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#1
Hi I just wanna ask how do you improvise in major key? Strictly no minor please, it should be legit major.

Will the major pentatonic work? Or its better to use the whole major scale?

I was told to solo in E Major (rock) but all I know is E Minor (Pentatonic)...so I am really worried. Can you guys give me tips to solo in major? Because I think a lot of rock songs nowadays use blues/minor pentatonic a lot, therefore I don't have much exposure to major stuffs.


Thanks in advance!
#2
Sounds like it's time to learn your major scales.

Learn all 12 major scales up and down the fretboard. Once you can do that, start looking at the chords and pick the appropriate notes from the scales to match the notes in the chords.
#3
Quote by leejohnphilip
Hi I just wanna ask how do you improvise in major key? Strictly no minor please, it should be legit major.

Will the major pentatonic work? Or its better to use the whole major scale?

I was told to solo in E Major (rock) but all I know is E Minor (Pentatonic)...so I am really worried. Can you guys give me tips to solo in major? Because I think a lot of rock songs nowadays use blues/minor pentatonic a lot, therefore I don't have much exposure to major stuffs.


Thanks in advance!


While cdgraves is right ... you have to start somewhere, so for now, as someone that teaches this stuff for a living, I suggest you cut your teeth on the Maj Pent and after you've more or less explored those pitch collections thoroughly, graduate to learning full major scales. a Major scale is like a Maj Pentatonic except with 2 added notes (the ones that can get you in trouble if you don't know what you are doing with them).

Take that pentatonic, and move it back 4 frets, and pitch wise, your're going to be better suited for playing over E major. There are some possibilities that some notes are going to fit better than others. Especially if you move from the I to the IV.

In E that's ( I to IV) moving from E to and A chord.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jul 19, 2013,
#4
I did study the basic major scale positions...it's just that I am not that creative with it.

And also...if let's say I am asked to solo in E Major...will a C#m pentatonic (E Major Pentatonic) work? PLEASE I need someone to confirm this
#5
Quote by leejohnphilip
And also...if let's say I am asked to solo in E Major...will a C#m pentatonic (E Major Pentatonic) work? PLEASE I need someone to confirm this

It wouldn't be C#minor pentatonic, it would be the E major pentatonic.
#8
Oh nvm I get it....so basically if I should start improvising in major...I should stick with the pentatonics first to avoid doing something wrong with the 2 additional notes in the full major scale?
#9
Quote by leejohnphilip
Isnt it the same thing? Lol sorry if I sound stupid :P


No. Because the Pitch they sound against are different. Same notes does not mean the same thing. The name you give it changes depending upon the key.

C#m Pent over the KEY of C#m IS C#m

The NOTES of C#m pentatonic CEASE to be called C#m pentatonic in the key of E

Because the KEY determines that scale name. So those same notes are NOW E Major Pentatonic.

Best,

Sean
#10
Ok thanks for clarifying that! Can I still apply the blues scale when using E Major Pent? If so...how?
#11
Quote by leejohnphilip
Ok thanks for clarifying that! Can I still apply the blues scale when using E Major Pent? If so...how?


Yes you can, as a passing note.

An E Pent Major is

E F# G# B C#

Your "blues note" in this is a G. Over an E Major chord that G is a minor 3rd, so you are going to clash if you sit on it, but played in "passing" a G to G# is like going Minor 3 to Major 3rd, and that's done a lot in blues for color.

Best,

Sean
#12
Wait...so I should play a G# instead of G to avoid clashing on an E chord? Then there's no change then to the E Major Pent?
#13
Quote by leejohnphilip
Wait...so I should play a G# instead of G to avoid clashing on an E chord? Then there's no change then to the E Major Pent?

You play both. Instead of playing F# then G# you can play F# G G#. The G is your blues note. It's there as a passing tone.
Quote by Fat Lard
Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

Quote by captainsnazz
brot pls
#14
Quote by leejohnphilip
Oh nvm I get it....so basically if I should start improvising in major...I should stick with the pentatonics first to avoid doing something wrong with the 2 additional notes in the full major scale?

