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Old 02-02-2013, 12:31 PM   #1
ajepifoyt
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Question Minor pent. scale question

I'm a bigginer so sorry if this is a dumb question.
I'm practicing the minor pent. blues scale and positions in mainly the key of A and E.
I noticed on position 1 that the scale starts off on the root note but changes after that and position 2 starts on a different note.
I have the positions memorized up to the 12th fret on my acoustic but my question is, how do you know (besides by memory) that your still playing in a particular key?
Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:46 PM   #2
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Are you on a note that's in key? If you don't actually know how to identify notes that are in key then you should learn theory properly.

Also: listen to the sound of what you're playing. Does it sound right? If yes then it is, whether it's 'in key' or not.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:40 PM   #3
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Your goal is to get to the point where you play and forget that you're playing a particular scale shape - you're simply playing notes up and down the neck. As Zaphod mentioned, we want to get to the level, where we play and know which intervals are going to sound good and which ones aren't. When I play lead, I really do not focus on playing a particular scale shape. In fact, I frequently mix notes from different scales, to obtain the sound I'm looking for. How is that done? Well, I'm listening to the song and playing what I feel will sound good. A good lead player listens to the other band members - not only their vocals, but their playing and feeds from it, or draws inspiration. If I'm stuck playing a fixed pattern of notes, it's a little hard for me to be creative.

So, it's fine for you to work on your scale shapes and I encourage it, but you need to work on breaking outside of those scale shapes - extend them up and down the neck. Figure out which notes you're playing. Learn the notes on the neck of your guitar. See how all of this ties in together?
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:33 PM   #4
Drew-A
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A lot of it is memorization! And you'l have to go by the relationship of the notes to the key/root (regardless of which note you start on).

For example in an A pentatonic the note C is a minor third, independent of where the note appears in the particular pattern. So in the root postion (A, C, D, E, G), it's the 2nd note, in the 2nd postion (C, D, E, G, A), it's the 1st note, in the 3rd position (D, E, G, A, C), it's the 5th note, and so on.... But it's still always the minor 3rd of the root A.

Last edited by Drew-A : 02-02-2013 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:45 PM   #5
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Guys.. waaaaay tooo complicated!

Worst thing you can do is give a beginner a **** ton of information that is unlikely to be digested.



Key thing to remember: Just because you are playing a note from the correct scale in accordance to the key of the song or the chord you are playing ontop of, doesnt mean the note that you are playing in particular sounds nice ontop of the chord.
The scales are just a guideline to say "HEY! These notes might work!".

Easiest place to start is with 12 bar blues:

If the chords/backing goes A, D, E, then the A minor Pentatonic is a good guideline to work from. The different positions of a minor pentatonic start on different notes from the root but still contain the same notes, thus you can travel up and down the fretboard for added interest. So position 2 ontop of the track will still be A minor Pentatonic. Notice if you play the starting note of each of the positions one after the other, you are simply just playing position 1 on the same string.

You then figure out what notes sound good where. Get an ear for the music, figure out some tasty licks and jam! When I first started learning I found a online blues radio station and just jammed for hours to each track as they came on (figuring the root from ear).

Work from that and then you can start sparkling things up more.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:49 PM   #6
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Thank fellas. What I'm trying to explain are the 5 positions you can play on the min. pent.
Following these positions, the 1st pos. always starts on the root note of whatever key your playing in. Pos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 start on a different note.
For example: The key E using the first pos starts out with an open E (E, G, A, B, D, E, G, A, B, D, E, G).
Know, playing in the same key (E), and using position 2, the 1st note that starts in that pos. is G. I was wonderdering what makes this remain in the key of E when position 2 starts on the note G?

Last edited by ajepifoyt : 02-02-2013 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajepifoyt
Thank fellas. What I'm trying to explain are the 5 positions you can play on the min. pent.
Following these positions, the 1st pos. always starts on the root note of whatever key your playing in. Pos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 start on a different note.
For example: The key E using the first pos starts out with an open E (E, G, A, B, D, E, G, A, B, D, E, G).
Know, playing in the same key (E), and using position 2, the 1st note that starts in that pos. is G. I was wonderdering what makes this remain in the key of E when position 2 starts on the note G?



That's an easy one. Even though you're starting on the G, you're still playing the notes from the key of E.

Let's take the key of C major for a second. No flats and no sharps. If I play the scale starting on a C and ending on a C, it's clear that I'm playing C major. Now, let's take the same notes, but I'm going to start on the A. I'm still playing them in order, but now I'm going from A to A. Still the exact same notes from C major, but I've used a different starting point as a reference. In fact, this is referred to as the relative minor. If you really want to get crazy, I can use the same notes, but start on a different one, such as the G. We're still playing all the notes from the C major scale, but we're just starting at different notes. We're changing the intervallic relationships when we do this. Wanna see some guys get bent out of shape? By doing what I've just explained, we're actually into modal playing. Some of the guys on here get all bent out of shape, when we start talking modes. Don't let that worry you.

