#1
Ok, so a while back I was reading something about Angus Young and how he switches between the major and minor pentatonic scales whilst soloing. Now, either the article/page/whatever didn't cover it, or I wasn't paying attention (darn this ADD of mine) but I didn't catch how he does it or when.

So, two questions:

1. How do you switch between major and minor pentatonic scales? Let's say for our purposes he's soloing in E minor and wants to switch to a major scale on the fly. Does he change to E major, or G (E minor's relative major)? Or does he do both? Can you provide an example, a lick or perhaps one of their songs where he does this?

2. This one's not essential to my ability to play but it's interesting. I was thinking about how Malcom and Angus usually omit the major/minor thirds when they play a chord, like in Back in Black. Does this mean they're in a weird, twilight-zone sort of place, that is neither major nor minor until a melody line (bass, vocals, lead guitar playing a solo) comes in and basically "announces" the key's major or minor-...ness? Is this what makes the major/minor switching possible?
#2
Hey Joe by jimi hendrix; the chords are C G D E and he uses E minor for C-G-D then switches back to major for E.
#3
1. If the song is in E Major, then he would switch to E Major. If the song is in E minor, he's not switching to G Major, he's just playing the G Major shape (most likely) while still resolving to E minor.

2.Nope, they're still in a key, you could tell by the root notes, but using power chords.

If you play a chord progression which is like A5 - D5 - F5 - E5 it'll dictate A minor. Can you tell why? Well first of all, the whole thing resolves to the note "A", putting chords aside. Second of all, if it was in A major, you most likely wouldn't see an F chord, you'd see an F# chord.

Uh.. yeah. I'm going home.
#4
so yeah, to answer your question, he goes from E minor to E major

(though you shouldn't take my word for it, my theory is lacking in the progressions/scales department)
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#5
E minor pentatonic IS G major pentatonic. E major pentatonic is completely different to the other 2. So changing to E maj "on the fly" would sound incredibly awkward without proper melodic modulation (setting up a melody that slowly changes in E Major pentatonic).

Thats number One.

For the second question. They DO omit the third, but the powerchords the play are in minor key, and in back in black, notice how the last note in the lick is a low g? thats a MINOR THIRD in E minor. so the minor scale is shown there.
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#6
Quote by bassdrum
Hey Joe by jimi hendrix; the chords are C G D E and he uses E minor for C-G-D then switches back to major for E.


Isn't the last chord an A major?
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#7
In blues-based rock, it is common to use both the major and the minor third along with the second, sixth and flat fifth. That forms what is often (Informally) called the "Mixoblues" scale: 1 2 b3 3 4 b5 5 6 b7. The reason this works is part of the complex "altered dominant theory." You don't have to concern yourself with that theory quite yet; save that for when you know the basics very well. However, the jist of altered dominant theory is that the dissonance of the 7 chord (or implied 7 chord such as the E5 D5 A5, the b7 suggested by the D chord in the key of E) allows for many notes to be played over the chord, as they won't be causing dissonance; it is already there. Blues and blues-rock is meant to be a bit dissonant.

In short, it just sounds good.

Quote by breaknahabit
Isn't the last chord an A major?
Hey Joe goes C G D A E. It simply moves the chord up a fifth before repeating the progression after E.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Jan 21, 2009,
#8
Quote by breaknahabit
E minor pentatonic IS G major pentatonic. E major pentatonic is completely different to the other 2. So changing to E maj "on the fly" would sound incredibly awkward without proper melodic modulation (setting up a melody that slowly changes in E Major pentatonic).

Thats number One.

For the second question. They DO omit the third, but the powerchords the play are in minor key, and in back in black, notice how the last note in the lick is a low g? thats a MINOR THIRD in E minor. so the minor scale is shown there.

E major pentatonic is not G major pentatonic - they contain the same notes but they're not "the same".

