#1
my instructor told me at my lesson today that i could play
an Amin pentatonic over an A7 chord and also an Amaj pentatonic
and an C#min pentatonic .

but they told me to avoid the G#in the C#min pentatonic ( C#-E-F#-G#-B)
which i get its a half step away from the G in the A7 ( A-C#-E-G )

but they didn't tell me to avoid the Min 3rd to Maj 3rd
which is also a half step away C to C# which A min pentatonic (A-C-D-E-G)
contains a C natural .

i know that blues uses the min3rd to Maj 3rd all the time
but why do they avoid the Min 7th to Maj 7th or why am i told to
and not the min to Maj 3rd ?
#2
I don't really like the way you're being taught, but the answer is "because you might not like the sound".

Of course you might like the sound, in which case, play it.

Are there any other chords in this song, or are you just playing over the one chord?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
Playing the major 7th over a dominant chord doesn't really infer a straight dominant sound over the A7. Try it. Playing the minor 3rd isn't as much of a big deal because you do play it all the time. In reality the minor 3rd over a dominant chord is the #9 sound. Think Hendrix's Foxey Lady chord. But in blues you hear it all the time so you're used to the sound. Playing the G# over an A7 infers an altered dominant chord in my opionion because its a certain note of a substitution of an A7 but thats just me. If you want you can play the G# but just be aware of what kind of sound you're going to get. You can absolutely play Amin and Amaj pentatonic and the C# minor pentatonic is more of a way of thinking about some of the nicer notes in a dominant chord.

In almost if not every chord the 3rd and the 7th are the guide tones, the more distinct playable tones. A7 - A C# E G and in C# minor pentatonic you have like he said C# E F# G# and B which are really nice notes over a dominant chord not only do you have the 3rd and the 7th, but you also have the 13th (F#) and the 9th (B). All four of those notes sounds pretty well over a dominant chord if you ask me. The G# like I said will aboslutely stand out over an A7. If it makes it any easier you can think of playing D major notes which has a G in it because A7 is the V chord in the key of D. C# minor pentatonic will work, its got good notes but just watch out for the G#.
#4
My bad you have the 3rd and the 5th using C# minor pentatonic. C# and E. The 7th is what playing the G instead would do over an A7 and the guide tones are what make up most of the color of a four note chord like a dominant chord these notes lead somewhere.
#5
Quote by AlanHB


I don't really like the way you're being taught,

Are there any other chords in this song, or are you just playing over the one chord?



this person knows there stuff i just got to thinking about half steps and chord tones.

its just a 1 chord vamp over an A7 chord


@CattierGizmo92 great explanation : i think i got it , it was odd that one half step
is exceptable min 3rd to maj 3rd and the other wasn't min 7th to maj 7th
when avoid tones in jazz are usually the half step tones as in maj#11 chord
you # the 11 to avoid the half step of the maj 3rd and P4 (11th) in the chord
or drop the 3rd all together .

im not a jazz player i just know they try to avoid some clashing tones .
and was needing an explanation
Last edited by ssob at Dec 29, 2013,
#6
Anytime man glad it helped. I kind of figured the A7 was isolated for explanation purposes or might've been in a blues but I'm happy it helped. In jazz there are specific sounds you can get over dominant chords but with musicality there's a lot you can justify over a dominant chord. I was playing around with the maj7th over a dominant chord and even over some alterations and even a bunch of substitutions and it was hard for me to like it. You could think bebop scale but it's nothing more than a passing tone in that context. I originally thought you might've been talking about the A7 in a blues context, like the IV chord in an E blues hence the mention of C# minor pentatonic. The G# in that E blues context would be great over the I chord.
#7
Quote by ssob
this person knows there stuff i just got to thinking about half steps and chord tones.


Really. What would happen if you encountered a song that went E - A7 - B7. If this were the case then these scales would not be very helpful or correct even though it has an A7.

Quote by ssob
its just a 1 chord vamp over an A7 chord


Then why even talk about C#m?

