Watch the Rolling Stone online guitar lesson by Robben Ford from Rhythm Revolution
There's a lot you can do with the pentatonic scale. These things basically fall underneath your hands and that's why everyone plays in the key of E. You hand is almost built to play to the pentatonic scale, you even have five fingers. I do that a lot. I'm not afraid to play those fourths instead of the straight up pentatonic. I don't know if it sounds good to you, but I'm good with it. Basically, it's the same thing in the key of E. It falls very naturally to the hands. There's a lot in blues playing that I refer to as bad technique because you're just pushing notes around with your finger. Once you really understand this pentatonic scale, and I've used this analogy many times before - it's like I'm fingerpainting with a blue color on a white page. Of course we have this nice rhythm here which is reminiscent of "Poppa Was A Rolling Stone". Harmonically, this flirts between major and minor. Sometimes there will be a regular seven chord, but if you play an F nine the blues has that major third, minor third, and then I got into that minor four voicing so - seventh chord, minor seventh chord, minor ninth chord. Harmonically, it changes from something hardcore and raw to something pretty and sad to something rocking, so all kinds of variations are going on so don't be afraid to take a left turn on a one chord. One chord makes it a lot easier to do that than if you're playing a whole lot of chords because then you have to be disciplined and precise. But with one key, it's open season - major/minor. I'm playing with all those things and again, you can do that with your finger or a pick. The minor nine voicing which I got into, I played something just a moment ago, this is an A flat major seven, E flat, G flat with an F in the root. It's F minor nine, B flat triad, A flat triad, G minor triad, F minor triad. Again, this is like the white keys of the piano going up and down, I'm just playing the scale. If you think of it in a musical way, just harmonize the major scale, just up and down the neck of the guitar. You have to believe in the music. You play it as a melody. Right down the major scale, as I say the white keys of the piano, the chord voicings are all a part of the same scale, you're just playing triads up and down the neck of the guitar, in the proper key of course. The jam is a rhythmic harmonic jam, I did some riffing of course. Pretty pentatonic. I played with Miles Davis for a period of time and there were things he did in the key of F that I picked up on which I liked, the tiniest little riff, just a little note. It's not new, but I thought it was great when he played it. So I played something similar. So just a little riff, a variation on a theme. Little themes, but just constantly, different this time, and the next. Four bar phrases. They don’t have to be long or completely unique but just evolving, and changing, and as the energy starts to rise people start digging what the other guy is playing and they themselves start to play. I'm playing very standard major and minor chords right now. Nothing that hasn’t been used by everybody for years and years, but what will happen is little changes in how I use the chord. You can place them on top of the other. This is B flat over F seven. You get a triad resolving, I’m bringing the F up, and the triad is going down. It's an example of counter motion. That's a G minor seven triad. Little things like that. There’s nothing uniquely different harmonically, you just get a sense of inner motion in there. There's a lot you can get out of a pentatonic scale, you can play C minor pentatonic over the F. That gives you a different quality in comparison to the F minor pentatonic. So harmonically things have changed a bit and yet you're still displaying a pentatonic scale on a different key. It wont work on B flat minor pentatonic. Again, we're just basically tossing a salad here of single lines, rhythms, chords, and the interplay.