#1
Im a bit confused when it comes to two things.

1) On diagrams of the shapes/positions. (example: http://www.justinguitar.com/en/SC-002-MinorPentatonicScale.php) It has the root note listed there, why? The root note changes with the position and where you start playing the position from (example, you start on A string, 7th fret)

2) The Major shape is the same as the minor shapes, so arent they the same thing?

Thanks
#2
there the same shape but you emphasis different notes for different chord progressions and what have you, as far as where you start id say it depends on the chords also but I could be wrong
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Last edited by WyldeMan666 at Jul 15, 2009,
#3
Quote by Geetar_Axel
Im a bit confused when it comes to two things.

1) On diagrams of the shapes/positions. (example: http://www.justinguitar.com/en/SC-002-MinorPentatonicScale.php) It has the root note listed there, why? The root note changes with the position and where you start playing the position from (example, you start on A string, 7th fret)

2) The Major shape is the same as the minor shapes, so arent they the same thing?

Thanks

Scales aren't just shapes - if you're just looking at the shape then you're only looking at a tiny piece of the puzzle. Scales are patterns of notes and intervals, they exist independent of instrument, the shapes are simply where those scales happen appear on the guitar.

The shape isn't what defines the scale, it's the notes and intervals with a fair bit of influence from whatever those notes are being played over - the shape is incidental, it's just a quirk of the guitar. Shapes just tell you where to find the scale, alone they don't tell you anything about what the scale actually is or how, why and when you can use it.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Jul 15, 2009,
#4
Is there somewhere I can go to read all about the Pentatonics, I still dont quite understand how to use the shapes ect.
#5
Quote by Geetar_Axel
Im a bit confused when it comes to two things.

1) On diagrams of the shapes/positions. (example: http://www.justinguitar.com/en/SC-002-MinorPentatonicScale.php) It has the root note listed there, why? The root note changes with the position and where you start playing the position from (example, you start on A string, 7th fret)

2) The Major shape is the same as the minor shapes, so arent they the same thing?

Thanks
Every Major scale has a relative minor scale, which shares all the same notes - they aren't the same scale, any more than dog and god are the same thing just because they share the same letters.

The root note, or tonic, is where you'll resolve to. If you draw out C maj pentatonic and A min pentatonic they will cover all the same notes, but the roots will be in different places, as C Major resolves to C and A minor resolves to A.

As Stephen Seagull said though - scales aren't shapes. They happen to make shapes on a guitar neck, but they are composed of notes and intervals - its much more important to learn what they sound like than what they happen to look like mapped out on a guitar neck.
#6
You can move shapes all over the neck though, they dont have set positions they HAVE to be played it, that confuses me.
#7
Each scale is composed of intervals and notes.

A minor pentatonic is A C D E G - you can play it anywhere on the neck you can find those notes. If you start on an A on the low E string and play the scale 2 notes per string, that happens to make a pattern on the neck that is generally known as the 1st position of the minor pentatonic. All you are doing is playing the minor pentatonic 2nps starting from the root on the low E string.

A minor pentatonic will always be those notes, and those notes will be in the same place on the neck as long as you keep your guitar in standard tuning.

If you want to play E minor pentatonic you play the notes E G A B D - if you start on the low E string and play this 2nps then it will be the same 'shape' as you were playing with A minor - because the intervals between the notes are the same.

Does that make sense?
#8
Shapes are largely irrelevant when it comes to defining a scale, what matters is the notes the scale contains, if you're playing the right notes then you're playing the right scale regardless of what shape you use.

Every scale covers the entire fretboard, if you've just learned one shape then you've just learned where the notes happen to be in one section of the fretboard. Pentatonics are no different to any other scale, they're a set pattern of repeating intervals so the same notes will keep popping up all over the fretboard. For example A minor pentatonic contains the notes A C D E G, that's all, just 5 notes. Those notes appear multiple times on the guitar though, each one can be found in 10-12 different spots on the fretboard. If you find all the instances of each note on the fretboard then you'll get the full fretboard map of the A minor pentatonic scale.

