Major Pentatonic Scale Use

author: rhysy_boi date: 11/20/2003 category: soloing
rating: 8.5 / votes: 61 
So basically most soloing techniques are already covered by other articles in this section but I thought I'd add my 2 cents. For the sake of keeping this article simple I will write all the scales in C. My guitar teacher only ever taught me the minor pentatonic scale and tried to get me to make patterns when playing any kind of music and it does work if you can get this right but I found it hard because you'll go try hit a note in the scale and it will fit but sound shocking. The minor pentatonic scale is:
e---------------------------8-11------------------3-6------
b----------------------8-11-------------------4-6----------
g-----------------8-10--------------------3-5--------------
D------------8-10---------------------3-5------------------
A-------8-10----------------------3-6----------------------
E--8-11----------------------------------------------------
That's two versions. Basically you can move up and down the fret board with the same shapes, same notes just an octave or whatever higher. The modified version of this scale is the blues minor pentatonic scale where you add a passing note in there but be warned, never end a run or sequence on this note or the whole solo will sound terrible. The note is a flattened 5th note which is as follows:
e------------------------------8-11-------------------3-6--
b-------------------------8-11------------------4-6-7------
g-----------------8-10-11-------------------3-5------------
D------------8-10---------------------3-4-5----------------
A-------8-9-10--------------------3-6----------------------
E--8-11----------------------------------------------------
I was playing band at school and the two songs I was asked to solo in were 'You May Be Right' and 'Walking On Sunshine'. Now we all know the minor scale is a sad sound (and if you didn't you do now) and the major scale is happy 'hey let's jump around a laugh'. When I practiced for a lengthy time I found I would solo with the minor scale and sometimes sound good and sometimes sound good. I was finally enlightened by one of my fellow band members there was such a thing as a major pentatonic scale that we don't get taught at school. I tried and immediately found it sounded right! The simplest version of the major pentatonic scale goes like this:
e--------------------5-8-------------------0-3-------------
b----------------5-8-------------------1-3-----------------
g------------5-7-------------------0-2---------------------
D--------5-7-------------------0-2-------------------------
A----5-7---------------------3-----------------------------
E--8-------------------------------------------------------
It is basically a whole + semi (one and a half) tones below your key's minor pentatonic scale but you start on your key's note. Another form of soloing is through the actual scale of your key. I have never actually tried this except in punk music which I know works but it's worth a shot, hell if it sucks you can go back to pentatonic scales. But the whole point of this exercise was to teach you that if your solo's sound out of place in the minor pentatonic scale you can always try the major one. With soloing the number one rule you must always remember is BE CREATIVE. I have given you some guidelines but you can always break through like Hendrix did and mix minor and major scales together to get a strange effect on your solo's. I hope you've learnt something from this exercise and if you have an feedback email it to rhysy_boi@hotmail.com.
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