However the whole point of modulating is to sound different, so yes, Angus Young DOES switch between the major and minor pentatonic of the same note...lots of people do.
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#9
the answer to question two is a big part of why blues-rock sounds like it does. Most of the chords they play are root-fifth power chords, which means that there is no implied major/minor-ness to the chords themselves. the progression of the chords may suggest a key, if they play power chords that aren't I-IV-V / i-iv-v.

but it's the lead guitar that basically gets to decide when things are gonna be minor or major, and that's why Angus' solos are so memorable and sweet. The simple chords behind the solos allow him to play pretty much whatever he wants.
#10
Ok, some of this makes sense to what I mean but some of it does not. E minor and G major pentatonic, while TECHNICALLY THE SAME KEY, are different notes, and have a different "feel" to them. I think this is what you meant, one vision, so that's good that I'm at least sort of understanding it. In my own noobish way.

Power chords are neither major or minor, aren't they? Because it's the third that generally tells you that. Eh, correct me.
#11
Quote by darkload
Power chords are neither major or minor, aren't they? Because it's the third that generally tells you that. Eh, correct me.
Correct, except that the third is only what tells you if the chord is major or minor.

Quote by darkload
Ok, some of this makes sense to what I mean but some of it does not. E minor and G major pentatonic, while TECHNICALLY THE SAME KEY, are different notes, and have a different "feel" to them.
Incorrect...in many ways. They have the same notes but are not the same key, though it's not that hard to switch between Em and G. Moreover, one cannot describe a scale by its feel. If one defines a major key as happy (and that's the only indication of major vs. minor), one would be unlikely to consider a song like Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here to be in a major key even though the harmonic elements of the song absolutely indicate a major key.
#12
Ok, so I think I understand what I missed earlier.

G pentatonic and Em pentatonic, while sharing some notes, aren't exactly the same. But since they're sort of and I stress the SORT OF the same key, (I know, I know, essentially different, but same notes means they're the same as far as I care to understand right now), that means that I can switch between the relative major and minor pentatonics with relatively no worries, throwing caution to the wind so long as I don't trip and fall on my ass while I'm doing it. Right? I mean, I'm a blues player anyway, so - and I'm going out on a limb here - is it not generally accepted to play a minor lead over major progressions and vice-versa?

Something I didn't understand in my last post, which had to be explained to me - more chords define the key. Now I get that, though I need to sit down and think about it a little more just to get into my head how to determine major or minor without thinking about it.

Quote by bangoodcharlotte
In blues-based rock, it is common to use both the major and the minor third along with the second, sixth and flat fifth. That forms what is often (Informally) called the "Mixoblues" scale: 1 2 b3 3 4 b5 5 6 b7. The reason this works is part of the complex "altered dominant theory." You don't have to concern yourself with that theory quite yet; save that for when you know the basics very well.


That may very well come in handy. Is that related at all to the Mixolydian mode or is that really just a sort of joke name? I had the modes written out somewhere but I've misplaced them, so I can't tell. (Not that I was using the modes for anything other than just dicking around, I honestly don't know how to use them even though I can technically play them.)
#13
Quote by darkload
Is that related at all to the Mixolydian mode or is that really just a sort of joke name?
It isn't a real scale, one from which you would build scales. It's just a collection of all the notes that are common in the blues, all of which happen to be in the X blues scale or X mixolydian scale.
#14
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It isn't a real scale, one from which you would build scales. It's just a collection of all the notes that are common in the blues, all of which happen to be in the X blues scale or X mixolydian scale.


Ah, I see. Thanks a lot; hopefully if I have any other related questions I can come back here, and not sound totally moronic.
#15
It's fine to be confused. Just don't insist that you're right when you're the person asking the question. We wouldn't come to MT if we didn't like answering questions. What we don't like is the arrogant schmuck who ignores facts when they're logically and coherently presented.
#16
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It's fine to be confused. Just don't insist that you're right when you're the person asking the question. We wouldn't come to MT if we didn't like answering questions. What we don't like is the arrogant schmuck who ignores facts when they're logically and coherently presented.


Oh, yeah, I realize that. Did I sound like that in my second post? I didn't mean to; I was at the library, you know, they have you on a time limit, and mine was about to run out so I didn't, honestly, have time to understand what I was being told. Sorry about that if that's what you meant, but that's totally my fault for posting under time constraints. Anyway, best I cut the chatter, right?
#17
There are four threads on nearly identical topics and I can't separate one from another in my mind. Someone, however, was being that arrogant schumck I described, though after looking through this thread, it wasn't you.

