#1
I'm so used to playing in minor when doing improvisation solos. If i try to play a major pent. solo, half the time i end up sounding like im playing the relative minor scale.

I found that the when i play root note for the relative minor scale, is when it sounds minor in a different key.

i have no trouble of preventing the problem when im playing minor scale solos and accidentally sound like im playing the relative major scale.


So is the key to playing in a major scale to avoid the relative minor root note or use a little of those notes?
Last edited by musicandthewave at Oct 2, 2014,
#2
How's it going mate. The key to playing in a major key is to play in a major key.

Load up a major key backing track and play the major pentatonic over it. It will now sound like the major scale. It's not about avoiding certain notes in the scale - the chords make the key, not the scale.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#3
One simple thing is this: end your minor pentatonic run with the last two intervals of 1, b3.

(e.g. in A minor pentatonic, end with A, C)

The b3 is of course the 1 of the major pentatonic. This will help bring out the major flavour.

or end with b7, 1, b3 from minor penatonic. Really brings out major flavour.

If you end if b3, 1 you emphasise the minor aspect of the minor pentatonic

(Real problem is that its too easy top emphasis the 1, b3, 5, and b7 of the minor pentatonic, and hence bring its sound too much. Better to play the maj pentatonic and emphasise its 1, 3, 5 and 6)

cheers, Jerry

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Oct 2, 2014,
#4
^^^ This approach won't get work unless the song is in a major key. If the key is minor it will sound minor. If the key is major, it will sound major.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#5
Quote by AlanHB
How's it going mate. The key to playing in a major key is to play in a major key.

Load up a major key backing track and play the major pentatonic over it. It will now sound like the major scale. It's not about avoiding certain notes in the scale - the chords make the key, not the scale.


This is spot on.
#6
Quote by AlanHB
How's it going mate. The key to playing in a major key is to play in a major key.

Load up a major key backing track and play the major pentatonic over it. It will now sound like the major scale. It's not about avoiding certain notes in the scale - the chords make the key, not the scale.

This. Whether you are using the major or minor pentatonic has to do with what you are playing over. The same notes can get different functions if the backing track is different. If the backing track is in A minor, you can't make C major pentatonic sound like C major pentatonic. But if you decide to play A major pentatonic, it will sound like A major pentatonic (though it will also most likely not sound that great).

The same goes with A minor pentatonic over C major. It just doesn't sound like A minor because the key is not A minor. The key is C major and the notes of the A minor scale function like in C major (they are exactly the same notes as in C major scale).

So the main point is, your backing track defines the function of the notes. The notes C, D, E, F, G, A and B will sound like C major if played over C major backing track. But they will sound like A minor if played over A minor backing track.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#7
Quote by MaggaraMarine
This. Whether you are using the major or minor pentatonic has to do with what you are playing over. The same notes can get different functions if the backing track is different. If the backing track is in A minor, you can't make C major pentatonic sound like C major pentatonic. But if you decide to play A major pentatonic, it will sound like A major pentatonic (though it will also most likely not sound that great).

The same goes with A minor pentatonic over C major. It just doesn't sound like A minor because the key is not A minor. The key is C major and the notes of the A minor scale function like in C major (they are exactly the same notes as in C major scale).

So the main point is, your backing track defines the function of the notes. The notes C, D, E, F, G, A and B will sound like C major if played over C major backing track. But they will sound like A minor if played over A minor backing track.


what if you just want to improvise without a backing track?
#8
Totally bogus, I could post for days about how you can create harmony out of monophony.

the trick, Op, is the major third and sixth. Honestly, play it in a different pattern if that helps.
#9
Quote by musicandthewave
what if you just want to improvise without a backing track?


If you're improvising without a backing track (even if it's just a simple one-chord thing) than it's up to your phrasing to create a sense of a tonal center.

Probably what's happening is that your fingers have fallen into a set of muscle memory patterns which all say "minor" so, in absence of something to the contrary, you end up resolving your licks in such a way as that they imply minor.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that your ear isn't that great, that you tend to think of scale patterns as shapes of roughly-equal "safe" notes, rather than recognizing how each scale degree has its own unique relationship to the tonic. You need to start developing your ear.

And always work on your improvisations over a backing track. Simple ones, just something to give you a tonal center, because all of your phrasing needs to be relative to that tonal center. (Seriously, one chord is probably the best place to start).
#10
Quote by musicandthewave
what if you just want to improvise without a backing track?