No. The other 2 notes are more tense than the pentatonic notes, but the only way to learn how to use them is to use them. Also, you're going to be using all 12 notes, not 5 or 7.
#15
Or you could just play E maj. with tasteful chromatics and focus on how it sounds and not on how it "fits" Just saying.
Originally posted by arrrgg
When my grandpa comes over to visit, after his shower, he walks around naked to dry off
#16
Quote by Led man32
Or you could just play E maj. with tasteful chromatics and focus on how it sounds and not on how it "fits" Just saying.

How it sounds and how it fits are the same thing.
#17
The problem is I'm only familiar with the pentatonic shapes....and whenever I play the full major scale it doesn't sound melodic enough. I can't find any lessons online that can show me some cool riffs and licks for major scale (preferably rock and blues).

And also...what do you mean the 2 notes are more intense? And 12 notes? I thought theres just 7 =.=

I just find the whole major scale really hard to solo with because I don't have enough "stock riffs" from it....and everything sounds so happy but I am asked to play rock, which isn't THAT happy....any tips?
#18
Quote by leejohnphilip
The problem is I'm only familiar with the pentatonic shapes....and whenever I play the full major scale it doesn't sound melodic enough. I can't find any lessons online that can show me some cool riffs and licks for major scale (preferably rock and blues).

And also...what do you mean the 2 notes are more intense? And 12 notes? I thought theres just 7 =.=

I just find the whole major scale really hard to solo with because I don't have enough "stock riffs" from it....and everything sounds so happy but I am asked to play rock, which isn't THAT happy....any tips?

Most rock uses minor pentatonic. C# minor would sound fine over E Major.

The Major scale has a variant form that's suited more for Rock and Blues. It's the Major Pentatonic Scale. The Major Pentatonic comes from the Major scale. The Blues scale is simply a Pentatonic with a passing tone thrown in.

I think he said tense because they're dissonant when you sit on them.
Quote by Fat Lard
Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

Quote by captainsnazz
brot pls
#19
Quote by cdgraves
Sounds like it's time to learn your major scales.

Learn all 12 major scales up and down the fretboard. Once you can do that, start looking at the chords and pick the appropriate notes from the scales to match the notes in the chords.

Or you could just be smart about it, and learn the notes of the fretboard and the intervals of the major scale.

For lesson on the major scale, look here. Note that (in numerals), the formula is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8, where 8 is the tonic note (in this case, octave of the root).
#20
Quote by leejohnphilip
I did study the basic major scale positions...it's just that I am not that creative with it.

And also...if let's say I am asked to solo in E Major...will a C#m pentatonic (E Major Pentatonic) work? PLEASE I need someone to confirm this

Yes.
#21
you want a more melodic sound...find "melodic patterns" of the major scale...along with learning the major scale and the chords produced from it (diatonic harmony) in all 12 keys...that should improve your playing ALOT...but it will take time for all this info to get in your fingers..this is the basic study of harmony and in time will lead to more melodic lines..not just from the scale notes..but using all 12 tones...

do you have to learn all this...no...

one feature of doing so...you will know the chords in every key and how they work with each other .. and not feel lost...

play well

wolf
#22
^
Why are people acting like you have to memorize everything for all 12 keys? Just memorize the formulas. (Example: Tonal harmony for any major key is I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii(dim).) Then, apply the formula to the key. I'm not gonna go into it all, because that's beyond what TS is asking. But really, there's no reason to act like TS has more work than he really does.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Jul 19, 2013,
#23
Quote by leejohnphilip

And also...what do you mean the 2 notes are more intense? And 12 notes? I thought theres just 7 =.=

They are more tense because they are only a half step away from another note in the scale, so they want to move, not stand still. Not to say that you can't hold them though.
Study how to construct the major scale, and then how the diatonic chords move with each other in the major scale (functional harmony) and how the triads sound, and then start messing around with triads/chords not diatonic to they scale, embellished chords as well; augmented, major/minor/dominant sevens, m7b5's, maj7#11's, suspended, etc., and how to construct these chords.
Last edited by macashmack at Jul 19, 2013,
#24
Quote by macashmack
How it sounds and how it fits are the same thing.



