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#1
Hey guys-

So I've been learning scales and sorts and i started reading some of the lessons here and online and from everything I've seen, there's the same basic shapes under both the major and minor pentatonic lessons. I don't really understand how if the 5 shapes fall under both categories how to make them major or minor. Could someone please clarify?
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#2
They are the same shapes but with differnt root notes.
"Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel."- Jimi Hendrix
#3
that's the impression i was getting so how does the root note alter it, whether its a normal note or a flat or sharp?
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#4
A major pentatonic is part of a major scale, a minor pentatonic is part of a minor scale, Aeolian, I think. It's simple as that.
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#5
I'm still confused, could someone give me an example of both please?
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#6
sure.

This is A minor Pentatonic 
e------------------------------------5--8--5------------------------------------------|
B-----------------------------5--8------------8--5------------------------------------|
G----------------------5--7---------------------------7--5----------------------------|
D---------------5--7-----------------------------------------7--5---------------------|
A--------5--7------------------------------------------------------7--5---------------|
E--5--8-------------------------------------------------------------------8--5--------|

This is A Major Pentatonic
e------------------------------2--5--2-------------------------------------------------|
B---------------------2--5---------------5--2------------------------------------------|
G--------------2--4-----------------------------4--2-----------------------------------|
D-----------2--4---------------------------------------4--2----------------------------|
A-----2--4----------------------------------------------------4--2---------------------|
E--5------------------------------------------------------------------5----------------|
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#7
so is the difference that first note in the scale?
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#8
Ypu need to learn the major scale first if you want to be able to understand this properly.
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#9
I've learned the major scale
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#10
no, the first note is the same, but instead of hitting the eighth fret after, you move to the 2nd fret A string.
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You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#11
so why does one do that? (I'm just learning theory as you can see)
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#12
Each major key has a relative minor. The relative minor of C major, for example, is A minor. A major key's relative minor uses the same notes as the major key, but with a different root note. Well, the pentatonic scale is derived from the major scale, so the same theory applies. Take the C major pentatonic scale for example. The notes are: C - D - E - G - A

Start on a C note on the low E string:


|----------------------------------------8-10---------
|-------------------------------8-10------------------
|-------------------------7-9-------------------------
|-----------------7-10--------------------------------
|---------7-10----------------------------------------
|-8-10------------------------------------------------



That's the basic box shape to play C major pentatonic. Notice anything? That's also one of the forms of A minor pentatonic! Remember how I said that A minor is the relative minor of C major? Well, the notes of A minor are A - C - D - E - G, just like the notes of C major pentatonic but starting on a different root.

Look at the box shape for the A minor pentatonic:



|-------------------------------5-8-------------------
|-------------------------5-8-------------------------
|-------------------5-7-------------------------------
|-------------5-7-------------------------------------
|-------5-7-------------------------------------------
|-5-8-------------------------------------------------



The second note of the A minor pentatonic scale is C, or the 8th fret of the low E string. If youtake this shape of the A minor pentatonic scale, and play starting on the second note, you will be playing the C major pentatonic. They use the same shapes and notes all across the fretboard, but have different root notes. Simple .
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#13
so does the major or minor really depend on the shape at all cuz now that i think about it the shape that you show with A minor is the only one ive really seen with minor scales. Or is everything based on root notes?
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#14
Quote by JWD32792
so does the major or minor really depend on the shape at all cuz now that i think about it the shape that you show with A minor is the only one ive really seen with minor scales. Or is everything based on root notes?

The shape on the fretboard doesn't matter.

What matters is the notes the scale contains and the intervals between them.
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#15
Could someone explain these please? None of the lessons on this site show much more than shapes
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#16
Well, to understand that you must understand the major scale and the minor scale. The notes of the A minor pentatonic are A - C - D - E - G. Well, the notes of the A major scale are A - B - C# - D - E - F# - G#. The notes of the A minor scale are A - B - C - D - E - F - G. So you can see why it's called the A MINOR pentatonic, because it's derived from the A minor scale.

This is important because if a song is in the key of A major you can't really use the A minor pentatonic scale because the notes will clash a lot. An A major chord, for example, has a C# note in it, which willclash horribly with the natural C of the A minor pentatonic. C and C# are half a a step away from each other, which is known as a minor second, which isn't exactly the most beautiful interval to be used harmonically.

I only showed you the relationship between C major and A minor to help you understand why the same patterns are seen. It is important to look at the relationship between A major pentatonic and A minor pentatonic and how each is used.
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#17
Quote by JWD32792
Could someone explain these please?
In music theory, guitar shapes don't matter at all; they are merely convenient ways of playing scales. Shapes will be ignored for this lesson.

A chord progression is in a key. If you have a C F C G7 (repeat) progression, that is clearly in the key of C major because the G7 leads so strongly back to C major. That progression uses the notes C D E F G A B. When you play the notes C D E F G A B over that progression, or any other C major progression, you are playing the C major scale.

