"Outside" notes


I love using outside notes as a way to wake my ears up from the vanilla notes. The way that I approach them is actually pretty methodical. I have no idea how Bruno teaches them, but there’s several ways to use them for a desired effect.
First, you need to do a setup by playing a line that makes your ears anticipate a target note. Once you’ve played the line for the setup, then you have to decide what effect that you’re going for. If you want to build suspense, add a flattened note either as a target or as an extra note prior to the target. If you want a bit of drama, go sharp. The key to outside notes is to use them as target notes. Using them in passing notes makes it sound like you f’ed up. Your brain is expecting a patterned resolution so using outside notes makes it go :man_shrugging: . This is the way that I approach them. Anyone have a different use?


I think Lynch does this the best with his flatted 5ths


Lynch is one of the guys who comes into mind when I think of set up targeted notes. That just seems ingrained in his playing. :sunglasses:


Copy and paste from a thread on this board “Target Notes”

The Bruno method is all about targeting notes. To start off with a simple 2,5,1 progression. Target the Root, 3rd, 5th 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, for your inside notes, then the outside notes. b3rd (major to minor… not only the root but a dominant 4 chord as well). b5 (Blue Note), #7 (in a minor scale), b9,#9…, #11th…Melodic minor sound…You target most of these outside notes over the dominant 5 chord…

Example" 2,5,1 in C…
Dminor7th, G7, Cmajor 7…
4 beats 4 beats 8 beats
_When the d minor comes around you get the chance to stay in C target the 2…(Damn that sounds like that ugly Dorian modal crap…Gee…You could even try to make the lick over Dminor a Dminor scale…) _

When the G7 comes around you get the chance to really goe wild. Remember…The G7 is the dominant for C major and Cminor #7…And if you think about it all the other Outside notes lead to various interesting sounds over the dominant. And then back to good old C…

Jimmy will assign you one of the inside notes, and then you spend about a month or 2 targeting that note in a line. All the way through all 12 notes. Never really explained it theoretically but thought getting the sound in your ear was the most important thing. Of course after endless hours of targeting inside and outside notes, your mind begans to connect the dots on a theoretical level, as you start seeing the patterns and the relationships…Of course you have to do in all 12 keys to move on to the next note…You’re actually learning theory without a long winded discussion and most important relating the sound over the progression…

Besides chord inversions, Closed chord voicings, Be Bop Heads, A gad of standards to learn and play, the above is his method of learning how to solo over chord progressions. And he is in into progressions.


It’s interesting to see his method. He preaches about getting rid of classifications such as modes but then assigns degrees and targeted specific outside notes. I think my method is simpler. :smile:




And he leads you down that path, without you even realizing it is the beauty of it. 1st it’s just running scales over a progression, and then how about an arpeggio there? Then after you get that down, How about raising the 7th? or flatting the 5. Then how about a +9 or -9. Where does you ear tell you to go? He takes you slowly through it and he’s such a great teacher, it’s almost devious the way he does it. :smile:


There are no “wrong” notes, just happy accident(al)s.


I can appreciate that. When I studied classical music, I noticed that the composers would always go outside of a given scale. They did it almost predictably for heightening anticipation or drama and it worked. That’s something that’s missing in a lot of today’s compositions. It’s also why people who only know the pentatonic minor box pattern can only paint in black and white, imo.

[quote=“ednrg, post:8, topic:6748”]There are no “wrong” notes, just happy accident(al)s.


Unfortunately there’s more unhappy accidents. :smile:


Being ignorant about music theory , I just cannot believe that modern guitar greats (1960s +) put detailed thoughts into the notes they play. I think they play what they feel at the moment or build on that moment with what sounds great to their ears.


That’s the thing about it… If you are musically talented, you aren’t limited by scales or rules. My comment is that musicians these days don’t seem to be able to think outside of the box. As talented as Yngwie is, his comment about never using outside notes sums it up.
I was just watching a video of a guy shredding at another forum. While he was technically good, every single line of his targeted the root note. It was the most boring waste of time but he seemed happy with himself.
It’s not a slight against those who don’t know theory. Sometimes it’s better not to have those limitations, as long as you have a good ear.


