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Author Topic: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues  (Read 16990 times)

Beth

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minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« on: March 05, 2011, 11:07:24 PM »
In the major scale key of C the minor 6 is A minor, so you can play the A minor pentatonic scale over a C major progression, correct? 

Now what about minor scales. I understand that with the minor scale the 3rd note of the scale is the major third, so if we are looking at the A minor pentatonic, the third note would be C#, correct?

I have a diagram of this in E minor which shows box one of E minor pentatonic and the G major pentatonic scale are the same notes with different roots - E minor pentatonic root is on the first note and G major pentatonic is on the 2nd note. 

I don't know if I have been playing notes in the G major pentatonic when playing the A minor pentatonic when improvising.  I assume I would just be bending and such at different places.

Are there any other scales that I can use when playing blues? 

robert

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 01:10:16 AM »
First thing you asked - yes. You can also play A natural minor (aeolian) - same notes as C major scale.

The third note of the minor scale is not the major third. It's the MINOR third. That would be C.

Any time you have a major scale, you can always go down 3 frets (1 1/2 whole steps) and play the natural minor - they have the same notes. You can also view it as the minor scale is the 6th mode of the major scale - aeolian.

I am working on a DVD that will explain all the 7 modes and how you can use them. Should be ready later this summer I am hoping.

There are a lot of things you can do over a blues. For example, you can use both A minor AND A major pentatonics when playing a blues in A. However, you can only use the A major pentatonic over the I chord (A) - it doesn't work over the IV chord (D). You will have to use A minor pentatonic over that chord. For the V chord (E), you can use B minor pentatonic, or E Mixolydian. There's lots more that can be done, but that's for another DVD or individual webcam lesson.

Let me know if that helped.

Beth

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011, 02:33:01 PM »
It's complicated!  Well yes it helps and major pentatonic only works over the I chord.   Well I play the minor pentatonic scale the most for blues..mostly the first box, and box under it, and a little out of the other boxes...learned those yrs ago (gave up in frustration though)  I am just trying to figure out the next step what I can play that might make my leads more interesting. I need to do this out in the subway/street - I did get your bar blues vol 1.  Since notes are same in major and minor pentatonic except for root I don't know if I have played major pentatonic or not.

I have a sheet that says this for minor keys but this is with all 7 notes

i            ii            III                iv               v             VI          VII
Am      Bdim        C                 Dm             Em          F            G

So when I said the major third I meant the III in this scale.

The pentatonic scale is five notes.

A         C           D            E            G     

Do you still number them the same as above?   

Maybe it is easier to just play the damn guitar than try to understand all this.   LOL


Beth

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011, 04:17:19 PM »
Thanks....interesting...play B minor over the E chord....that's why sometimes I go to play out of the scale and it works and I don't know why...I will try to remember this and incorporate this.

At this point I am at a basic place....I am determined that this time I will not give up on lead guitar.

Beth

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2011, 04:20:26 PM »
Robert it did help very much thank you!!   

 I just want to know that we were talking about the same 3rd degree of the scale....In the pentatonic are you using the 3rd degree in a five note scale or the 3rd degree in a 7 note scale?

In a pentatonic scale do they change the numbering system or use the original numbers from the 7 note scale?  Thanks!  Sorry for the dumb questions...trying to piece together what I have read so far.

robert

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2011, 11:26:33 AM »
Hmm, this stuff is sometimes hard to explain in writing. I am available for web cam lessons, if you would like a half hour explanation of all this.

To try and be clear: the major scale has 7 notes. You can refer to them by numbers (scale degrees or intervals). C major scale: 1 is C, 2 is D, and son on.

If you build a chord from D, you get a D minor. That chord can be referred to as the "2", when you play a progression in the key of C. That's the Nashville system.

Can also refer to the C major pentatonic notes with the numbers (intervals). C is 1, D is 2, E is 3, G is 5, A is 6. These numbers are the intervals as they are in the C major scale. Knowing the intervals (or scale degrees) are what matters the MOST when you play.

Remember the C major scale has all the notes of the C major pentatonic, but not the other way around (pentatonic scale = 5 notes).


Beth

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2011, 04:44:47 PM »
Thanks Robert, I understand most of that. I understand the major scale very well (I, IV, V chords are major, II, III, VI are minor, VII is diminished.

Where I get confused is when we talk about the Minor pentatonic scale and how those 5 notes are numbered...do these 5 notes come from the 7 note minor scale below?

