#1
A minor pentatonic consists of: A, C, D, E, G.
However, if I want to do a chord progression of I-V-vi-IV in A, wouldn't this be A -E - Fm - D (I would use F5 for my application, I don't even know if there is an Fm).

So I am working on something like this:
E|-----------------------------
B|-----------------------------
G|--2----2----2--0-------------
D|--2----2----------2--2----2--
A|--0----0------------- 2----2--
E|-------------------------------
(kind of crappy but you get the idea, that should be an E5 on last two)

So the pattern is CHORD CHORD note note note CHORD CHORD and want to build back up to (I thought F for the vi chord) but F is not part of the A minor pentatonic scale.

Am I totally missing something?
Epi G400 '66 Reissue
w/ Airline Vintage Voiced Single Coil Pickups
#2
The minor pentatonic is derived from the minor scale. In the case of A, the minor scale would be comprised of A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Using the chords from the scale, your vi would actually be a VI, and it would be F (F-A-C). However, your song is in A major. In A major, the diatonic vi would be F#m.

The part you are missing, however, has nothing to do with any of that. What you are missing is that you don't need to limit yourself to any scale. You can use whichiever notes or chords you think sound good. So if you like the sound of A -E - Fm - D (which I assume is why you wanna use it) go for it. If you think the way you are thinking, none of the chords you are using are found in the A pentatonic minor scale. You are using A, which has a A-C#-E, E which is E-G#-B, Fm (F-Ab-C-) and D (D-F#-A).
So don't be limited by the scale. Think in keys, not in scales.
Quote by Xiaoxi
The Byzantine scale was useful until the Ottoman scale came around and totally annihilated it.
#3
Ok. I don't mean to repeat myself here, just trying to understand.

So if my chord progression is in the key of Am (I read that A5 are "neutral" so you can use either major or minor), I should use A minor pentatonic?
Now, in my head and on paper, I am starting with A5, with 3 notes after to the E note on the D string (I believe) than hit two E5's. If my chord progression is to F5 next, the three next notes, if I follow the pattern, the third note would be to an F note. However, the F note is not in the A minor pentatonic scale as I know it as a shape (don't curse me, I am slowly learning the notes which led me to this question).

BUT if I understand mrkeka correctly, I could literally use any combo of notes regardless of scale and if it sounds good, it is ok?
Epi G400 '66 Reissue
w/ Airline Vintage Voiced Single Coil Pickups
#4
Yes.

Again, as I said, you are in the key of A minor. The notes which are diatonic (ie, occur naturally) to the key of A minor are A, B, C, D, E, F and G. The minor pentatonic is just a reduction of the minor natural scale, so the F chord is still diatonic. But in the end of the day, what runs the show are your ears. Theory may explain why some things sound good, or bad, or in a certain way, but it should not be used to dictate how you compose.
Also, you are worrying about things in the wrong order. Do you know the difference between a scale and a key? Because you should definetely worry more about the latter than the former.
Quote by Xiaoxi
The Byzantine scale was useful until the Ottoman scale came around and totally annihilated it.
#5
From what I know, the key is the "tonal center" of a piece and often resolves on it.

A scale is an arrangement of notes that will sound good based on the key of a song.

(I know it is way more in depth than this, but for sake of argument, this is as simple-beginner as it may come. Trust me, I have lots more to learn about this stuff, I just am trying to apply and learn at the same time, maybe not a good idea).

For example, a song in the key of G may not sound well if you play a minor scale of A with it/over it.

Or am I completely off the rails?

FYI - Your further explanation is sinking in. Thanks for your time and information.
Epi G400 '66 Reissue
w/ Airline Vintage Voiced Single Coil Pickups
Last edited by Killsocket at Mar 10, 2014,
#6
In simple terms, that is pretty much it.
But pay attention to one thing you said:

Quote by Killsocket

For example, a song in the key of G may not sound well if you play a minor scale of A with it/over it.


