A Book Of Five Strings - online tutorial

Strategies for mastering the art of old time banjo.

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I use the blues scale as a guide for what I can get away with. If I'm playing melody in a standard scale I can use the blues scale to find a sharped fourth or a flat seventh to give it a little flavor.
How you use it is up to you, but do take a moment to figure out how your movable patterns can be converted into blues scales. It's good fretboard practice and it might come in handy later on.
Pentatonic Scales
Pentatonic scales are like blues scales in that people like to dredge up the subject in conversation. In the context of playing the banjo they can be useful for working up a more streamlined scale pattern. To play a major pentatonic scale choose the 1 st , 2 nd , 3 rd , 5 th , 6 th , & 8 th notes of any major scale. To play a minor pentatonic scale choose the 1 st , 3 rd , 4 th , 5 th , 7 th & 8 th notes of any minor scale.
The result is a fairly compact moveable scale that might come in handy. Experiment with it and see what you can come up with.
Modes
As I noted in an earlier chapter, major and minor scales are created by choosing a series of notes out of the chromatic scale in a pattern of whole and half steps. These whole and half steps are dictated by the mode you are working in.
Up to this point we have limited our discussion to major and minor modes. Now we are going to take a quick look at the whole and half step patterns in other modes.
Mode:
Steps
Ionian/Major
1
1
1/2
1
1
1
1/2
Mixolydian
1
1
1/2
1
1
1/2
1
Lydian
1
1
1
1/2
1
1
1/2
Dorian
1
1/2
1
1
1
1/2
1
Aeolian/Minor
1
1/2
1
1
1/2
1
1
Phrygian
1/2
1
1
1
1/2
1
1
locrian          1/2 1 1 1/2 1 1
1
As you may have already noticed, the major and minor modes are also known as the Ionian and Aeolian modes.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III