I found minor scale theory for minor keys and formula for that scale which is  say
key of A    A minor,  B diminished,  C major,  D minor, E minor, F major, G major. 

In the minor scale above the third degree is a C major so that must mean the minor pentatonic 5 note scale comes from the 7 note minor scale. 8)

This is what I get for wanting to understand what I'm playing. LOL

robert

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2011, 06:24:59 PM »
Yes, don't call the numbers of the pentatonic scale 1,2,3,4,5 because that is going to hurt you in the long run.

In C major Pentatonic:  C is 1, D is 2, E is 3, G is 5, A is 6
In A minor Pentatonic (in relation to the C major scale): C is 1, D is 2, E is 3, G is 5, A is 6
Same thing! Now that is only correct if we are playing in the key of C.

If we play an A minor song, where the song has the A minor chord as its focus, then for the A Minor Pentatonic -  A is 1, C is 3, D is 4, G is 5.

A minor is a MODE of the major scale. The 6th mode, Aeolian. Do you understand all the modes?

Everything I have talked about here in the last few posts is all related to C major scale. However, playing B minor pentatonic over E7, that's a different thing. That would mean we can look at it as using notes from the D major scale, because B minor is the 6th mode of D major, Aeolian.

Sometimes going outside the key of the song is a cool thing.

My advice to blues players is to focus on the CHORD NOTES. If you do that, you can do any kind or regular pentatonic stuff, except you ADD chord tones for the IV and V chords as well.

Does it make sense?

It is hard to explain in words.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 06:28:41 PM by robert »

Beth

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2011, 02:27:28 AM »
Yes it makes sense now. Thank you!  Yes I kinda understand what modes are...haven't played them in a long time but I know what they are.  8)

BogHead

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2011, 06:10:15 PM »
Beth, modes are inversions of the major scale. Looking at the C major scale you can start on any note in the scale as your tonic (root) and their functions will differ. It's because of the intervals between the notes.

For example:

C D E F G A B C = I ii iii IV V vi vii- I

A B C D E F G A = i II III iv v VI VII- i




DetroitBlues

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2011, 01:04:40 PM »
While the whole theory is beyond what I plan on learning, I can say that playing the major scale or relative minor scale over whatever key you're playing gives it a happier tone to the song.  Makes it not so bluesy.  Kind of like some of BB Kings stuff... Best thing to do is just try it out and pay attention to the root notes and chord progressions....

pygmalion

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 05:59:50 PM »
All this Minor Pentatonic/Major Pentatonic stuff came together for me the day I realized that the scales shapes are exactly the same Ė that is, the first scale position of the major pentatonic is the same as the second scale position of the minor pentatonic just moved back one scale position. For instance, the first position of the A minor pentatonic starts on the root note A, the second position starts on the note C. If you simply take that second minor position shape and move it back so it starts on A, youíre playing the first major pentatonic position. Move the third position minor scale shape back to the second position spot and youíre playing the second position major shape. And so on. Just be aware that the beginning note of each position beyond the first changes as you move from minor to major. Iím probably explaining this badly, but if you just have a look at a fretboard diagram, then start comparing the minor and major scale shapes, youíll see it right away. Itís very handy. If youíre running a bluesy lick in minor pentatonic, you can slip straight into the major pentatonic for a few notes, then drop straight back into minor and barely have to move your hand. I think Clapton does that sort of thing quite a bit. Like I said, very handy and you donít have to learn gobs of theory. And, as the major shape contains the II, III, and VI, and drops the bIII, IV, and bVII of the minor scale, it fits just fine over 7 and 9 chords. And with the Root and V in common itís pretty easy to slip seamlessly from minor to major and back again. Now that Iíve figured all this out, I just need to learn to use it effectivelyÖ As DetroitBlues pointed out though, lots of major riffs will cause you to lose that beautiful bluesy dissonance. 

pygmalion

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Re: minor pentatonic scale and major pentatonic in blues
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2011, 08:38:29 PM »
An added note, like Robert said, be careful over the IV and V chords - some of those major notes can sound a little rank. The Rule, which I'm sure you know already: if it sounds good, it's "right," if it sounds like crap, don't do it again. Another cool thing to try is switching the penta scales to the same root as the chord over the IV and V. If you're smooth, it sounds pretty sweet. I'm definitely not smooth, but I've heard other people do it who are.