It’s amazing after all these years that I still find my Boss DR-880 as one of my most valuable training tools. I thought Boss would have updated it by now. :neutral_face:
Anyway, I’ve got a groove set up in Em and targeted the 2nd and 6th notes. Sounds like jazz/funk and I’m loving it. My wife isn’t digging it though. :smile: For some added drama, I’m adding a maj 3rd as an outside note. This is something that I would occasionally do but didn’t know why. Thanks to the Bruno video mentioning the outside notes I can finally hit those notes at will. Guthrie Govan hinted at it in one of his lessons but I think Bruno articulated the concept so that I could understand easier.


That’s great AC!!!

Getting those sounds in your ears is the 1st step towards improvisation. Ultra cool… :sunglasses:


[quote=“Tal Rules, post:13, topic:6748”]That’s great AC!!!

Getting those sounds in your ears is the 1st step towards improvisation. Ultra cool… :sunglasses:[/quote]

Thanks Tal! It feels like I’ve woken up after all these years. There’s a lot of extra notes that are readily available to me now. I’ve been testing it out a bunch with my drum/rhythm machine as it’s playing different bass lines in different keys. So far the results have kept me inspired. :thumbsup: Thanks again for posting the videos!


Another trick for outside playing, especially with the Pentatonic is to move it up or down a half step.

Get a groove going in Eminor or whatever. Play a lick in Eminor pentatonic. Now try playing the same lick in F minor pentatonic or Eb minor pentatonic-both over that same E minor groove. :thumbsup:

Here’s a good example:

How to sound like a pro using your pentatonic scale by thinking outside of the box


Cool trick to add a twist to those pentatonic licks

Paul Gilbert Clinic part 8 - tricks to play jazz_blues


Tod, CB, nice finds although Gilbert sounds like he’s hitting a hipster note. :smile:


And a lot of those “Outside” notes deal with the progressions and here’s the kicker the substituions that can be used in the progressions.

Example a standard blues in F:
F7, Bb7, C7

Check out the PDF from the site below to see some of the possible substitutions for those chords.

And even though the rest of the band may be playing the old vanilla 1,4,5 blues, If you know the subs for those chords, you can apply those “Outside” notes in your improvised line over the vanilla changes, and you get that “HIPSTER :smile:” sound. Try it…

I dig the sound of the tri-tone sub
Try this. Standard blues. We’ll pick an easy key. “A”…Standard blues…

A7 (4 beats), D7 (4 beats), A7 (8 beats), D7(8 beats), A7 (8 beats), E7 (4 beats), NOW THE TRI-TONE sub da, da!! Bb7 (4 beats) A7 8 beats and repeat. They call these little animals “Tri-Tone” subs because the substition used is exactly a tri-tone away from the dominant 7th chord you are playing. (Bb7 is a tri-tone…Flatted 5th away from the vanilla chord in the progression E7. )

Why does the sub work? Let’s look at the individual notes of both chords.
E7 = E, G#, B, D
Bb = Bb, D, F, Ab

Notice that the 3rd and the 7th of each chord are the same but swapped.

3rd and 7th of E7 = G# and D
3rd and 7th of Bb = D and Ab

We’ll just stop there and say that interval is important to the ear and can be tricked. The 3rd and 7th are also known as guide tones in some circles.

Now what are the “Outside” notes of the substituion? Bb and Ab!!!
Since the chord you are tritone subbing is E7 that would be the 5 chord of A major, or the 5 chord of A minor with a raised 7th. So if you’ve decided to play the blues in Aminor the sub let’s you solo with a -9 (Bb) and a raised 7th (Ab).

If you’re playing a major blues then when the E7 comes around you get the -9 sound.

When I’m soling over vanilla changes, I have practiced the subs enough that I know where those “Outside” notes fit in. Once you know the subs you can see how the Outside notes really aern’t that much outside.

And that’s the reason why a Blues is so damn challenging to solo once you get away from those pictures of the pentatonic box. Just 3 chords but they’re all Dominant 7th chords, whch brings you all these cool substituions, you choice of major or minor, etc, etc, etc…

That’s why I love the blues.

You can play those subs to death but a pretty cool sound to get in your ear.
That’s pretty much the tritone, stuff but there’s a few others. Like the chromatic turnaround, 2,5 turnaournd, etc…
Sounds complicated but it you’ll try a few of those subs in the PDF link on this page and play them, after awhile they’ll just stick in your ear.


“Jazzers…The Original Hipsters”


Thanks Tal! That’s a lot to absorb right now but I’ll play around with it when I get back. :sunglasses:

Hipsters are the new jazzers? :smile: