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#1
I'm looking for some input as to how you guys go about using the major pentatonic scale in a rock context. I am interested mainly in classic rock and a little metal, and I'm aware that the minor pentatonic is used extensively in the classic rock setting. I've gotten decent using the minor pentatonic scale but I am terrible with the major pentatonic. I haven't used it alot and can't get that "rockin" pentatonic sound out of it that I can with the minor pentatonic. It just sounds too much like the major scale when I use it- if that makes any sense at all. I just can't seem to get that raw pentatonic sound out of it when soloing over a major chord progression. I'm thinking that I just haven't devoted enough time to practice with it yet but i don't know. Any tips and advice are appreciated. Thanks
#2
Well my guitar teacher have said that not to use in the same way as the blues or minor pentatonic scale, but to try and create a melody from it or a hook rather than runs on it
#3
Check out Allman Brothers.
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#5
Rock sound that tends towards sounding blues-ish will tend to use minor pentatonic over
a major, but more than likely it will also be incorporating major or major pentatonic
as well. Probably you just have to get used to the sound of major pent. It's used a
lot in country. Try using the minor pent and adding the major 3rd to it -- that would
be a significant step to major pent.

As to using the minor pent of the relative minor... bzzzt. That just gives you the major
pent.
#7
Quote by edg
Rock sound that tends towards sounding blues-ish will tend to use minor pentatonic over
a major, but more than likely it will also be incorporating major or major pentatonic
as well. Probably you just have to get used to the sound of major pent. It's used a
lot in country. Try using the minor pent and adding the major 3rd to it -- that would
be a significant step to major pent.

As to using the minor pent of the relative minor... bzzzt. That just gives you the major
pent.
This

Rock is derived from the blues and blues improvising has alot of almost altered dominant licks, basically meaning they use minor pentatonics over major progressions with alot of b5s(AKA, the 'blues' scale) .

Country uses alot of major pentatonics though.
#8
Ok thanks for the replies. I have heard that alot of classic rockers played minor pentatonic over major progressions but I can't seem to get that to sound right either. As for my first question of how to use the major pentatonic, take the freebird solo for example. I know the song is in G major, so I assumed the solo would be in G major also. I also assumed that the solo was major pentatonic. The solo has that classic rock "rockin" sound , the rock sound that I am unable to get out of the major pentatonic.

Also, I just checked out the solo to the "santeria" solo. I've never heard it before but after listening to it, that's pretty much what I'm going for. You can tell its in a major key, but it has that pentatonic grit to it.
Last edited by rockadoodle at Nov 25, 2008,
#10
Quote by Declan87
Freebird uses the G minor pentatonic


Oh ok lol, that answers part of my question. I still can't manage to get my major pentatonic to sound like the santeria solo. Guess it's just more practice.
#11
It depends how you're using it - are you actually consciously using the major pentatonic, or are you just playing your minor pentatonic shapes three frets down?
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#12
Quote by steven seagull
It depends how you're using it - are you actually consciously using the major pentatonic, or are you just playing your minor pentatonic shapes three frets down?


I guess you could say im using the "shape" except I don't start 3 frets down. If i want to play in c major, i use the a minor "shape" but start on the C note. I'm still not fluent enough to solo just in terms of notes. I still need the boxes for navigation at my present skill level.
#13
You probably need to be a little more aware of the functions of the notes within the scale - with the minor pentatonic you have the root, minor 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th. The intervals between the root and minor third and also between the 5th and 7th are good to paly with and accent to bring out the "minor pentatonicness"

With the major pentatonic you have the root, 2nd, major 3rd, 5th and 6th and it helps to make a point of working that major third interval into things. It's also important to remember where your root note is - if you're used to playing the minor pentatonic shapes then you can often find yourself resolving to the wrong note.
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#14
Quote by steven seagull
You probably need to be a little more aware of the functions of the notes within the scale - with the minor pentatonic you have the root, minor 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th. The intervals between the root and minor third and also between the 5th and 7th are good to paly with and accent to bring out the "minor pentatonicness"

With the major pentatonic you have the root, 2nd, major 3rd, 5th and 6th and it helps to make a point of working that major third interval into things. It's also important to remember where your root note is - if you're used to playing the minor pentatonic shapes then you can often find yourself resolving to the wrong note.