In a way, you can think of a scale a a collection of "safe notes" in a key. But they are not, by any means, the only notes you can use in a key. You can use all 12 notes, if it sounds good to you. Hell, you can even use it if they sound bad, if that is your intent.

If you wanted, you could use a progression made of A - E - F - D, and use the minor pentatonic over it, if that gets you the sound you want. Or use Am - Em - Fm - D, or Am - E - F - D, or A5 - E5 - F5 - D5. You have to find what your ears are looking for.
Quote by Xiaoxi
The Byzantine scale was useful until the Ottoman scale came around and totally annihilated it.
#7
Quote by Killsocket


For example, a song in the key of G may not sound well if you play a minor scale of A with it/over it.

Or am I completely off the rails?


You picked a bad example.

G major= G A B C D E F#
A minor= A B C D E F.

And the minor 7th is a really common accidental - probably the most common, in fact.

That being said, I think it's better to get away from thinking in terms of playing a scale, and to move to terms of using a scale to describe the sounds your playing. You play sounds. Sometimes those sounds fit neatly in a scale. Sometimes they don't. But the sounds are what's important, what you need to be thinking in terms of, not the scales.
#8
Quote by Killsocket
For example, a song in the key of G may not sound well if you play a minor scale of A with it/over it.

Well...let's get into that...


Let's explain the why of all this. The diatonic notes (read: the 7 notes of the key signature) of the key of G major are: G, A, B, C, D, E, & F#. Now, keep in mind that we're in the key of G major (meaning everything will resolve to the Gmajor chord). The notes of the A minor pentatonic scale are: A, C, D, E, & G. (Note: we can call the scale "A minor pentatonic" or "A supraExoBlahBlahBlah". But because we're in the key of Gmajor, the scale name doesn't actually matter. The NOTES are all that matter, because notes help us describe sound.) Ok...so, all of the notes of the Aminor pentatonic are actually already included in the diatonic notes of Gmajor. What that means is we're not causing any potential note clashes.

One other important thing. Let's assume we're still in the key of Gmajor. We're not limited to playing JUST the 7 notes of the key signature. We can literally play any note in any key signature. It's all about HOW we do it, in order to create a "good" sound. (Think of a "good" sound as one that fits the sound we're going for.) So, we could play a melody that includes Bb or F or C#. It all depends on how we do it. In general, guitar players try to avoid heavy notes clashes (such as playing a C# note over a Cmajor chord). But there aren't any hard rules here. If you can make a note clash sound "good", go for it.


Does that all make sense?
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 10, 2014,
#9
Thanks everyone, everything does make sense I guess.

So if it sounds good to descend to an F note on the three notes before the F5, just do it. And this guideline is applicable all over the place. So in the realm of this question, very high level, scales are guidelines so to speak? Sort of a helper or cheat sheet? I am not trying to diminish them, but for my specific application, it is all on what you hear.

If it sounds good, do it. If it doesn't, don't do it.

Still lots and lots to learn.
Epi G400 '66 Reissue
w/ Airline Vintage Voiced Single Coil Pickups
#10
Quote by Killsocket
Thanks everyone, everything does make sense I guess.

So if it sounds good to descend to an F note on the three notes before the F5, just do it. And this guideline is applicable all over the place.

Exactly.

So in the realm of this question, very high level, scales are guidelines so to speak? Sort of a helper or cheat sheet? I am not trying to diminish them, but for my specific application, it is all on what you hear.

Ermmm...no. Scales can be used as a guideline. But it's better to think in terms of keys. So, assume we're in the key of Gmajor. What notes sounds good to you, when you play them over a progression in the key of Gmajor?
I would suggest training your ear a bit, to understand how specific notes/intervals* sound over certain chords. Get those sounds in your ear, man!

*To understand intervals, see these:
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/30
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/31
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/32
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/33

If it sounds good, do it. If it doesn't, don't do it.

Yes.

Still lots and lots to learn.

Same as all of us.