Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #63479  by enardi
 Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:58 pm
What scales should I use for jamming and improvising?
 #63494  by jackr
 Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:27 am
If you want to jam like jerry, you will basically have to learn them all! Major scales, major and minor pentatonics, chromatic and of course modes.

If you are a beginner I have always found that starting with a basic minor pentatonic is best and then learn it in all positions.
 #63503  by myoung6923
 Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:23 am
If you are just talking about Jack Straw - then Jerry solos in E mixolydian. He uses the mixolydian mode the most - then major (ionian) and then dorian.

That's the meat & potatoes of Jerry's leads - of course all of the spices and flavorings are when he mixes modes & throws in the other ones - or diminished scales... But 85% of it all is the the first 3 that I mentioned.
 #63516  by jackr
 Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:54 am
Sorry, I didnt realize this was in the jack straw forum. I just clicked on new posts and had not noticed. DIdnt mean to give bum advise.
 #63538  by enardi
 Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:04 pm
Its cool. Thanks of for the advice I'l look into using the mixo during this song. It does appear that jerry uses the mixolydian scales alot as I have seen it in many of their songs- china cat, dark star, althea ect. Thanks for the help again in identifying the scales.
 #63541  by Billbbill
 Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:48 pm
Here's a little something more to chew on.

E mixolydian--------E-F#-Ab-A-B-C#-D-E over the E chord
A Ionian--------------------A-B-C#-D-E-F#-Ab-A over the A chord
D Lydian---------------------------D-E-F#-Ab-A-B-C#-D over the D & Bm chords

I don't want to complicate things but depending on where your head is this may help as well. As far as playing modes for this you can think as outlined above. These 3 modes, you'll notice, are all the same notes. It may help to think of these distinctions while soloing over the specific chords along with focusing on the blue colored notes as well. They are the triad notes that form the structure of the chord. I added the B note in D Lydian for the Bm chord. It'll help have the solo 'fit' and resonate within the chords. The most literal expression of this would be playing arpeggios or simply picking out the chords on your way through the progression. Beginning and ending phrasing on these colored notes while playing over the respective chords will give coherence

You can just think E mixo and keep the chord triads in mind while soloing if the whole mode thing seems confusing.
 #63544  by Billbbill
 Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:57 pm
Chuckles wrote:Thanks Bill! I finally know what blue notes are!
Aptly named Chuckles is a funny guy! 8)

Funny also that you mentioned that, as when I was picking a color and settled on blue (mostly cause it's easy to see) I hoped it wouldn't be confused with yee ole blue note.
 #63545  by Chuckles
 Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:14 pm
Circa 1986, blue note meant something entirely different, iirc. :shock:

Anyway, sorry for the hijack. Back to the excellent advice, which I am glad to say actually put musical terminology to the shit I've been piecing together by ear for lo these many years, but couldn't quite figure out why it may actually work (on the rare occasion it actually does). Love learning stuff here...
 #63596  by enardi
 Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:41 pm
Thanks BillbBill this more in depth information seems to make sense and should help immensly. You explained it quite well thanks again.