Here's a tip if you want to play without a backing track . Play E major Pentatonic and keep occasionally hitting the low E open ( let it ring over your lines) and play the Emajor chord once in a while to drill that tonal center in your head.

You can do the same thing with A Major pentatonic and letting the A string ring out or the D Major Pentatonic by letting the D string ring out. The point is to make sure you're anchoring everything in relation with the major key center.

The problem your having, like most people who practice modes the wrong way, is that your brain is defaulting on the relative minor so even if your playing C major pentatonic, for example, your brain is interpreting it as A minor pentatonic.

If you want a good example of a tune that switches between major pentatonic and Minor ( so that you can feel the difference) learn Lenny from Stevie Ray Vaughan - he starts full on in E major and then dances between E major and minor pent. ( with the blues scale thrown in ). Note - The tune's in Eb ( tuned down a half step).
#11
Quote by musicandthewave
what if you just want to improvise without a backing track?


Then you have to have a good idea of what the imagined chord changes are, unless you're playing over a tonal center that never changes to imply other chords. If you do imply chord changes, you need to have command over those changes and know how to telegraph to the listener the sense of progression through the notes you play and accent, and when.

Country lead does this a lot, as they play pretty closely to the changes as opposed to just carpet bombing notes over a vamp.

I tend to see this skill as an advanced one, as virtually no beginner or intermediate has that level of command or understanding of the function of the notes, nor the familiarity with a given pitch collection or chord tones as the changes are made and would need to be implied, to pull it off.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Oct 2, 2014,
#12
Maybe I'm missing something in the OP, but I really don't see a problem here. If a person finds it easier to think about stuff in terms of minor, then he/she should do it that way.

A minor pentatonic: A C D E G A

C major pentatonic: C D E G A C

They have the same notes. They'll give you the same sound.

Quote by AlanHB
If the key is minor it will sound minor. If the key is major, it will sound major.


___

Quote by musicandthewave
what if you just want to improvise without a backing track?


Then that's a bit more difficult. You'll have to highlight the sound of the chord in the notes you are playing. As already suggested play with a backing or with a friend so you can hear the harmony of your solos, so when you play solo you'll be able to hear the harmony you want and be able to play it - and others will hear it too.
#13
Quote by UnmagicMushroom


A minor pentatonic: A C D E G A

C major pentatonic: C D E G A C

They have the same notes. They'll give you the same sound.

Same notes =/= same sound. (modes lol)

But yes, the harmonic context is what makes the difference.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Oct 2, 2014,
#14
Quote by AlanHB

Load up a major key backing track and play the major pentatonic over it. It will now sound like the major scale.


Well, it'll sound like the Major Pentatonic scale. add the 4th and 7th, and it'll sound like the Major scale.

Quote by musicandthewave
I'm so used to playing in minor when doing improvisation solos. If i try to play a major pent. solo, half the time i end up sounding like im playing the relative minor scale.



That's probably because you're actually playing over minor progressions half the time.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 2, 2014,
#15
If you are soloing without a backing track, it is more tough. Major pent and minor are same patterns. All the notes are good in either one. What makes the difference, is how you play the notes. How they center to whichever tonic.

One trick can be to drone the tonic you want. This will help you hear where you are wanting to be centered around.

Another can be to know your harmony, and build a progression in your mind as you solo.

Another, can be to just know what each sounds like intuitively.The first option mentioned above, can be a way to practice until you build this recognition.

You can also try switching between them. If you are playing minor pent, your brain will be thinking centered on the tonic that way. Switching to major, by sliding the pattern up, or however you want to do it, will provide a similar effect to if you had a drone going. But you may, after a bit, forget that, and start playing that in minor pent, idk.

Another, would be to not care, not play your guitar, but play the ideas in your mind, and whatever pent, or scale that may be, so be it.

I think it easy to think of a guitar as some puzzle you have to solve in order to unlock the secrets of music. But I prefer to think of it as, sort of a stereo/loud speaker from my brain. Like it is the stereo/speaker, and my brain is the mp3. If the mp3 isn't playing minor pent, it would be odd to try and fix the stereo/speaker so that it does.

