Lesson #12: Jazz Pentatonics Part 2 of 3

The PDF file for this lesson is here:

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Will Kriski’s transcription of the intro solo can be found here:


I know a lot of people are going to look at the following PDF file with all of its notes and scales and just bug out. Truthfully, this material isn’t that hard. In all honesty, I don’t really think about all of these formulas when I’m actually in the act of improvisation. The key to becoming proficient with this stuff is just to really concentrate on the fundamentals. Make sure that you can execute any pentatonic scale from any position in any direction. Once you have attained this level of proficiency, the ability to combine pentatonic scales on command will naturally follow.

I got serious about advancing my own knowledge of pentatonics when I discovered Jerry Bergonzi’s amazing book sometime ago. In the book, Mr. Bergonzi puts the student through a series of rigorous exercises and formulas that really stress the fundamentals. He also supplies some amazing play-a-long tracks that require the player to switch between scales rapidly. My approach was to take each track and run all of the scales through every position of the neck using every relevant pentatonic. I started by using only the root pentatonic and then slowly worked up to employing all three scales as described in this lesson. Once I achieved competence with these exercises, I moved on to standards. Starting with simple blues and modal forms, I made a point of being able to outline every chord in the form with only pentatonic scales. Soon after, I moved on to more complicated song forms. Usually, I would just focus on the bridge of a tune for some time before moving on to the A sections. Then, of course, I would move on to the rest.

Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time on this material. You know what, though? I feel like I have barely even scratched the surface. Honestly, I still work out of that Bergonzi book all the time. At this pace, I might even get to the end of it before the time I retire.Anyway, in the next lesson I will discuss pentatonics in relation to dominant 7th chords.

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