Now, the key of A minor also contains the notes C D E F G A B. If you play those notes over a progression such as Am G F G (repeat) or any other A minor progression, you are playing in A minor.

A scale is defined by the root of the backing. If the backing is in C major, you're playing the C major scale. Likewise, if the backing is in Am, you're playing the Am scale.

Since Am contains the same notes as C major, Am is called the relative minor of C. C can also be considered the relative major of Am.

Because the scale is defined by the root and not the position, pattern, or box (since those are unique to the guitar and music theory applies to all instruments), playing the notes C D E F G A B over a C major progression means you're using the C major scale. If you play them over an Am progression, you're using the Am scale.

Likewise, if you play the notes of the C major pentatonic, C D E G A, over a C major progression, it is the C major pentatonic. If you play those notes over an Am progression, it is the Am pentatonic.

If you fail to understand something, please tell me the last thing you understood. We will repeat this process until you understand my entire post.

None of the lessons on this site show much more than shapes
Try the link in my sig. It covers everything I've said and expands on it. The wording is probably easier to understand as well. I can go through that lesson with you as well.

People, I appreciate your willing to help, but relative major and minor is a hard concept that should be taught in a unified manner. Please let me and only me deal with this thread from here on out.
#18
Yeah I guess the problem I'm facing is that I have ZERO music background and I'm teaching myself guitar (only been four months as well). I know a little bit of theory but I was focusing on the shapes cuz I haven't completely memorized the fretboard yet (working on it) and my ear isn't trained to recognize specific notes yet, more just if things sound right or not. So basically what I notice is that there's the major scale and the minor scale and those are just the different tone and semitone patterns, simple enough, easy to understand. But pentatonic, I don't exactly understand how it works, i see that it contains all the notes in the scale but the 4th and 7th in the scale, correct? The reason I'm so concerned about shapes at this point is because, like i said, that's what I kinda have to rely on for now because my ear isn't trained so if we could discuss this relation to both the theory and the shapes for now, I'm a visual learner so that'll help me too. Also if you think it's better, would this be more appropriate to discuss though series of PM's?
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#19
Unfortunately the shapes don't actually teach you anything, they're not important. All they are is where the scale happens to fall on the fretboard, that's it...the shape doesn't teach you anything about the scale itself, indeed because of the way the guitar is arranged the exact same shape can be used for multiple scales.

The shapes are there to help you use the scale and navigate round the fretboard, but as far as learning scales goes it's not a visual thing unfortunately, it's all about using your ears and old fashioned studying.
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#20
Quote by JWD32792
i see that it contains all the notes in the scale but the 4th and 7th in the scale, correct?
I only address questions and this is the only question I see. However, I will address it.

The major pentatonic scale is the major scale without the 4 and 7 tones. These often sound ugly over common major progressions, so they are often not played. Likewise, the minor pentatonic lacks the 2 and b6 which also often sound ugly.

The fact that you get the major pentatonic lacks the 4 and 7 means you know more than you think. Recognize your shortcomings, but give yourself credit when it is deserved.

If you have any other questions (and there must be questions and question marks involved; also, no "I don't get it" nonsense), feel free to post in this thread. If you PM me a theor question, I will respond in public for the benefit of others.

And Steve can be listened too in addition to me.
#21
Now I've seen that the answers that you need have already been posted here, so I am going to do my best to reinforce their importance to what you're trying to learn.

Pentatonic scales are a derivative of a regular seven note scale (not including the final root note), and they have five notes. A pentatonic scale is a scale that more or less takes out the 4th and 7th notes in the scale, which are considered nonessential.

Let's say you have a C Major scale, which has an interval pattern between notes of a whole step, a whole step, a half step, a whole step, a whole step, a whole step, and then a half step. Simplified, this is WWHWWWH.

The notes in that scale are C (the root), D, E, F, G, A, and B. Check the notes with the interval I gave you to see if it makes sense.


Because the interval between a E and F note and as B and a C note is one half step, there are not any flat or sharp notes in a C Major scale.


C Major Pentatonic takes out the 4th and the 7th notes, making a scale that is C(still the root), D, E, G, and A. Notice it takes out the F and the B notes, which are the 4th and 7th notes.

Let's move onto C minor, which is actually the relative minor to Eb Major, and has a different scale interval pattern, which is simplified as WHWWHW.

If you look, the minor scale interval looks like the major scale interval if you start at the 6th tone. That is why C minor is the relative minor scale to Eb Major; C is the 6th tone in Eb Major.

The notes in C Minor are C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, and Bb. Now check the interval I showed you to see if this makes sense.

