Scale Uses

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by ImAGoodDuck, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. Hey fellas. I'm workin right now on applying a bunch of different scales into my playing and am kind of having trouble. The scales that are giving me a bunch of trouble are the diminished(w-h) and the whole-tone. I can spell all the scales out and can play over them but for some reason when I get to them my brain goes blank. Instantly I forget what notes are in the scale. If I'm just playing by myself and screw up I stop and play through the scale and I can do it fine. When I practice them I play them in different ways as far as just playing them and then I try to play little ideas just using the scale and have no problem. But when I'm actually playing a tune I have a brain fart or somethin. Any thoughts on something that can help me apply some of these scales? Also are there any other places I can use these scales besides on an actual diminished chord? Someone told me that Coltrane used to play pretty much a straight diminished scale up a dominant and stuff but it is Trane. Any ideas? I'm kind of lost with these crappy diminished scales.
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    The trouble you're having is that you're not hearing dimished or whole tone ideas in the context of what your playing. You need to know how it will fit and sound before you even play it.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ya, you can't just jam them into any musical situation. I will generally only use diminished scales over diminished chords, and whole tone scales over augmented chords. I consider them specialty scales and I use them sparingly. You might find more uses for them than that, but that's how I use them. To me, using them any other way sounds atonal, and I'm not a big fan of atonal.

    That's part of why you may not be remembering them, and it may just be something that you need more practice with and more of an idea where to use them.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    In Jazz, the diminished scale fits over a V7b9 chord - like on Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance" - if you want to hear how to use the whole tone scale - go and listen to a lot of Thelonius Monk - it's also used over V7Alt - altered chords.
  5. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    Got a piano?

    Left Hand - play the chord or chord sequence in question
    Right Hand - without reading scales, or anything, pick out by yourself, using your ear, the notes that sound good to YOU over that chord. We all have different tastes, and use different scales. For example, there are some scale runs that I absolutely never ever do when I solo, because I can't "hear" them properly in context, it's not "me."

    It's a slow process at first, but it's been workin' wonders for me lately! All the best
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The other thing to work on is arpeggiating the diminished triads as part of your chordal work and singing them as part of your ear training work. You get the sound of them in your ear AND in your head AND under your fingers, it gets easier to hear them as ideas in improvising. Like BRUISED said, the dimished gets used a lot in dominant chords (C7 = CEGBb, E diminished triad = E G Bb, right?) but you gotta HEAR it in order for what you play to carry any weight. Just like what you say won't make any sense unless you use the words that you already know the meanings of...
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Agreed, and also second what ALEXI & GOLIATH said. Otherwise, you kinda mukka wump fisd bo, gokka wok sondeff, plubba wump chumble spuzz.
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    What the fhqwhgads are you guys talking about?!? :eyebrow:
  9. lol thanks fellas i appreciate it. i think you are right that i just don't have the sound in my head but i'm sure this stuff will help.