Explain.
Originally posted by arrrgg
When my grandpa comes over to visit, after his shower, he walks around naked to dry off
#25
Quote by Led man32
Explain.

Music is made of sounds. A note sounds a certain way in the context of a piece/song. Where it fits into a melody/harmony is how it sounds functionally.
#26
Sorry for the double post, but for OP to really learn to "play" guitar he should go ahead and learn the major scale, but realize there are notes outside the major scale and those, placed correctly, are the sexy notes. Also, learn the "right" notes, the major scale ones, by ear, not formula.
Originally posted by arrrgg
When my grandpa comes over to visit, after his shower, he walks around naked to dry off
#27
Quote by macashmack
Music is made of sounds. A note sounds a certain way in the context of a piece/song. Where it fits into a melody/harmony is how it sounds functionally.



I can dig your explanation, but I was using the word"fit" differently than you were. That's all.
Originally posted by arrrgg
When my grandpa comes over to visit, after his shower, he walks around naked to dry off
#28
Quote by Led man32
Sorry for the double post, but for OP to really learn to "play" guitar he should go ahead and learn the major scale, but realize there are notes outside the major scale and those, placed correctly, are the sexy notes. Also, learn the "right" notes, the major scale ones, by ear, not formula.

I agree, he should learn the major scale by theory and ear before he worries about the other ones.
Quote by Led man32
I can dig your explanation, but I was using the word"fit" differently than you were. That's all.

I see that now
#29
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
^
Why are people acting like you have to memorize everything for all 12 keys? Just memorize the formulas. (Example: Tonal harmony for any major key is I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii(dim).) Then, apply the formula to the key. I'm not gonna go into it all, because that's beyond what TS is asking. But really, there's no reason to act like TS has more work than he really does.


learning the formulas and memorizing the results are pretty much the same thing. And 12 scales and their diatonic triads is really, really basic stuff. It's something any competent player should be able to just sit down and do.
#30
This is just what i have been looking for...i had a problem with improvising, but i'm gradually solving it, mostly working on my hearing...there's so much things you can pick up just by listening or seeing someone play! Anyway if you're not comfortable with theory in the beginning, just learn which notes fit in which scale, that is 5 notes for pentatonic. Write all the notes along the neck than start by memorizing the positions and shapes or "boxes". Gradually, you can add some tasty stuff, like 3ds in passing. With time, going from one position you will be able to pick up parts that belong to that scale with ease. Normally, you can't just play it up and down, because it sounds boring...you have to find your own expression, how you end your licks and pause between them ( every great blues guitarist has a "punctuation" i.e. how many notes )....
#31
I have some concrete suggestions for you. But first, let me clarify the relation between minor and major key. I'll start with an example.

Let's consider the key of e minor. In this key, there are the following tones: E, F#, G, A, B, C, D.

Of course, to fully describe a key, it's necessary to assign a diatonic function to each tone from the key being described. There are 7 diatonic functions: TONIC, SUPERTONIC, MEDIANT, SUBDOMINANT, DOMINANT, SUBMEDIANT, SUBTONIC.

In case of e minor, this assignment would look like this:

E -> TONIC (I)
F# -> SUPERTONIC (II)
G -> MEDIANT (III)
A -> SUBDOMINANT (IV)
B -> DOMINANT (V)
C -> SUBMEDIANT (VI)
D -> SUBTONIC (VII)

Now, the key of G major consists of exactly the same tones as the key of e minor. The only difference is in the assignment of diatonic functions. In case of G major, it would look like this:

G -> TONIC (I)
A -> SUPERTONIC (II)
B -> MEDIANT (III)
C -> SUBDOMINANT (IV)
D -> DOMINANT (V)
E -> SUBMEDIANT (VI)
F# -> SUBTONIC (VII)