While I believe this to be 100% correct, I just don't see how it's humanly possible to accomplish this, especially during some of the faster solos. Some classic rock solos are pretty searing.
#15
Quote by rockadoodle
While I believe this to be 100% correct, I just don't see how it's humanly possible to accomplish this, especially during some of the faster solos. Some classic rock solos are pretty searing.


Well, it really comes down in the end to "knowing" them in the shapes and patterns
that you are using to access notes on the fretboard. You might "come up for air"
every now and then, or specifically think of targeting a certain note, but mostly its
not working at the explicit level of thinking about a note name or even a scale degree.
To get to that degree of knowing is mostly a simple matter of repetition. Repetition in
practice of scale forms and concepts and musical ideas/songs. It may take some time
for the repetition to sink in, but it will. What seems humanly impossible today, can
suddenly seem simple and possible tomorrow.
#16
I just don't see how it's humanly possible to accomplish this, especially during some of the faster solos.


Why not? I'm always aware of what I'm playing. Even if I'm playing a rapid passage, I'm always keeping in mind "alright, I've got to get up to A...the raised sixth and seventh lead better, I'll go with those...now I'm heading back down...I guess I'll pause a while on the dominant...better flatten that sixth again".
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#17
Quote by Archeo Avis
Why not? I'm always aware of what I'm playing. Even if I'm playing a rapid passage, I'm always keeping in mind "alright, I've got to get up to A...the raised sixth and seventh lead better, I'll go with those...now I'm heading back down...I guess I'll pause a while on the dominant...better flatten that sixth again".


Hmm, I'll attribute it to my lack of experience then(1yr).
#18
Believe me, it is possible to target notes, and be aware of which notes are in a given key, and where they are on your fretboard. It's probably best to master the major scale first, though, and all of the modes. Once you get that down, then start moving into more exotic scales.

Also, be SURE that you learn how to construct chords. This is very important, and playing arpeggios can really add some spice to your playing when it's getting kinda dull.
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#19
Quote by rockadoodle
Hmm, I'll attribute it to my lack of experience then(1yr).
Ha, archeo's making it sound harder than what it is. The mind's an amazing machine, which works alot faster than you'd expect. When you start applying and thinking using theory to what you're playing, it will come naturally within a few months.
#20
Quote by rockadoodle
While I believe this to be 100% correct, I just don't see how it's humanly possible to accomplish this, especially during some of the faster solos. Some classic rock solos are pretty searing.

And do you think they all played those solos in one take, with no preparation?

edg explains this far better than me, but it's all about relativity. To properly understand a scale and know when and how to use it you need to know the notes and intervals it contains and more importantly how it actually sounds. Not just the scale either, you need to know how those intervals sound as well.

However, actually using a scale is where shapes and patterns come into play, and in practical terms once you're on the fretboard you probably only need to actually recognise your root not as long as you can locate the relevant intervals from your root note. You can probably already locate the octaves of any given note pretty easily without even thinking about it - if you can't then you need to start learning. From there it's just all about the little patterns spawned from the root note.

The most important thing you need to do is listen more, this kind of knowledge comes from experience. However, if you've been focussing on the mechanics of the guitar then you won't really see how it can be done. For everything you learn make a point of learning what it actually sounds like and eventually you'll start recognising things and it will enable you to use them in your own solos.

For example, this lick....

E|-----------5-
B|----------5--
G|--7-b-(9)----
D|-------------
A|-------------
E|-------------


...and its variations appear in tonnes of solos. Now, you probably know how that sounds without even playing it - probably because it so often used and you've subconsciously remembered what it sounds like. You just need to do more of the same, learning how things sound - you just have to make a bit more of a conscious effort with things that are less obvious or less common.
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#22
Technically they're the same thing - you're just not using all the notes.
Actually called Mark!

