Jazz Guitar – Bebop Scales

jazz guitar scales

Bebop scales are certainly very valuable scales to add to your repertoire, especially if jazz is your bag. If you already know how to play the major scale and all of it’s modes, then you will find playing bebop scales a breeze. The reason being, these scales are essentially the same as the major scale’s modes, with the addition of an extra passing note in each of them. There are also bebop scales derived from the modes of the melodic minor, and the modes of the harmonic minor scale (guide on those coming soon!), but for the purpose of this guide I will only be dealing with the three most used bebop scales, and all three originate from the major scale.

Above is a terrific example of the dominant bebop scale (key of Bb) being played. Wes Montgomery is on fire as always, listen and take note! The bebop scales are frequently used in jazz, and deservedly got their name from their extensive use in the Bebop era (1940s-60s) by such jazz musicians as Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie, to name a few. Each scale presented is based on a mode of the major scale, with the addition of an extra passing note which gives it it’s characteristic chromatic run – you always hear the jazz giants flowing through their scales like this.

The bebop scale’s intention was to open up the major scale and give it more of a jazz flavour, and also to introduce a new ‘technique’ for playing over chord changes. Thanks to the added passing tone, if you begin the scale on the root chord tone (1) of the chord playing, and on the downbeat, all other chord tones (3, 5, 7) will also fall on downbeats, while the remaining tones in the scale will occur on the upbeat. This, of course, is assuming the scale is played either ascending or descending, without skipping an interval. These sort of scale runs, peppered occasionally with sequencing, are very common techniques in the world of jazz, as they colour the chords which are being played. Another advantage of the bebop scales is the additional note allows more soloing opportunities, which make it playable over more chords, thus eliminating the need to change scales as frequently as you would with the original major scale modes.

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Mother of All Music Theory – The Major Scale

john scofieldI’m not sure why I took so long to write a guide on the major scale, considering it’s easily the most important bit of music theory that you can learn, and knowing it is essential in order to learn other scales and chord theory. I even wrote my guide on modes of the major scale first! But don’t fret, it’s finally here – a guide to the major scale, the mother of all scales. It’s the scale which all other scales are compared to, and from where chords and their progressions derive from; it literally gives birth to music theory. The major scale is the first of the diatonic scales, which is just a fancy word for a seven-note octave repeating scale, which consists of five whole steps and two half steps between each octave. Don’t understand any of that? Don’t worry, you will very soon.
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Natural, Harmonic and Melodic Minor Scales

wes montgomeryThis post we’re going to be discussing three minor scales: the Natural Minor scale (Aeolian mode), the Harmonic Minor Scale, and the Melodic Minor Scale.

As you probably know already from my guide on the Modes of the Major Scale, the 6th mode of the major scale is always the natural minor scale, or the Aeolian mode. In the Key of C major, the Aeolian mode is A minor; therefore A minor is the relative minor of C major: every major chord has a relative minor. When you play an A Aeolian as part of the C major scale then they both share the same notes; for example, the pattern for the major scale is: (W = whole step – 2 frets), H = half step – 1 fret)

W – W – H – W – W – W – H
1    2    3    4     5    6    7

Which in C would = C D E F G A B (then back to C again, but at a higher octave.)

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Allan Watts’ Zen Philosophy: Animated by South Park Creators

Beach

Creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have created a few animations which capture the essence of some of Allan Watts’ teachings on Zen and Philosophy. The videos are fairly short and so there’s no reason you shouldn’t watch them.

Life and Music:

“I”:

Prickles and Goo:

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Wu-Tang Clan: Melburn’ City

Concert

Wu-Tang Clan, the legendary hip-hop group that managed to make hip-hop ‘cool’ amongst a whole lot of white kids. While this is a super feat in itself, the real genius behind the clan is thankfully found in their music and not their popularity. Their first album ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ released towards the end of 1993, is still regarded as one of the monoliths of hip-hop recordings. The album solidified the clan’s reputation for extensive use of sampling – particularly from old samurai flicks such as Shogun Assasin (1980) – and their use of dark and grimy beats, crafted and produced by the head of the clan, RZA. The clan contains 9 members: RZA (Rizza), GZA (Gizza), Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Masta Killa and U-God, and their first single ‘Protect Ya Neck’ was one of the first hip-hop recordings to feature 8 rappers dropping verses (Masta Killa was in prison at the time). Big L later released a song titled ‘8 Iz Enuf’ which also featured 8 rappers, in response to ‘Protect Ya Neck’. Each member had a distinct style and brought something individual to the table, it never sounded like you were just listening to 9 black dudes yo’ing all over the place. Of course, a few of the members weren’t all that great (U-God, Masta Killa…) but despite this each member all went off to deliver very successful solo albums, with the cream of the crop being GZA’s ‘Liquid Swords’, Raekwon’s ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’ and Ghostface’s ‘Ironman’ in that order of greatness.

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