To make a C Minor Pentatonic, follow the same procedure you did for C Major Pentatonic; take out the notes that are the 4th and 7th notes in its relative Major Scale, Eb Major. In Eb Major, the 4th note is Ab and the 7th is D. Because C minor starts on the 6th note of its relative Major, Eb Major, the 7th note, D, is just the second note, and the 4th note, Ab, is the sixth.
Making pentatonics isn't hard, you just have to follow the rules of the Major scale interval, and understand how they are related to certain relative minor scales. Because a minor scale begins on the 6th note of its relative Major scale, the 4th and 7th notes of that major that have to be taken out are actually the 2nd and 6th notes in the minor.

In C minor, the 2nd and 6th notes are D and Ab, respectively.

I hope that helped reinforce for you what the main points already presented are.

-Wes
#22
Okay so this all is starting to make sense but how do you determine which minors are relative to majors?
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#23
Relative scales share the same notes but have different roots, parallel scales have the same root but different patterns of intervals...so the relative minor scale is the one that has the same notes as the corresponding major scale.

If you start the major scale pattern from the 6th note in the scale you get the minor scale pattern of intervals, for example the relative minor of C major is A minor.
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#24
So the relative minor is the sixth note in a major scale?
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#25
Quote by JWD32792
So the relative minor is the sixth note in a major scale?

it's as simple as that.
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#26
Ha! Sweet it's starting to click, so to figure out which notes to ditch to form a minor pentatonic scale can i just take the 4th and 7th out of the relative major or should i take the 2nd ad 6th in the minor or does it make no difference?
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#27
Quote by JWD32792
Ha! Sweet it's starting to click, so to figure out which notes to ditch to form a minor pentatonic scale can i just take the 4th and 7th out of the relative major or should i take the 2nd ad 6th in the minor or does it make no difference?


The relative major is the exact same notes as the minor. They're just played in a different order.

So in C major for example, your major would be CDEGA, and your minor would be ACDEG

This link http://www.thedigitalguitar.com/?p=3 also may be of some help. It will allow you to visually connect all the scale boxes together in any key. No matter what anyone says, it is highly important to learn the basic scale boxes and how they connect across the neck of the guitar. You just need to be aware that a box or scale pattern is simply an easy way of remembering a scale, and that a scale is defined by notes and not boxes or positions.
#28
No yeah I realize it's in the notes, the shapes are just helpful for now because I don't know where all of the notes are yet, what are these parallels though that have been mentioned?
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#29
Quote by JWD32792
No yeah I realize it's in the notes, the shapes are just helpful for now because I don't know where all of the notes are yet, what are these parallels though that have been mentioned?


Yeah, I know, I was more mentioning as a disclaimer to avoid a rabid attack of the theory nuts here

A parallel scale is basically a scale that starts on the same root note, but contains different intervals. So basically A Major and A Minor are parallel, or A Major and A Dorian and so forth.

Edit: If you're just learning note placement on the guitar, I'd recommend starting with the low E and A strings first. And start with the notes on the 3rd 5th 7th 8th 10th frets. Those will consist entirely of natural notes. And you can use the dots on the neck as cues.
Last edited by icronic at Jul 29, 2008,
#30
Yeah like i can figure out what everything is when i think about it, just off the top of my head i'm still working on it. Back to my earlier question:

Quote by JWD32792
So to figure out which notes to ditch to form a minor pentatonic scale can i just take the 4th and 7th out of the relative major or should i take the 2nd ad 6th in the minor or does it make no difference?
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#31
Quote by JWD32792
Yeah like i can figure out what everything is when i think about it, just off the top of my head i'm still working on it. Back to my earlier question:


I already answered you. But I'll expand on what I said earlier.

The relative major and minor have the exact same notes.

So if you look at C major, C D E F G A B You'd remove the 4 and the 7 (F and B) to make it a major pentatonic.

Then look at A minor (C majors relative minor) A B C D E F G you'd remove the the 2 and the 6, which are the B and the F.

But as I said, both scales consist of the same notes. You're removing the F and B in both cases, it's easier to look at it like that first, and then figure out the intervals after.
#32
Okay, thanks for clarifying, so what i really need to do is just sort of start learning all the notes in all the keys of all the scales, sounds simple enough lol
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#33
Quote by JWD32792
Okay, thanks for clarifying, so what i really need to do is just sort of start learning all the notes in all the keys of all the scales, sounds simple enough lol


This is the good thing about scale shapes. If know your pentatonic boxes then you can play in any key you want. The shapes don't change, they just start in different places right.

I'm not sure how long you've been playing, but what you really need to know is the location of the notes on the E and A string. If you know them you can play any scale in any key, and that's not much to learn.

Once you know that then you'll probably want to delve into the circle of fifths as that will cover your scales and keys, and is a much more logical approach than pure note memorization.