Have a read of Josh Urban's Crusade articles in the colums section.
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#9
Starting to now yes. So if I play a Position 2 shape starting on the A on the low E string, what does that make it?
#10
Quote by Geetar_Axel
Starting to now yes. So if I play a Position 2 shape starting on the A on the low E string, what does that make it?
You'll be playing the notes A B C# E F# - which can be either the A Major pentatonic of the F# minor pentatonic depending on how you are using it.

If you start playing A Major as 2nps starting from the A on the low E string, that will basically be position 2 of the pentatonic scale.

Remember that scales can be played wherever on the neck you can find the notes they are made up of though - you are not limited to playing them in any one position. You can start them wherever you like and play them in whatever pattern and direction you like. Once you get your head around playing them 2nps try playing them single string and 3nps too - it'll make it a lot easier for you to move around the neck when you are using scales to improvise.
#13
I think Ive just had a blank tonight. I mean, Ive been playing these scales forever, Ive linked positions together and improvised ect. The real thing Im struggling with is the changes of root notes from the minor to the major.

But Im starting to understand, thanks for your help all!
#14
Best way imo is to learn the notes of the neck and understand the intervals in the scales.

However, while you are doing that: The lowest note of first position is the root of the minor pentatonic, lowest note of second position is the root of the major pentatonic. You can find all the other root notes by finding octaves on the neck. Use your ears as well - should should be able to hear when you reach 'home' as it were.

But don't rely on doing it that way - it may seem like a shortcut initially, but when you start using different types of scales, or improvising over non diatonic progressions, or using arpeggios rather than scales, your life will be a whole lot easier if you know where the notes are.
#15
I just realised its going to be a massive pain in the arse to learn the notes and formulars of every scale in the major and minor. Any tips?
#16
Quote by Geetar_Axel
I think Ive just had a blank tonight. I mean, Ive been playing these scales forever, Ive linked positions together and improvised ect. The real thing Im struggling with is the changes of root notes from the minor to the major.

But Im starting to understand, thanks for your help all!

That doesn't happen, you don't "change between the two". If you're in a major key then you'd use the corresponding major pentatonic scale, if you're in a minor key you'd use the corresponding minor pentatonic scale.

So, if your chord progression is in C major then you'd use C major pentatonic. That scale contains the notes C D E G A, so you either need to look for all the instances of those notes or, more practically you need to transpose your major pentatonic pattern so the all root notes match up with C's.

If your chord progression is in the key of A minor then you'd use A minor pentatonic, the notes A C D E G, again you need to look for all the instances of those notes, or move the minor pentatonic pattern to a position where it contains those notes. It just so happens that A minor shares the same notes as C major, so you can use the same patterns you'd use for C major but you're not using "the same scale". It's not the same because the chord progression has a different tonal centre.

Remember this isn't just about moving your fingers, you need to listen and understand how scales sound and how the notes they contain interact with whatever your playing over. C and A are not the same note, they sound different, likewise a C note played over a C major chord creates a different sound to a C note played over an A minor chord.

Relative minors/majors are simply a way to help identify keys and by association the scales you could use -they're an inherent quality of the music you're playing over, a fact if you will. They're not generally an option for you to choose from as a player, it's more a choice the composer already made for you.

You shouldn't worry about not understanding in a couple of hours, it takes time to learn and understand same as anything else. Learning the notes on the fretboard and scale formulas isn't a pain in the arse, it's something you simply need to do if you want to understand music better - it's no more time consuming than trying to memorise a seemingly random pattern on the fretboard. Moving your fingers insn't where playing the guitar starts or ends, it's just the bit in the middle - have a read of the Crusade articles like I suggested.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Jul 15, 2009,
#17
OK, think I got you. So I need to learn all my fretboard notes (which I nearly have down now) and then formulas ect.

Oh yeah, how do you determin what key your in? By the starting chord/note isnt it?
Last edited by Geetar_Axel at Jul 15, 2009,
#18
It's often the starting chord, but not always - it's the chord the music "pulls" towards, the one that has that sound of finality about it. Again, it's all about listening as well as looking, however if you want a quick reference as to which chords are in which key.

http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/chords-key-c.html

With most modern music you should easily be able to come to an either/or choice between the relative minor and major by looking at the chords, listening to it will usually point you in the right direction as to which it is. For example, if the chord progression is Am.

