Our Paul Gilbert masterclass was a great success, but boy did he cover a lot of ground! Here is a brief recap of the main points Paul went through to help remind you. A massive thank you to Matt, one of our tutors in Bristol, who took the time to write out these notes whilst enjoying the masterclass.
This is all about using that mixture of the major and minor sound in blues playing. Paul talks about targeting the major third in the dominant 7th chord to really bring out the major, and the minor 7th in the chord to bring out the minor sound. The lick Paul used on the night is shown below. The idea is you play the root, fifth and minor third over the IV chord and then repeat the same lick over the I chord but bend the minor third up a semitone to the major third, targeting the chord tone of the I chord.
The idea here is to add the minor third to the major pentatonic to create a blues scale and treat the minor third as a passing note. Using the minor 3rd as a passing note is hugely important as it has the same effect as the blues note in the minor pentatonic. It is essentially an 'out' note that you would to use to colour the scale, but not hang around on it! Here is the scale written out in an across the neck Paul Gilbert fashion!
This is a simple but effective idea. The major scale has 7 notes, but you don't always want to play all 7 notes, and in fact, by picking and choosing certain intervals you can create sounds that have more impact. Experiment with taking different intervals out of the minor pentatonic scale to discover how to emphasise certain notes and learn which you like best. For example, you might like to put together a scale that only features the root, second, fifth and seventh notes from the scale. This example scale could look like:
Taking the root out of this chord emphases the relative C major sound. This is a simple enough idea, but surprisingly difficult to do when you have drilled in those pentatonic shapes so well! Here is an example of the Am pentatonic in one octave without the A!
Similar to the last idea, Paul talked about removing the 5th as well. He mentioned the aim was to emphasise the fourth of the scale, which this does a great job of doing. Paul also discussed, at this point, the idea of position shifting to make the process easier. Notice in the tab below we group the scale into 4 note, easily playable chunks, which you then shift up the neck. This is classic Paul Gilbert, and it sounds great!
This part of the masterclass gets a little hazy for us, with vague memories of rock legend Paul Gilbert singing Bee Gee's tunes! However, the basic concept was all about adding the 2nd degree of the bass note of the chord. This effectively creates an 11th chord, but the key part is that the 2nd is in the bass. This is generally applied to the 4 chord of the key as well. For example, in the key of D you would have a G major chord with an A in the bass. Here are three ways to play this chord.
Here is another cool idea to spruce up basic major chords. You simply add the 5th note of the scale to the bass of the chord shape. Once again, this get's used in a lot of pop tracks and is typical for the bass player to cover. However, if you are playing a solo gig with no accompaniment, this will help massively. Here are three shapes to learn.
We very much hope that most of that write up is correct, and thank you once again to Paul and every single one of you for turning up and enjoying the event. Paul is a true musical inspiration, and even if you came away with nothing more than a huge urge to run home an pick up a guitar, it was all worth it!
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