Of course, this doesn't apply on e minor and G major only. For every minor key there is a major key which consists of exactly the same tones. Here is a complete table:

e minor / G major
f minor / G# major
f# minor / A major
g minor / A# major
g# minor / B major
a minor / C major
a# minor / C# major
b minor / D major
c minor / D# major
c# minor / E major
d minor / F major
d# minor / F# major

Since the only difference between relative minor and major keys is in the assignment of diatonic functions, there's no need for you to learn anything you don't already know. Only thing you need to do is get used to the fact, that tones in major key play different roles. Technically, you could go ahead and convert your "minor licks" into "major licks". Simply by following the the assignment tables above. However, this approach is kind of weird and may not always work as expected.

The best course of action for you is just to keep trying and improvise in major key. In time, you will develop a feel for it. Here's a backing track which is in G major. As it progresses, it highlights the tones of a currently sounding chord. Seeing which tones are the "good ones" may prevent you from the unwanted fallback to your minor key routines. Btw, I also feel more comfortable when improvising in minor key.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4OG9blOpMI
#32
Oh, and one more thing. I've noticed some people suggesting things like "learn all 12 scales". Luckily, there's no reason to do such a thing. You don't have to learn anything new in order to be able to play in another key. For example, the backing track below is in E major (the key you were asked to play in). Notice that the patterns (called "boxes") remain exactly the same as they were in G major. They're just shifted 3 semitones lower. My ultimate advice regarding music theory: Leverage the linearity of guitar fretboard. Counting sharps and flats is for pianists!

NOTE: In my previous post, I simplified things a bit. For example, the seventh degree in major scale has different properties than its minor "equivalent" and because of that, it's called LEADING TONE (instead of SUBTONIC).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWMElOCH5xg
#33
Quote by leejohnphilip
Hi I just wanna ask how do you improvise in major key? Strictly no minor please, it should be legit major.

Will the major pentatonic work? Or its better to use the whole major scale?

I was told to solo in E Major (rock) but all I know is E Minor (Pentatonic)...so I am really worried. Can you guys give me tips to solo in major? Because I think a lot of rock songs nowadays use blues/minor pentatonic a lot, therefore I don't have much exposure to major stuffs.


Thanks in advance!

yes that can work, but adding in some major scale stuff would sound nice to. it's the same as improvising in a minor key, only you root notes have changed places on the neck in the scale shapes. so you need to know how the major and minor scales relate to each other. it's really not that hard once you get into it. all your minor pentatonic licks will work and be in key, but you may find they don't all totally sound right. they make only work over certain chords. if you are in C major and there's an A minor in the song, try some A minor pentatonic licks over that chord. do them again over the C and you'll hear they sound different. basically, you have to just learn the scales, and then take the time to just allow yourself to be open and just play, make mistakes, remember stuff you like, watch and listen to a lot of players and look for major key stuff. you can also learn scale sequences which are just musical patterns to break up the scale into. that can act as a springboard to new lick ideas.
#34
Well, you can "learn melodic patterns" or you could learn how to make them. Which one actually has more merit? You can decide that for yourself.

Start listening to music - really listen to it. You have movement... you have curves of tones. The minor pentatonic would have helped with the major 2nd to minor 3rd leaps (and vice versa). That same pentatonic would help in doing intervallic leaps of maj 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, minor/major 6ths and b7ths. Everything you need is right there if you're just prepared to use it.

1) Listen to how these notes affect your chord you're playing over
2) Apply these melodic leaps
3) Be sure to make the natural melodic curves in your improv.
4) Improvise in a fashion that still makes it music and not a "connect the dots, disjointed" feeling and you will do just fine.
5) Be prepared to spend a lot of time working on this aspect. It is not done in a day or a week.

Hope it helps you.
Last edited by evolucian at Jul 25, 2013,
#35
Quote by SandalledSteve
Oh, and one more thing. I've noticed some people suggesting things like "learn all 12 scales". Luckily, there's no reason to do such a thing. You don't have to learn anything new in order to be able to play in another key. For example, the backing track below is in E major (the key you were asked to play in). Notice that the patterns (called "boxes") remain exactly the same as they were in G major. They're just shifted 3 semitones lower. My ultimate advice regarding music theory: Leverage the linearity of guitar fretboard. Counting sharps and flats is for pianists!