Hope that helped you.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajepifoyt
Thank fellas. What I'm trying to explain are the 5 positions you can play on the min. pent.
Following these positions, the 1st pos. always starts on the root note of whatever key your playing in. Pos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 start on a different note.
For example: The key E using the first pos starts out with an open E (E, G, A, B, D, E, G, A, B, D, E, G).
Know, playing in the same key (E), and using position 2, the 1st note that starts in that pos. is G. I was wonderdering what makes this remain in the key of E when position 2 starts on the note G?


Ignore anything about modes. Including what the guy above posted; to say that just because you're playing from a different physical position or note means you're getting anywhere near modal playing is just plain wrong and for you will introduce nothing but confusion. Looks like KG6_Steven is possibly trolling but seriously, ignore the word modes and anyone who uses it without irony until you know enough to know when they know what they're talking about. I wish I had.


The simple answer to your question is actually: it depends.

The key you're playing in is defined not by the notes you use but where the thing you're playing resolves to, that is which note or chord feels like 'home'. This is much easier to think about when you're playing with some kind of harmonic backing, like a backing track of some kind.

Now when it comes to the notes you said (E, G, A, B, D, ignore the repeats because they don't matter in theory terms) if you play those notes over a backing in E minor, that is one that resolves to the E minor chord, you are playing in E minor. If you play those notes over something that resolves to G major then you're in the key of G major.

There are, of course, ways to really complicate this when you get in to non-diatonic (non-scale-based) chord progressions or playing acapella but that is the heart of it really. What key you're in is basically defined by the backing, not by what you do as a soloist.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajepifoyt
I'm a bigginer so sorry if this is a dumb question.
I'm practicing the minor pent. blues scale and positions in mainly the key of A and E.
I noticed on position 1 that the scale starts off on the root note but changes after that and position 2 starts on a different note.
I have the positions memorized up to the 12th fret on my acoustic but my question is, how do you know (besides by memory) that your still playing in a particular key?
Thanks for the help.

I to am learning scales I find them easy as long as your get the first note of the scale A note for A minor or C for C major, the one that I find hard is I think its the 3 pattern D E - G A - C D - E G -D E In stead of just learning the pattern learn all the notes in the pattern from the scale and start on the first note of the scale when using it to sole .
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:47 PM   #10
ajepifoyt
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Thanks for the feedback fellas. I think learning these few positions up to the 12th fret on my acoustic has been essential in learning how to put together beginner riffs even in small steps for now. I'm particularly fond of the A and E minor blues pent. Most all the notes from these two keys can be combined for a good riff later as I get more familiar with the layout of the fretboards notes.
I checked out some utube video lessons on Trower and Floyd and they use these 2 blues scales quite a bit.
Lots of great help here.
It's appreciated, Thanks
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:21 AM   #11
Drew-A
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajepifoyt
Thank fellas. What I'm trying to explain are the 5 positions you can play on the min. pent.
Following these positions, the 1st pos. always starts on the root note of whatever key your playing in. Pos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 start on a different note.
For example: The key E using the first pos starts out with an open E (E, G, A, B, D, E, G, A, B, D, E, G).
Know, playing in the same key (E), and using position 2, the 1st note that starts in that pos. is G. I was wonderdering what makes this remain in the key of E when position 2 starts on the note G?


I think the previous responses have answered your question. It seems there's some confusion on your part about what constitutes being in a certain key/playing a certain scale. It really doesn't matter what note you start on (or end on, for that matter).

The reason there are different postions for the pentatonic scale (or any other scale), is so you can play the notes (of the scale) all over the fingerboard and in different octaves.

For example, if you're playing an A pentatonic and starting at the 12th fret (4th postion), the notes will be E, G, A, C, D, and so on - which are the same notes as the 1st postion at the fifth fret (A, C, D, E, G, ...), just with a different starting point. So you would still be playing an A pentatonic.

It will be helpful to think of the notes in relation to the key/scale, rather than where they physically fall on the neck and which note you start or end on.

If you're playing the 1st position A pentatonic descending the note would be C, A, G, E, D, C, etc. down to the A at the 5th fret. So you started on the note C but are still playing in A. This is how it works over the entire fingerboard. Make sense?

Last edited by Drew-A : 02-04-2013 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:24 AM   #12
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Try using one octave min pent patterns, starting from each individual finger, and then visualise them from all the different versions of your tonic root on the fretboard.
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