See you really don't have to memorize every note in each key and it'd be a huge waste of your time if that's what you're talking about doing. As long as you know how to figure it out you're fine. I don't have any of it memorized, but it'd take me less than 10 seconds to figure it out.
#34
yeah i've been playing about four months but I'm good with math so i can figure things out pretty quickly off the top of my head, i have most of the E and A memorized. And that's what i like about the shapes, i have to think less and can just play
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#35
Quote by JWD32792
yeah i've been playing about four months but I'm good with math so i can figure things out pretty quickly off the top of my head, i have most of the E and A memorized. And that's what i like about the shapes, i have to think less and can just play


I think math does help you with theory. At least, the logical side of it is really similar.

I'm a beginner to theory myself, this thread helped me quite a bit.

If I can add my own questions, just reply right or wrong;

1-So about the relative thing, would I be right saying you're relative major would be the third note in your minor scale? Example; C is the third note in Eb minor.

2-Another question about scales I've been wondering. Might sound stupid but here it goes; playing in a certain scale means doing anything you want with the notes contained in the scale, right or wrong?

3-When you are playing multiple instruments, all instruments have to play in the same scale. Like if a rythmn guitarist plays in C major, the lead guitarist has to use the C major scale? Like when the progression is at A for example, everyones in A. I don't quite get the relation between the progression, key you're in and scales.

4-Are modes just scales? For example, you could just call the major scale Dorian and vice versa? Like do they work the same way as scales(only play notes included in it)?

5-And finally concerning scales and modes... when you are writing or improvising with them, does the root note/last note matter, or do you actually just have to play in the same key as the other instruments?

I reckon these might be stupid questions, but at least I'm trying!
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#36
Quote by Spike6sic6
I think math does help you with theory. At least, the logical side of it is really similar.

I'm a beginner to theory myself, this thread helped me quite a bit.

If I can add my own questions, just reply right or wrong;

1-So about the relative thing, would I be right saying you're relative major would be the third note in your minor scale? Example; C is the third note in Eb minor.

2-Another question about scales I've been wondering. Might sound stupid but here it goes; playing in a certain scale means doing anything you want with the notes contained in the scale, right or wrong?

3-When you are playing multiple instruments, all instruments have to play in the same scale. Like if a rythmn guitarist plays in C major, the lead guitarist has to use the C major scale? Like when the progression is at A for example, everyones in A. I don't quite get the relation between the progression, key you're in and scales.

4-Are modes just scales? For example, you could just call the major scale Dorian and vice versa? Like do they work the same way as scales(only play notes included in it)?

5-And finally concerning scales and modes... when you are writing or improvising with them, does the root note/last note matter, or do you actually just have to play in the same key as the other instruments?

I reckon these might be stupid questions, but at least I'm trying!



1. Eb Minor is not the relative minor to C Major. C minor is the relative minor to Eb Major, but not the other way around. A minor is the relative minor to C Major. You take the sixth tone out of the major.

2. Yes, you can do what you'd like, although you'll notice certain notes will sound better in conjunction with each other.

3. Each scale has certain chords that fill in a progression that is based off of the notes of the scale. You can certainly play more than one chord progression with a scale, but typically you want to stick with the scale related chords.

4. Modes are scales that start at a different point than its relative major scale. You can't called Dorian the same thing as a Major scale, because it isn't. Ionian, which is a mode that begins on the same notes as the Major scale and essentially is the same thing, is the only one you can. You probably don't want to dig into them yet. Keep on the other stuff.

5. I'm not totally sure what you're looking for answer wise on that last question, but the root note definitely is an important and defining part of any scale.
#37
So I'm still a little confused with the shapes cuz the must have some use if they exist. So if I want to play A minor, if i start on an A, certain shapes make A major don't they? Since there's five shapes that all kind of form that one big block, does which one you start on just determine whether you end up major or minor? I understand how major and minor work, i just dont see in relation to the scale shapes how they fit.
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#38
Quote by JWD32792
So I'm still a little confused with the shapes cuz the must have some use if they exist. So if I want to play A minor, if i start on an A, certain shapes make A major don't they? Since there's five shapes that all kind of form that one big block, does which one you start on just determine whether you end up major or minor? I understand how major and minor work, i just dont see in relation to the scale shapes how they fit.


The shapes serve no purpose on their own, they're just the physical location of the notes of the scale on the guitar fretboard. The notes form the scale, which is universal, the exist indepent of the guitar itself and they're what matters - the shape is just the pattern they happen to follow on your chosen instrument.

That means you can use them when playing to navigate round the fretboard and also as a quick visual reference for constructing licks and passages. However, they don't actually teach you anything about the scale itself.
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#39
I realize this, i understand what their use it for, i just don't really see how to apply them though, i mean i know that if i start on A I'm playing A minor or A major but obviously if i use the same shape i can't get both so how exactly do they work?
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#40
That's just it, you're not using "a shape"...you're using a scale, the shape is just there.
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