There are a few mistakes in your last post related to theory. Please read over what Steve, Frigginjerk, and I wrote and compare that with what you wrote.
#18
*winces* OK, I can't do that now but for sure I will soon, thank you for pointing that out. Can I just PM you personally if I have a question so I'm not clogging up the board like I do?
#19
THIS THREAD IS NOT ABOUT RELATIVE MINOR/MAJOR KEYS!!!

Seriously, has anyone in thread ever so much as played a blues guitar solo? Resolving to a major note in a minor key has been around forever (look up a Picardy resolution) and is especially important in the blues. And yes, I'm talking about using, say, A minor pent and A major pent over the same chord changes. EVERY famous blues guitarist that you know does this. The only thing you really want to avoid is using the major pent against the IV chord (unless you want to actually use the major pent of the IV, that can sound pretty cool). For an example of this, listen to every SRV song ever recorded.
#20
^ Yup.

Major keys give you more options and minor is generally more restrictive. In a major
key over the tonic major chord either the minor pentatonic or major pentatonic
will work. Minor gives you the essence of the blues -- a lot of people make their
living off of this single concept. Major pent is very harmonious over the major chord.
Beyond that there aren't any rules for using both. You just mix them by how you
want to sound.

In minor keys, it does NOT work the other way. You use minor pent. That's it.
#21
Ugh, now I think I'm being told two totally different things. In fact, yep, I am. Does it honestly matter whether I switch to the relative major/minor or from X major to X minor? Somebody said that you need to modulate from major to minor if I switch keys on lead. Now I'm being told blues doesn't need that. Who's right? Is everybody? Or is nobody?

*pulls out hair*
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#22
The major/minor thing goes as far back as my CD collection does. The old acoustic players were constantly putting in grooves like this (Open-G tuning):


D|-0---0x--0---0x--0---0x--------
B|-0---0x--0---0x--0---0x--------
G|-3b4-0x--3b4-0x--3b4-0x------0-
D|-----------------------------0-
G|-----------------------------0-
D|-------------------------3-----


Oddly enough the older stuff like this was even more erratic with the thirds than the electric blues (and hence blues rock) that followed it. Sometimes you'll get three or four different thirds all in the same main riff (but then you have more options with a slide). Stuff like AC/DC is tame by comparison.

Anyway, you can switch between the major and minor pentatonic pretty much whenever you want, provided it is a definite switch. You can play around with the third anywhere though. You can do this...


e|-------------
B|-------------
G|-7p5---5b6---
D|-----7-----7-
A|-------------
E|-------------


...while in the minor pentatonic, and this...


e|---------5-
B|-----5h7---
G|-5h6-------
D|-----------
A|-----------
E|-----------


...while in the major for instance. Typically you don't mix up the other notes within a single lick. Little question and answer phrases can work quite well; do a little lick in one scale ending on a dissonant note, and follow it up with a lick in the other scale ending on a chord note, e.g.


e|-------------------------5h7-7b9-7-5---5~-
B|---------------------5/7-------------7----
G|-8b7p5-7p5---5~-7-------------------------
D|-----------7------------------------------
A|------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------------------


But you wouldn't do anything like this...


e|-5---------------------
B|---7h8p7/5-------------
G|-----------7-5h6p5/4---
D|---------------------7-
A|-----------------------
E|-----------------------


...(a rather artificial example I admit; I had to play around till I found something totally sh!te) as you're losing the identity of the seperate scales.
#23
You're being told 2 unrelated things which you're trying to understand as 1 thing
so you're confused.

If you want to use both major and minor pentatonic over a single key, you can do
that over a major key. Example A major you could play both A minor and A major
pentatonic. The minor pentatonic will add a blues flavor over a major. If the
key were A minor, A minor pentatonic is your only choice. A major pentatonic would
not work well over a minor key.

As to the relative major and minor -- that has nothing to do with using BOTH
pentatonics in a solo. If the key is G major, and I'm playing G major pentatonic,
saying you're switching to E minor pentatonic (the relative minor to G) is completely meaningless. Totally. It's still just G major pentatonic.