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#24
Quote by Rasputin92
No. The pentatonic has no tension and release, it's a kid scale.

Says the kid
Actually called Mark!

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#25
The biological age is not neccesarily the same as the spiritual one. My eyes are red from reading and yes the pentatonic scales where the first we played at kindergarden and the point was it is impossible to make tonal mistakes since their can't be tension, semitones or tritones. Poor chinese.
#26
^nothing wrong with that. It means beginners can focus on their phrasing instead of which note to choose, which is great because phrasing is so much more important than note choice in improvising. Regardless, if you get bored of pentatonics, add some accidentals in.
Quote by steven seagull
Says the kid
Something makes me doubt he was born in 1999 (meaning his 9 years old or so). I think he might be 16 though (judging from his username). 16 is not a kid. For some, 16 is a fully grown (mentally) adult.
#27
Meh, I still class 16 as a kid...unless you're born somewhere like Somalia.
Actually called Mark!

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#28
he is a kid lol...his brother "supposedly" left him an 88 les paul and a jcm800 and he wants to sell it to get a spider valve.....as people in greece would say : ELEOS
#29
^preference=/=maturity
Quote by steven seagull
Meh, I still class 16 as a kid...unless you're born somewhere like Somalia.
This is why I've always felt you and a few others have never taken half of the MT'ers seriously. Some 16 year olds act like idiots, some are intelligent. Learn the difference.
#30
Quote by georgakis187
he is a kid lol...his brother "supposedly" left him an 88 les paul and a jcm800 and he wants to sell it to get a spider valve.....as people in greece would say : ELEOS


You are MALLAKA!
#31
Quote by Rasputin92
You are MALLAKA!
What's a nine year old greek speaking china-boy, who's living in russia, doing on MT?

By far the most interesting personality on MT.
#32
I might be a KGB agent checking on you or someone who happens to know the famous greek word. You choose.
#33
Quote by Rasputin92
I might be a KGB agent checking on you or someone who happens to know the famous greek word. You choose.
Well I'm Australian, and Russia and Australia don't really have the same legal alliance America and Australia and Britain do. If you seriously piss of the CIA/FBI/NSA in an english speaking western country and you'll get fucked no matter where you are.

If you haven't noticed, I'm big on conspiracy theories. Especially when I haven't slept for days.
#34
Quote by demonofthenight
Well I'm Australian, and Russia and Australia don't really have the same legal alliance America and Australia and Britain do. If you seriously piss of the CIA/FBI/NSA in an english speaking western country and you'll get fucked no matter where you are.

If you haven't noticed, I'm big on conspiracy theories. Especially when I haven't slept for days.



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#35
Anyway, pentatonic sounds good only in guitar. Mainly because you can get in and out of pitches bend, slide. In keyboard they only sound good in a groove, melodically not so much.
#36
see ok...u knew one greek word...u spelled it wrong AND its a countable noun so you need that article "a" infront of it


YOU sir, are a malaka
#37
scales are fun to play if you get used to them like the... i don't remember what its called
#38
Quote by demonofthenight
^nothing wrong with that. It means beginners can focus on their phrasing instead of which note to choose, which is great because phrasing is so much more important than note choice in improvising. Regardless, if you get bored of pentatonics, add some accidentals in.Something makes me doubt he was born in 1999 (meaning his 9 years old or so). I think he might be 16 though (judging from his username). 16 is not a kid. For some, 16 is a fully grown (mentally) adult.

16 years old is definantly still a kid
#39
Completely relative.
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#40
Quote by demonofthenight
If you seriously piss of the CIA/FBI/NSA
It is not "The CIA." Would you ever ask someone if they believe in "The God?"

https://www.cia.gov/
Look at their website. They don't ever say "The CIA."


The major pentatonic scale is often used with its parallel minor pentatonic and blues scales. Combining those scales results in the "Mixoblues" scale which is a great scale for blues soloing.
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