It seems like he's teaching a very basic version of CST.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#8
@AlanHB: From an instructor's stand point he was probably just explaining certain sounds over a dominant chord and a particular way to understand them. And C# minor by the way is the relative minor of E major so C# minor pentatonic would be one of those scales that would sound ok over an E chord in that progression you suggested and even the A7 aside from the G#. Moreoever his instructor is probably trying to explain some of the concepts of using chord tones when improvising and in the same idea you could think of the same thing over each chord. Major and minor pentatonic scales each give certain chord tones and sounds over different chords, which is probably the usefulness of understanding these concepts.
#9
Quote by ssob

i know that blues uses the min3rd to Maj 3rd all the time
but why do they avoid the Min 7th to Maj 7th or why am i told to
and not the min to Maj 3rd ?


The short answer to this is to listen to it.

The tension between the major and minor third is a sound that just sort of works. (There's a quarter-tone third in a lot of non-western music. It's widely recognized that there are a lot of good sounds in that area).

Whereas the min7-maj7-root gives you a lot of sonic mush, in my opinion. But listen to it. See what you hear.
#10
Well M7 over a dominant just sounds goofy: play x05654

If you want a good theory exercise, take each of those scales you listed and stick the A7 chord notes right in there. See what interval patterns come up, and see which ones don't.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 29, 2013,
#11
Quote by CattierGizmo92
@AlanHB: From an instructor's stand point he was probably just explaining certain sounds over a dominant chord and a particular way to understand them. And C# minor by the way is the relative minor of E major so C# minor pentatonic would be one of those scales that would sound ok over an E chord in that progression you suggested and even the A7 aside from the G#.


The E chord was not in the instructors progression, it was in mine, and in that context I'd call it the E major scale.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
Instead of A major pentatonic + C# minor pentatonic, why not just talk about the A major scale? Because A maj pent + C#m pent is almost all notes on A major scale (A B C# E F# G# - A major scale without the fourth, D). And since the song is in A major, I don't see a point in talking about C# minor - I would just call it the A major scale. Yes, playing C# minor pentatonic makes you of course emphasize different notes (because you aren't "allowed" to play certain notes). But IMO it changes your thinking to the wrong key. You are still playing in A major and everything is related to the tonic. Also, C# minor pentatonic has one less note (A) and one more note (G#) to it. And if your teacher said don't play G#, the scale is exactly the same as A major pentatonic - it just lacks the A note. So actually you aren't even playing a different scale.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#13
Ask your teacher how he came to derive the C# minor pentatonic scale over the A7 chord. I'm very interested to know his method. I have my thoughts on it already.

There are methods of how to utilise pentatonic substitution, much like Eric Johnson, and will expand on that in this thread if you like, but I would like to know your teacher's method of how he derived this pentatonic scale.
#14
Quote by mdc
Ask your teacher how he came to derive the C# minor pentatonic scale over the A7 chord. I'm very interested to know his method. I have my thoughts on it already.

There are methods of how to utilise pentatonic substitution, much like Eric Johnson, and will expand on that in this thread if you like, but I would like to know your teacher's method of how he derived this pentatonic scale.


sure ill ask them this afternoon for a better explanation and
give everybody a better detail , it be nice to hear this approach ur talking about MDC

BTW thx to everyone
Last edited by ssob at Dec 30, 2013,
#16
have to wait till after the holiday everything is a bit hectic till my next lesson
if u would like MDC explain the approach like eric johnson u described very
interested .
#17
Sorry bud, been a little busy too! Ok,

Pentatonic substitution. Sounds flash, but its very simple if you have your theory basics together. The part that requires work and dedication is application.

Application will get the sound in your ear, so when your on the bandstand, you don't "think", you just "do it". That's what improvisation is.

Diatonic means belonging to the scale.

You can build a minor chord off of the ii, iii and vi degrees of the major scale. The corresponding minor pentatonic scale also belongs at these degrees. The 5 notes in the pentatonic scales built off these degrees will not fall outside the key.

This concept applies to every chord built on each degree of the scale.

So your chord was A7. The V in the key of D major. The ii, iii and vi degrees of the D major scale are?

