Chuck Berry scales?

Chuck Berry scales?

Postby st. stephen » Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:02 pm

So as we all know Berry was a big influence for garcia, so I thought i ask here...
what scales does he use? It's kind of the blues scale, but with other notes that give this rock n'roll sound...
for example:
(/) Slide Up () Slide Down (h) Hammer On (p) Pull Off (b) Bend (r) Release (v) Vibrato


It's the A-blues scale but with those 2 or three notes added , why are they added? :roll:
thanks for any advice.....
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Postby bodiddley » Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:06 pm

My guess is that it's a hybrid(there's that word again) of the Major and minor pentatonic scales, some thing alot of good players employ. The trick is knowing what notes from the two scales work together well.
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Postby CaptainTrips » Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:35 pm

Thats a tough question, but I would have to say, that for the most part what Berry is doing is just concentrating on the basic minor pentatonic and blues scales. Another thing that is engrained in blues music and might explain some of those extra notes is the integration of the major and the minor pentatonic scales. So in a lick where he is focusing on a minor pent or blues pattern some added notes from the major pent scale can really add some color. It could also be possible that he is adding just some regular old chromatics or chord tones.

here are some examples of integrating the major and the minor pent scales for some interesting outcomes
the notes with the M under them are the major pent notes.
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Also, after doing all this, I just thought, hey it could just be passing tones. Passing tones are notes that arent in a scale, for example the minor pent. They are so called because you often just breeze by them for added touch and never to resolve a lick, as it would make it off key.
The main passing tones used are (b2, 2, b5, 6 and 7)
P stands for the passing tone
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Hope this helps.
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Postby Chief5959 » Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:20 pm

In hail Hail rock n roll keith Richards talks about how Chuck took/developed many of his licks from ones he heard his piano player Jimmy Johnston. That would explain the odd keys like Bflat and the jazzier notes like passing tones mentioned above. Certainly it is a jazzier style that what you would get from listening to Delta blues players. Also T Bone Walker was a tremendous influence on Chuck and passing tones and shifting scale runs were a big part of his playing.
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Postby mrMix » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:28 pm

If you listen - he also uses lot of double stops in his riffs. I agree with the hybrid Maj/Min scales.
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Postby XxRouninxX » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:08 pm

i dont know alot about chuck berry's playin (not a big listener, but a fan), but you guys got me thinkin about that scale mixing stuff.

if your major pent is made up of

R - 2 - 3 - 5 - 6

and your minor pent is made of

R - b3 - 4 - 5 - b7

now look at these blues chords
dom 7th
1 - 3 - 5 - b7

dom 9th
1 - 3 - 5 - b7 - 9 which is the same as:
1 - 3 - 5 - b7 - 2 (almost the same ;)

dom 11th
1 - 3 - 5 - b7 - 9 - 11 which is almost the same as
1 - 3 - 5 - b7 - 2 - 4

dom 13th same thing just added 13/6

so now you see in a "pentatonic" rock song, you can have some chords that have notes withing your KEY, but not your scale.. this is just redundancy since someone already said find the chord tones not int he scale, but anyways...

of course these are just some examples, but this just illustrates how sharing notes between the two pentatonic scales can liven up a solo, and maybe help you find that certain je ne sais quois about chucks style
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