A couple of examples...


House of the Rising Sun - The Animals

Chords -Am C D F Am C Em

now, those chords fit the key of both Am and C major, however if you listen to the way the song is arragned everything is heading towards those Am chords, they feel like "home". Whenever a C chord appears it always feels like it's leading towards somewhere else, the song doesn't want to linger there - that means the key is A minor. That little bit before each verse starts, where the guitar is pulling the song between alternating Em and Am chords that final E minor chord is positively screaming out for things to go back to that A minor chord at the start of the progression.


Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd

Chords- D C G , a straight V-IV-I progression in G major

doesn't start on G but if you listen to it the G chord is the one everything is moving towards. The chords fit the key of both G major and E minor, but the fact there's no E minor chord there means you can be pretty certain it's G major. Also if you study the solos you'd spot shapes that could either be G major or E minor pentatonic...again the absence of an E minor chord in the main progression means it's not going to be E minor.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Jul 15, 2009,
#19
So say my progression (as strange as it is) is C#5 D#5 E5, what would you use, a major or minor? Or do you need to find the scale the notes belong to?
#20
Quote by Geetar_Axel
So say my progression (as strange as it is) is C#5 D#5 E5, what would you use, a major or minor? Or do you need to find the scale the notes belong to?

With 5th chords it's a little ambiguous as because they have no 3rd they're neither major or minor. Also that particular movement is always going to sound somewhat unresolved no matter how you play it. It seems a little easier to get it to centre around the C# so C# minor is a more likely scale to use, but it really does depend on the timings. Effectively you've got the relative major and minor roots there with one note between them, so you've got two equally strong "pulls"...the major 7th wanting to resolve up to the major tonic and the major second wanting to resolve down to the major tonic...you couldn't have picked a more ambiguous one if you'd tried

I can only really get it to work by either hanging on the first or last chord and shifting through the other two fairly quickly, and by emphasising either the C# or the E chord and using the other two as little more than passing chords i can get more of a resolution. Even then it's not so much of a progression, it becomes more of a vamp with a little motion in there to spice things up a bit.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Jul 15, 2009,
#21
Quote by Geetar_Axel
So say my progression (as strange as it is) is C#5 D#5 E5, what would you use, a major or minor? Or do you need to find the scale the notes belong to?
Power chords aren't inherently major or minor, as they don't include the 3rd.

That is a bit of an odd progression if you want to be able to improv over it easily - you're in B Major/G# minor, but you're not using the tonic in your progression.

If you want it to stay diatonic (in key) and resolve to E or C# you might want to change that D#5 to a 4th (D# and G#) or a minor 3rd (D# and F#) diad, to get rid of the A#

Either way, if it feels finished on the E5 I'd go for E Maj pentatonic over it. That means you'll be playing E F# G# B C#

If it feels finished on the C#5 go C# min pentatonic: C# E F# G# B
#22
I mainly use powerchords, so that pretty much answered all my questions about them and scales.
#23
Quote by Geetar_Axel
I mainly use powerchords, so that pretty much answered all my questions about them and scales.

If you learn your notes and learn a bit of theory it'll open things up for you and you won't be as restricted, powerchords are good for a lot of things but it still helps to know why they work. No doubt sometimes you want to make things more interesting, and also understanding chords is vital for becoming an effective lead player.
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#24
Listen to the seagull

Edit: @stephen seagull - please can you ask your relatives down south to stop attacking my dog He didn't eat their baby as they suspect. He was just following it. It ran away into next doors garden and I think a cat ate it. NOT Max.
Last edited by zhilla at Jul 15, 2009,
#25
Seagull is a music god.

Sig it bitch.

But seriously, Seagull, your music knowledge rocks my world.

(I am shameless )
#27
Major is WWHWWWH, or R 2 3 4 5 6 7 - all major or perfect intervals

every major has a relative minor, which has its root as the 6th of the major - so it becomes

natural minor = WHWWHWW, or R 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

major pentatonic is the major scale with the 4th and 7th omitted

minor pentatonic is the minor scale with the 2nd and 6th omitted

Have a look at the music theory FAQ