So straight away you have three choices of pentatonic scale to use over the V chord. Lets look at E minor pentatonic first which is from the ii degree of the D major scale, it also happens to be a chord tone from A7, the perfect 5th.

The notes will create a 7sus4 sound. Alternatively, flatten the D a semitone, and you'll retain the major 3rd, C#.

The iii degree is F#. The pentatonic scale from here will add a 6th (13th) tension note.

The vi degree is B which will give you B(9), D(11), E(5), F#(13), and A(R).


Non diatonic approaches would involve isolating the chord tones, and building pentatonics from there. So A, C#, E and G minor pentatonic. They require certain notes to be altered by a semitone, which will target altered tensions that lie within the melodic minor scale.

The above is all theory. Musical application, phrasing, and not letting the shape of the scales dictate your fingers is a different ball game.

You need to own the scale, not the other way around.
#18
If you're gonna start using altered tones in your scale then you're better off learning the Altered Dominant Scale.

For the A7 Chord:

Dmaj = A B C# D E F# G A (A mixo)

AD Scale = A Bb B# C# D# F(natural) G A

The altered dominant scale gives you all the altered tones of a Dominant Chord:

Root - b9th - #9th - 3rd - #11th - no 5th - b13 - 7th - Root

All this pentatonic stuff just slows you down with too many things to think about.

If your teacher is trying to get you into using altered tones then he/she needs to be straightforward about it instead of hiding it through all this pentatonic bs.
Last edited by Deadds at Jan 2, 2014,
#19
I'd look at these as chord tones rather than scales. Scales can be derived after the fact.

So you've got your A7 - A C# E G.

Now, all those notes matter, but which notes give it the dominant 7 sound? It's the tritone between C# and G. Those two notes both resolve by half step very strongly to the I chord (here, D): C#>D, and G>F#. That half step motion has a naturally strong pull to resolve, especially from the tritone interval - that's musical Tension.

Since that tritone provides the tension, those other two notes - A and E- are just weight. They reinforce the sound of what chord you're on, but they don't really add to the color of the chord. So change it up!

So go back to those scales your teacher gave you: A maj pentatonic, A min pentatonic, and C#minor pentatonic (no 5). Let's put the A7 chord tones in those scales and see where they end up

A maj pentatonic: A B C# E F# A
Add the A7 notes: A B C# E F# G A

Lots of notes in common - using the scale only adds one note.

Try the Amin: A C D E G A
Add the A7 notes: A C C# D E G A aka A B# C# D E G A

Most of the same notes, but that C and C# sound funny, and look funny written. Since there's no B in that scale yet, let's call that C natural a B#. The minor third in the minor pentatonic scale clashes with the C# in the chord, which gives you a very Bluesy sound. It's actually called a Blue Note.

And lastly, the C#min pentatonic (no 5)
C#m pent: C# E F# B C#
Add the A7 notes: A B C# E F# G A

That looks familiar - you get the same scale as when you played Amaj pentatonic over the chord.

----------

Where this gets interesting is when you take those scales and turn them back into chords

So take the scales, in the same order as above, and arrange them in thirds to spell a chord

A B C# E F# G A becomes A C# E G B F# - A13 chord
A B# C# D E G A becomes A C# E G B# - A7#9 (scale degree 1 is not typically played as a chord tone on V).

You can work with other variants of the key of D, as well.

Try D harmoni minor - D E F G A B C# D.

Rearrange to start on A for the A7 chord - A Bb C# (D) E F G A

In thirds to spell a chord: A C# E G Bb F

Chord: A7b9b13, a beautifully tense chord

And so on.
#20
Srry MDC . Forgot about this thread , it's basically just taking the familiar pentatonic shape
That everyone learns first and incorporates all the notes of an A7 dominate scale
By utilizing all the minor pentatonic's .

So if u take the pentatonic's I listed and a couple more u know they end up with
All the A7 scale notes .

Hope this makes sense if not just ask and I can clarify for ya .

EDIT: thx for all the insight and reply's from everyone .
Last edited by ssob at Jan 15, 2014,