#1
In an Aminor blues chord progression, most players will typically go straight to the Amin pent box 1 pattern on the 5th fret to start, which obviously sounds great.

When I take my pent box 1 and move it up to the C and play the same box pattern over the Aminor progression it still sounds fairly good but has a somewhat jazzy feel to it....

WHY DOES THIS WORK!!!??? lol, Im assuming its a modal thing, but Im not quite there yet. If someone can explain using theory that would be great.

Cheers!
#2
Well, I'm going to risk sounding like an amateur here and try to explain my own thoughts on this. The notes that differ between the two scales are the root and the fourth of the A minor pentatonic scale. C minor pentatonic has Eb and Ab when A minor has E and A. It so happens that in A minor pentatonic, the Eb is the "blue note", which is notorious for sounding badass in blues. The blue note is basically the note a tritone above the tonic.

The Ab then acts as a leading tone for A. The leading tone is the tone a half step below the tonic, that creates tension that resolves beautifully when played right before the tonic.

So, by playing the C minor pentatonic, you accidentally played a scale with the two arguably best sounding borrowed notes for A minor blues. This was indeed a shoddy and hasty explanation, but I hope it helps. I just hope I didn't make a horrible mistake somewhere.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

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#3
^Close. Cm pent has no Ab. You get:

C Eb F G Bb

It probably sounds good-ish because pentatonic patterns have their own internal strength and logic, and can be superimposed over a variety of chords in a variety of ways. You still have the 3rds of Am Dm and Em (minor blues) in the scale, and can still retain harmonic clarity while adding the bluesy Eb and the modal-ish Bb.

It's not as distant of a sound as you'd think, it's a close connection. If you want distance, when you get to the Em chord play Bb pent.

Depending on how good your theory is you may want to look into this, but it might be too advanced.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1669910&highlight=jet+talks+jazz
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#4
The C minor pentatonic is c, e flat, f, g and b flat.
The A minor pentatonic is a, c, d, e and g.

They have 2 of the same notes: c and g, which are what make it sound "fairly good"
The C minor pentatonic has e flat, which is the a minor blues note as explained above.

An a minor blues chord progression would have chords like a minor, c major, g major, f major, d minor, and e major.

Over a g chord, the f note in the c minor pentatonic is the seventh.
Over an f chord, the e flat note is the seventh.
Over a c chord, the b flat note is the seventh.
Over an e chord, the b flat is a flat fifth.

All these (and more intervals that I won't go into because this reply would become way too long) are what give it the jazzy sound.
#5
I knew that there was something wrong In retrospect, I have no idea where the Ab came from, it is a note in C minor but pentatonics shouldn't be this hard Well, everyone makes mistakes.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#6
Awesome, thank you gents for the responses, they all made perfect sense!

A couple more questions- would playing the cminor be more effective over a certain chord in the progression, ie the i, iv or v chord? It seems to me when I am jamming it out, it sounds best only over certain parts and do not want to be intermingled at other parts.

Also, does this work in the same way over a major blues chord prog?

Cheers!!
#7
It probably wont sound great over either the e minor or e major chords (v and V), due to the dissonance between the e flat and b flat in the scale and the e and b in the chord. Really it depends exactly what notes you play. It could conceivably work over any chord in minor or c major , if you don't overuse the more dissonant intervals, like the minor seconds and tritones.

It also depends on the effect your going for. If you want a jazzy style solo, it can work pretty well, if used properly. If your going for something more conventional, it won't work as well.

To really tell which chords it works over, you need to go through each chord and and see how each note in the scale sounds over it.
#8
Sort of, Brennan. It's probably going to sound best over the Am chord, or in transitional moments between chords.

As you're playing with unstable harmony (with internal logic), it's going to sound best if you use it as sort of a counter-phrase or sequential development of standard Am pent stuff.

You might want to start looking into chord scale theory, and taking a more horizontal approach to improv., if this kind of thing floats your boat.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#9
Brennan,

You can play ANY note against ANY chord ... it's all about how you deal with any clashes that arise. E.g, it's a bad idea to play Bb against Am, and hold that Bb for a long time. It's a great idea to wrap notes either side of A, (e.g, A, Ab, A, Bb, A) ... but again these notes are played fleetingly.

The more commonality between the scale and the chord, the less clashes there are to deal with. If you were to play Bm pentaonic against Am, you'd get some very cool sounds happening, with no clashing.

The exact opposite, where you want to create a bot of sonic mayhem, is to play a scale a semitone above what the "correct" scale should be ... for example, against Am, start of Am pent, seque into Bb m pent, and finally come back to Am pent.

It's all about controlling dissonance ... that's one of the main drivers for making the listener want to expect stuff. You then do what they want, or not (to increase expectation).

cheers, Jerry