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wondering about jazz scales..

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Squice, Oct 17, 2002.

  1. ok i know this must sound like a stupid question.
    I know that people in jazz are using all kind of scales. But i was wondering if there are any scales that are more used than others in jazz. like any favo... i know that alot of you are going answer that jazz has very wide range so you really can´t narrow it down. i´m trying to move myself more into the jazz area. And working up for lost years were i was just playing, and not thinking about what i was playing.. so i have just reasently started to learn scales&theory.. like.. learning.. Major - minor - penatonic - diminished - augmented - thirds - 7th - relative scale like A minor to C major.. And i also hear alot of you saying.. learn major minor.... and practice them in all keys.. I find that i learn the scales. i hear and learn the sound difference. but find that find easyest to relate each scale the the possision of my fingers. so if i learn c major i find it easy to play it in every key... i know i have a endless time ahead trying to learn as much as i can and like learn whats chord relates to like if i´m play C major7 shifting to A minor or something.. but i hope that some of you can answer some of me thougts. and hope that my spelling isn´t to messed up, (english ain´t my main language, like most of u had probably thought. if you read this far..)
  2. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Ok, I'm gonna say it before Jazzbo gets here:

    G# Locrian.

    Ok, now we've got that out the way (ignore that, Squice)...

    A good place to start is the blues scale, a lot of Jazz has it's roots in the blues scale. But I guess it depends on what kind of Jazz you're trying to play...
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    it's all Chromatic Scale
  4. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    When soloing, try the 1+2 scale. Also try to think chorally and arpeggiate some. When you're walking, stick with diatonic scales but use leading tones a lot (non scale tones that lead to the next chord).
  5. 1+2 scale... sorry i´m sure what u mean by that.. and also mention use leading tones alot. i read somewhere that like in major the leading tone is the 7th.. but that must depend on what the next chord is going to be..
  6. sorry wrong spelling.. it should be.. 1+2 scale i´m not sure what u mean by that...
  7. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    if you have a V7 chord leading to its tonic or I...GO CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    just try to resolve by half step into a chord tone of the I.

    AKA "leading tone".

  8. and also Diatonic.. are u talking about minor... major-minor = tonic -diatonic.. u all use so many words for the same thing..
  9. Who and what am i listening to right now??

    there are many that i´m listening to right now.. i think have been cought..... i think i´m trying to learn too much stuff at the same time.. i listen to all kinds of music.. but more and more jazz is always poppin in my cd player.. i can say that almost every night i put in my bass gods playlist.. Jaco - Marcus miller - Victor wooten.. but last night i was also listening to Tool and queens of the stone age. and Kind of blue with miles davis has also resently been played. couple days ago i was getting stuff with Billy sheehan - Jeff beck - mark king - Les Claypool - and John Paul Jones. I just love Slapping, Jazz and specially some funk/fusion/jazz kinda thing. But i´m also trying to get familiar with the Tapping, becouse that is something i just haven´t been thinking of... Just love music and sleep with music playing in my cd player every night. I think i am in some kind of learn all, place in my life.. how about you, what are you listening to. and most of all, what are you practising right now??
  10. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    a classic you may want to check out is Miles Davis - Kind of Blue.

    next in line would be his mid-60's period group with Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams.


    i agree with Ed, if you're wondering about jazz, the best way to grasp it is to listen.

    that's the way it was learned early on. no scale books, no TB, etc...

  11. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    G# Loc -

  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well I 'm not sure exactly what was being asked in the original question. But, in my Jazz classes, I have noticed that the two types of diminished scales and also the whole tone scale sounds weirder - maybe Jazzier.

    So a diminished scales over a V7b9 chord is a very Jazzy sound to me. But I think you wouldn't want to necessarily use one scale exclusively and Jazz soloing is often about coming up with combinations or bits of scales.

    Listening takes you so far - but I would never have thought of using a whole tone scale without doing some theory in Jazz classes - no matter how many Jazz CDs I listened to.

    Of course once you understand these scales and have them under your fingers - then you need to listen again, to work out how they are used tasefully and not just "for effect". ;)
  13. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    What is a diminished scale Bruce? Haven't come across diminished *scales* before. Only diminished chords and arpeggios.

    EDIT: That wasn't supposed to be sarcasm, by the way, I actually wanna know :)
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Ermmm - without an instrument in my hands - they just alternate half steps and whole steps - either startiing on a half step or a whole - but there are only 3 diminished scales, if you look at the actual notes.
  15. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    The half step-whole step cited above is the 1+2 scale I mentioned earlier. The basic construction is simple - play a note, up a fret, then skip a fret etc. It is one of the basic diminished scales. Since diminshed chords are built on minor thirds, an A diminished scale looks just like a C diminshed scale (and Eb, Gb). However, I would say that the statement that there are only 3 diminished scales is a bit misleading. There are a number of 5 tone (pentatonic), 6 tone (ragas), 7 tone, and 8 tone (e.g., the 1+2 and 2+1) diminished scales. But once again, while a lot of walking lines sound very scalar, they are built from chord tones and connecting notes. Leading tones are most often a tone that is a half step away from a chord tone of the upcoming chord. Most frequently this is employed going to the tonic, i.e., if the next chord is a C, and you are on the last note of the preceeding chord and moving up (tone-wise), then play a B, (when moving down a C# would be more likely). You can also lead into the 3rd and 5th and to an even lesser extent the 7th, 9th,... For the slap and groove styles of more electric jazz (such as you mentioned), you may find a lot of this appears and sounds more like the mixolydian mode (flatted, i.e., dominant 7th) for the bass lines. I would seriously consider learning to develop a good jazz walking line and solid funky grooves before I got caught up into some of the stuff that works so well for soloing. E.g., understanding chord substitions, such as b5 dom. 7ths, and the use of diminished or even the whole tone scale (which has always given me some trouble) apply more to soloing than to solid basslines. Since you still need to anchor the soloist (or vocalist, who in my way of thinking is another soloist), getting carried away with substitutions and diminished or augmented runs can make it more difficult for the soloist, rather than supplying them an anchor.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Say what?

    Do you take a breath when talking? ;)
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam


    Read Mark Levine's fuller explanation in "The Jazz Theory Book". But it's because the scales repeat at the minor third - they can start at any place, but then repeat, so there are only 3 unique ones.
  18. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    Hey,... I breathe occasionally :D
    BTW, I am familiar with the repeat based on the minor third making the idea that there are only 3 diminshed scales. But we are talking apples and oranges, so to speak. While there are only 3 different 1+2 scales (which also envelop the 2+1 scales) there are also different configurations of diminished (and of course what is commonly called half diminished) scales. Since I've tried to get away from scale theory and think more chordally, I am no longer as adept as I once was with the names of these arcane scales. Well, I remember a lot of the names, I just no longer remember which names go with which patterns :p
    (E.g., Javanese, Balinese, Ma Grama, altered Ma Grame, Sa Grama, Neopolitan, Raga Todi, ...)
    Pretty much all of them are subsets of the 1+2 scale anyway. But by that thought process, all scales are subsets of the chromatic scale.
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Try more often - it's very hard to read - it was only on the third or fourth attempt that I got any sense out of the previous post! ;)
  20. uhdum


    Oct 15, 2002
    Two common jazz scales are the dorian mode and the mixolydian mode. The Dorian mode, in the key of C, is simply a C major scale starting on D, while the Mixolydian would be a C major scale starting on G. These two scales are common in jazz.

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