you from learning the alphabet to actually using it.

 

- Practice all of the pentatonic forms ascending and descending

-practice the pentatonic forms in all of the keys 

-practice connecting them together to play in all the keys the full length of the guitar

-practice the common pentatonic patterns

-Practicing soloing using pentatonic scales on A Minor Pentatonic Blues, G Major Pentatonic, and Aroud the Pentatonic World. Make up your own solo using the scales suggested.

 

Let's go through these.

 

STEP 1 - PRACTICE ALL OF THE FORMS ASCENDING & DESCENDING

Start off by learning the fingerpatterns of the forms.  Here's how to practice this.  Pick a form. Play it slowly and carefully up and down.  Each time you make a mistake go back and do the whole form again.  You need to teach your fingers the correct way to play the form. Once you can play the form up and down perfectly with consistency.  Then move the form up a half-step and do it again (up and down).  Don't worry about knowing what key you are in yet, just focus on playing the form accurately.  Work your way up and down the neck playing the scale at a slow to moderate speed.

 

Once you have really learned one form then start learning another form using the same process.  This process, if done correctly, should take around 2 weeks.

 

When you can play all five forms (ascending and descending) with confidence and accuracy then move to the next step.

 

STEP 2 - PRACTICE ALL OF THE FORMS IN ALL OF THE KEYS

Now, its time to move past just playing the finger patterns and begin to assimilate these finger patterns with their associated keys.  Each pattern has an associated major and minor root (as shown on the diagrams). So, let's start with the key of C.  Play each of the five pentatonic forms ascending and descending in the key of C.  You want to start with the form that can be played in the lowest position. Don't start with your favorite form and then figure out the others.  Force yourself to learn where each form is on the neck.  So start with whatever form is the lowest one in that key on the neck.  Then move up the neck switching forms as needed.  When you get higher on the neck you will need to flip back to forms you previously did only now they would be an octave up.

 

Once you can play all of the forms on the entire neck in the key of C, then move around the circle of fifths keys.  So, they would be in this order... C - G - D - A - E - B - F#.    F - Bb - Eb - Ab - Db - Gb. This exercise when done properly should take you, at least, 30 minutes to get through all of the keys. 

 

STEP 3 - PRACTICE CONNECTING THEM TOGETHER TO PLAY IN ALL KEYS THE FULL LENGTH OF THE GUITAR

Look at the Bonus Resources Book pgs 104-107.  These are the patterns that I want you to play in all keys the full range of the instrument.

 

Pick a key.  Identify the form you need to use to play at the lowest part of the neck.  Play that form ASCENDING, then move up to the next form in that key and play it DESCENDING, then move up to the next form in that key and play it ASCENDING and so on, until you run out of neck.  Then work your way back down in a similar way.  When you get back to the bottom of the neck again, then move on to the next key and do it all over again.  Choose your keys in the cycle of the circle of fifths as outlined above.  This should take you about 2 weeks to learn this and will take you at least 30 minutes or more to do this and go through all of the forms in all of the keys.

 

STEP 4 - PRACTICE THE COMMON PENTATONIC PATTERNS

OK, now that you've gotten enough practice on the forms and how they relate to each other in different keys, now it's time to move beyond just playing them up and down.  You need move beyond viewing these scales in a linear (up and down) fashion.  In the lesson book I outline several common pentatonic patterns.  Pick a pattern and learn the basic idea.  Then pick a pentatonic form and play the pattern ascending and descending.  Go to the next pentatonic form and play the same pattern up and down until you've worked through all of the five pentatonic patterns.  Move to different keys, different parts of the neck.  Play them in a connected form shape (ascending in one form, descending in the next).

 

Once you can do this with one pattern then try the others.  This should take you about a week to learn and at least 45 minutes to go through all keys and all three patterns.

 

STEP 5 - PRACTICE SOLOING USING THE PENTATONIC SCALES

Now that you've learned the forms, what keys they are in, where they are on the neck, how they connect to each other, and several helpful patterns to play with them, you should be able to look at the entire neck of your guitar and immediately see this grid of connecting pentatonic forms which will form the basis of which notes you can choose from when you are soloing.

 

Now from this grid of appropriate notes you have a palette of notes to choose from when soloing.  Begin experimenting, using the play-along tracks, trying to play different melodic ideas using the pentatonic scales.  Play them in different parts of the neck.  Don't always start with the same form.  Vary the forms up.  Vary the area of the neck that you start your ideas from. 

 

You will sound clunky and bad at first.  Keep trying.  Eventually you will start to make better and better musical choices.  This takes a few weeks to a lifetime to do this with as much accuracy as you need to.  The goal is to be able to play through your fingers the ideas in your head.  If your head can think it - your fingers can play it.  That's the goal.

 

So, as you can see, there is quite a bit of material there to work through regarding pentatonic scales.

 

It's not easy but it's one of the most important skills you need to have as a guitarist for soloing and knowing the neck of your instrument.

 

This whole process took me about 3 months to learn and I use it every time I pick up the instrument.

 

- Steve

Hey Steve, 

 

I spent the 3 months putting in the work to learn and master the pentatonic lesson plan you outlined!

Thank you so much, it has opened up my world of playing!


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#18 NeilES335

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 07:00 PM

Steve most certainly explains this section of the  LMG course (Session 11) very well, but in addition to his explanation, this video elaborates a bit further and shows the Pentatonic scale in the context of soloing.  You may find it helpful;

https://youtu.be/VGVll7dbHGc



#19 Steve Gaines

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 05:38 PM

The detailed approach covered by Steve is definitely helpful.  Unless I am missing it, nowhere in the approach does he mention the skill of reading notes to play them. The focus seems to be learning the forms up and down the neck while associating them to keys based on the major and minor roots. Then, using that knowledge to solo in songs by matching the scales to the song's key and improvising.  Is it true that reading the notes to play them using the scales is not an emphasis here?



#20 triple-oh

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 02:08 AM

The detailed approach covered by Steve is definitely helpful.  Unless I am missing it, nowhere in the approach does he mention the skill of reading notes to play them. The focus seems to be learning the forms up and down the neck while associating them to keys based on the major and minor roots. Then, using that knowledge to solo in songs by matching the scales to the song's key and improvising.  Is it true that reading the notes to play them using the scales is not an emphasis here?

  True, the emphasis is leaning the 5 patterns. Knowing the location of the tonic notes of the major and minor Pentatonic scales will do for this session.

 

This in away is the first session that starts you on the path of learning all the notes higher up the neck. And since the pentatonic scales are 2 octave, one low and one high and playing go through the all the keys its hard not too learn notes on the neck. 


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