Or you could, you know, stop being lazy and just learn the intervals of any scales and the notes of the fretboard -- thereby removing the need to mess with box shapes at all. (And, interestingly enough, removing the need to memorize all 12 major scales and all 12 minor scales, because one simply memorizes the intervals and applies that to the current key.) I still have no idea why many guitarists insist upon using something as clunky as box shapes. It's lazy and reinforces the idea that we can simply divide the fretboard in a bunch of sections ("boxes"), instead of seeing the fretboard as a whole and applying simple scale interval theory to it.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Jul 25, 2013,
#36
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Or you could, you know, stop being lazy and just learn the intervals of any scales and the notes of the fretboard -- thereby removing the need to mess with box shapes at all. (And, interestingly enough, removing the need to memorize all 12 major scales and all 12 minor scales, because one simply memorizes the intervals and applies that to the current key.) I still have no idea why many guitarists insist upon using something as clunky as box shapes. It's lazy and reinforces the idea that we can simply divide the fretboard in a bunch of sections ("boxes"), instead of seeing the fretboard as a whole and applying simple scale interval theory to it.

Everyone learns differently. If it works for them and they land up better than you, who are you to nitpick? And it's not lazy - it's about the same amount of work going into learning boxes of notes as it is learning scales/notes vertically and horizontally. Being able to play well in a limited set space which carries the weight of the song and supports it extremely well, far outweighs the 2000 notes someone else might play over that same song and destroy it.

People are free to work within limits. The biggest musical challenge I've found is working within one octave - improv - the whole track. Paint the notes in any shape you'd like across the fretboard, we'll still be able to put a box around it... it is only one octave after all in this example.
Last edited by evolucian at Jul 25, 2013,
#37
Quote by evolucian
Everyone learns differently. If it works for them and they land up better than you, who are you to nitpick? And it's not lazy - it's about the same amount of work going into learning boxes of notes as it is learning scales/notes vertically and horizontally. Being able to play well in a limited set space which carries the weight of the song and supports it extremely well, far outweighs the 2000 notes someone else might play over that same song and destroy it.

I don't know that you quite understand what I'm saying. Although, I admit the word lazy isn't really the right term. But what I'm advocating essentially removes the need to memorize tons of box shapes. Instead, you simply memorize the intervals of whatever scale. (Obviously, the 2 most popular methods of doing this are by using either numbers [1, 2, 3, etc.] or whole/half steps [W,W,H, etc.].) So, rather than memorizing 5 (or however many) box shapes for the major and minor scale and then learning where to go on the neck; you simply know what notes fit each interval in your scale, have a key, and know where on the neck that the notes satisfying the intervals of your scale in that key are. The point is to work smarter.

A secondary advantage of this is that one learns how each interval sounds. For instance, when one goes from the root to the 5th, how does that sound? 5th to 7th? Etc.? By learning the intervals themselves, you're forced to gain an understanding of the sounds. Music is sound and knowing how going from X to Y is going to sound is damn important.

People are free to work within limits. The biggest musical challenge I've found is working within one octave - improv - the whole track.

That's great. But it sounds like you did that either to challenge yourself or for artistic reasons. Limiting one's self simply because you either don't realize it or don't know a better way is not beneficial.

Paint the notes in any shape you'd like across the fretboard, we'll still be able to put a box around it... it is only one octave after all in this example.

Although I'm guessing you're using the word "box" loosely here, I'm purposely arguing against the use of "box shapes", as in a 4 or 5 fret shape that contains all the notes of a major or minor scale.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Jul 25, 2013,
#38
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
I don't know that you quite understand what I'm saying. Although, I admit the word lazy isn't really the right term. But what I'm advocating essentially removes the need to memorize tons of box shapes. Instead, you simply memorize the intervals of whatever scale. (Obviously, the 2 most popular methods of doing this are by using either numbers [1, 2, 3, etc.] or whole/half steps [W,W,H, etc.].) So, rather than memorizing 5 (or however many) box shapes for the major and minor scale and then learning where to go on the neck; you simply know what notes fit each interval in your scale, have a key, and know where on the neck that the notes satisfying the intervals of your scale in that key are. The point is to work smarter.

