Hey guys,

I have never really had any formal lessons and im struggling to understand what im reading on the internet. I am currently learning the blues from a DVD and he is using theory that i dont really understand.

The first thing i wanted to know is the difference between the standard scales and the pentatonic scales.

I have always used the pentatonic scales to solo over a key. So if im playing to a 12 bar blues in G, i use the G pentatonics.

Now this guy is saying that you can solo over a key with all of the notes from the "normal" scales. Now im thinking that the pentatonic scales are 5 notes?

Why would you then use the pentatonic scales over the normal scales which have 7 notes?

I might be being silly here but i really am struggling
Penatonic scale is just missing a few notes. I dont even know why its considered a separate scale. If you remote the second and sixth note you've got the penatonic. The reason why people use it is it tends to have a more bluesy or rock sound.
Like Peaceful Rocker said, the pentatonics are just a derivative of the diatonic scales. The major scale is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, the major pentatonic is just the same without the 4 or 7 (1 2 3 5 6).

Half-step intervals are generally seen as more difficult to sing in tune (to an untrained singer) than whole steps or minor thirds. In fact, the minor third is widely accepted as the easiest interval to sing. When teaching children to sing, generally they are taught songs with two notes a minor third apart at first.

What the pentatonics do is they remove the notes that create half-steps in the diatonic scales. So in the major, 3-4 is a half-step and so is 7-1. The reason we remove 4 and 7 instead of 3 and 1 is because 3 and 1 are chord tones of the tonic chord. In other words, they are resolution notes, along with 5.

The minor pentatonic is the same deal. Minor scale is 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7. You don't want to get rid of b3 or 5 because they are part of the tonic chord, so you get rid of 2 and b6.

So, pentatonics are just a smaller section of the diatonic scales. So really, you're just playing the diatonic scale, avoiding certain notes. Don't think of it as an entirely different scale.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Yeah I should have clarified my post is referring to the minor penatonic and minor scale.

For some reason I never think major when talking penatonics
Quote by Peaceful Rocker
Yeah I should have clarified my post is referring to the minor penatonic and minor scale.

For some reason I never think major when talking penatonics

FWIW, major and minor pentatonic scales share the same relationships that major and minor scales do. In example C major (& C pent), are the same notes as A minor (& A pent).

I'm sure this is obvious, but it probably is worth a mention.

Another good reason for using pentatonic scales in soloing, is it eliminates certain potential dissonances that would be present when using an entire diatonic scale.

To me, it does make sense to consider the pentatonic and diatonic scales as different entities, from a performance standpoint.

It eliminates that extra step in remembering which notes not to play, from the major or minor.

What I'm saying is, I think it's easier to learn two habit patterns, rather than intellectualize about it on the fly.
The minor pentatonic can be a home base for some guitarists as it sounds good over both major and minor keys. It completely depends on what genres you listen to however.

In terms of what your dvd man is saying it's the same phrase that we repeat over and over in this forum. In major keys the most appropriate notes to play is the major scale. Same goes for the minor scale. You can use any note you want in keys. Any notes outside those scales are called "accidentals".
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Thanks guys for your detailed answers, that all makes sense now

I just learnt that the same position can be used for the major and the relative minor, sweet!!