The magic of music, to me, is not any pattern. Not any secret of what notes to play, and what not to play, or anything like that. There is no recipe you need to intellectually follow.

that's why, I think that if you always get stuck playing minor pent, you just need to teach your mind to think in major. Not in theoretical terms, like, not word thoughts, but in sound. Then, it will play all the right notes automatically.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Oct 2, 2014,
#16
Here's an idea - maybe start with E minor pentatonic and then start adding notes from the E major pentatonic. That way you will hear the key of E all the time. Also, mixing major and minor is pretty bluesy. Maybe that way you'll start hearing the major pentatonic as major pentatonic.

But yeah, it has to do with your note choice. If you end every phrase with an E instead of a G, it will sound like you are playing the E minor pentatonic.

You could also strum some chords in between the licks you play.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#17
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Also, mixing major and minor is pretty bluesy.

Indeed. Sliding the b3 + 6 tritone by semitone to 3 + b7 is the bluesiest thing ever. I always spam the shit out of that when I improv 12 bar blues
#18
To make my earlier post clearer, I',m talking about using A minor pentatonic against a piece in C major (the original question mentioned the relative aspects) ...

AlanHB, the suggestion works in that context. Try it. MaggaraMarine is saying the same thing, but E minor against G major.

But you're kind of right that it won't "work" if it was A minor pentatonic against a piece in A major. This can be made to work too, but only when blended with other ideas.

Same as A mixolydian ideas work very well against a piece in A major (though have to careful obver the tonic) due to the similarity of the keys.

Truth is, one can make any scale work in any context, provided the resolutions are handled properly, and provided the outside playing is transient.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Oct 3, 2014,
#19
Quote by jerrykramskoy
To make my earlier post clearer, I',m talking about using A minor pentanic against a piece in C major (the original question mentioned the relative aspects) ... So, AlanHB, the suggestion works in that context. Try it.


It sounds like the C major pentatonic scale. It IS the C major pentatonic scale in that context irrespective of what note you start/end on.

Quote by jerrykramskoy
But you're kind of right that it won't "work" if it was A minor pentatonic against a piece in A major. This can be made to work too, but only when blended with other ideas. Same as A mixolydian ideas work very well against a piece in A major (due to the similarity of the keys). cheers, Jerry


It'll work fine - it's simply employing accidentals. Pretty much every blues song ever made uses b7 and b3 accidentals in a major context.

Quote by bassallovertheplace
Totally bogus, I could post for days about how you can create harmony out of monophony.


I doubt anyone will disagree with you over this, but the TS is currently having issues establishing the sound without reference to a chord progression. For this reason it's best to start simple.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#20
You're missing the point.

100% right they are the same notes. The same is true of modes too, right. So, the question is how to bring out the sound, through emphasis of the appropriate notes, as you're rightly saying.

BUT ... consider you have someone that may be weak on the theory, and may have gone down the traditional route of learning the blues scale and minor pentatonic. Chances are they are going to try and reuse the licks they have right?

So my suggestion lets them do that, and add the final correction to still make it work.

Similar idea to minorisation ... do you never use that? It's really useful (e.g. playing related Dorian licks against Lydian, Mixolydian, Locrian). It reduces the learnign intially and sounds really musical.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Oct 3, 2014,
#22
Quote by jerrykramskoy
One simple thing is this: end your minor pentatonic run with the last two intervals of 1, b3.

(e.g. in A minor pentatonic, end with A, C)

The b3 is of course the 1 of the major pentatonic. This will help bring out the major flavour.



This seems like a confusing way to get to a point which I think has some validity.

If you're playing without a backing track, the question is - how can you imply a major or minor tonality?

The easiest answer to that question is by using licks that imply a tonic chord.

eg, if my first melodic phrase is something like C-E-EhFpE-G-C (h = hammer on, p= pulloff) that's pretty clearly outlining a C-major chord with a little embellishment. And then I can keep that feeling alive with my phrasing, usually by using short melodic lines that resolve strongly to C.

Whereas A-C^-C^-C^-E-A (where ^ is a little quarter tone bend) is going to sound pretty minor, in absence of other harmonic information. And again, you can keep that going by playing very intentionally and playing a series of melodic ideas that very clearly resolve to A.

However, I think it's kind of crazy to suggest this approach to someone who, I'm willing to wager, doesn't really know how to hear resolution yet. Much better, for now, for him to work with a backing track and learn to hear the resolution, first, while he's got the chord progression helping him. Especially beacuse, I suspect, he's locked into muscle-memory patterns that tend to feel minor.