2 thoughts on “Guitar Scale Hacks: How to Jazz Up Any Scale & Start Improvising

  1. Hi Greg, many thanks for the article. I have a question for you: I do not play by “scales”, instead I’m used to think at chord tones, applicable tensions, and target notes. The problem is that if I want to target a note, say Eb when C is the tonality, when a play diatonic I will be probably arriving to Eb via the pattern C D Eb (a 134 pattern in you example) but I cannot replace that pattern with 4123 as you suggest, otherwise I will not reach Eb but land instead to D. So, sorry for being so lenghty, the question is: have you developed jazz-sounding patterns based on targeting a note?


  2. Hi Angelo, thanks very much for your question. You raise a good point here, as this article is more a basic introduction to the idea of approaching notes in a scale chromatically, however as you say to really start outlining the changes properly in your lines you need to be targeting chord tones rather than just thinking in scales.

    Having said that, you could still use these kinds of finger patterns and just ensure that the final note of the pattern is the note you are trying to target. E.g you could use a 4123 pattern with these notes: E, Db, D, Eb.

    Yes I know what you’re thinking… that the E natural and Db do not fit in the scale of C Minor, however they will act as passing tones to the target note of Eb, and jazz actually requires you to step outside the harmony here and there to sound hip.

    You could also use the 43241 pattern to target the E flat as well. In this case the notes would be Gb F E Gb Eb. If you played these notes without resolving to the Eb it would sound like you’re making mistakes, however because you are finishing on your target tone it would still sound acceptable to the ears and in fact quite interesting.

    So yes, this is a good point you’ve raised Angelo, to get to this level of understanding was outside the scope of the above article, but perhaps a follow-up would be useful for people interested in exploring this concept further. Cheers!

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