A secondary advantage of this is that one learns how each interval sounds. For instance, when one goes from the root to the 5th, how does that sound? 5th to 7th? Etc.? By learning the intervals themselves, you're forced to gain an understanding of the sounds. Music is sound and knowing how going from X to Y is going to sound is damn important.


I understood exactly what you were saying, and although you are against boxes - there are people who learn this way. And just as you learn your intervals however you want to learn them, those same intervals are present in the said box shape and they function exactly the same way. To deny that is rather daft.

On guitar, we have patterns we can memorise. However you play, there will always be a pattern to it. A box contains a pattern - whether it be a 3 note per string scale or a 4 note per string scale, there is a definite pattern to it. Repeating structure - easy to memorise - great way to get into the game of music.

I'll say it again - each person learns differently. And again - each person learns differently. Whatever path they chose to get where they are... if the end result is equal, who can really find fault with the path chosen?


Quote by crazysam23_Atax
That's great. But it sounds like you did that either to challenge yourself or for artistic reasons. Limiting one's self simply because you either don't realize it or don't know a better way is not beneficial.

It's actually a melody challenge mixed with harmonic possibilities, but an exercise nonetheless. Regarding the "not beneficial" part: A box is not limiting, the only limit is you. If the end result is the same, that is, music was created and a pleasing product was obtained... who is truly holier to argue the path chosen?


Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Although I'm guessing you're using the word "box" loosely here, I'm purposely arguing against the use of "box shapes", as in a 4 or 5 fret shape that contains all the notes of a major or minor scale.

And it is your right to be against it - but one cannot condemn a method that launches a million guitarists a year into promising hopefuls. It works. People approach things differently in music - if we all wrote the same shit... this forum would either not exist or it would only have one post and no responses because everyone agrees because they wrote it the same way.

So your approach works for you - a different approach works for someone else. We can't condemn it because both methods work in the end and that is all that counts.
#39
I'm wondering how many times in this thread the difference between C# minor and E major has to be stated.

That aside, the key is practice. Many guitarists neglect to practice improv with the straight major scale because minor sounds "cooler". Crank up some backing tracks in major keys and go for it. Learn some songs in major keys etc.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#40
Quote by evolucian
And it is your right to be against it - but one cannot condemn a method that launches a million guitarists a year into promising hopefuls. It works. People approach things differently in music - if we all wrote the same shit... this forum would either not exist or it would only have one post and no responses because everyone agrees because they wrote it the same way.

So your approach works for you - a different approach works for someone else. We can't condemn it because both methods work in the end and that is all that counts.

We also have millions of young guitarist every year who get stuck in "box shapes" (meaning they can't play very well outside of using a box shape) and who don't learn the intervals or harmony contained within that. That probably isn't the fault of that way of learning itself, as much as the fault of many, many guitar teachers though. There are great players who use primarily this method. (Eric Clapton being one who essentially made his career out of playing wonderfully done guitar solos in one or two positions.) But I feel as if the downfall of this entire system is that 1) the way it is generally taught is leads to the above issues I mentioned AND 2) it's solely useful for guitar*. Learning the intervals of scales and learning the notes of whatever instrument (be it guitar, bass, piano, violin, etc.) lends itself to being applied easily to any all instruments and eliminates some of the issues I mentioned above.

*While there are certain techniques like for every instrument, it seems that guitar teachers do a very bad job with "box shapes"; much more so than piano teachers teaching to "count sharps", for example.
That said, I suppose it's completely fine if you're only every going to play guitar.


Of course, I have many of the same above criticisms in regards to the CAGED system as well.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Jul 26, 2013,
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