#1
I posted this in Guitar Basics a long time ago, but I think it's more suited for this forum.

I need some kind of fresh way to view the pentatonic minor scale.
I end up playing very similar licks, and I just need something to jump start my leads.


I'm trying to venture into pentatonic major, but mixing the two successfully in one run or solo is still escaping me. I'm getting better at it, though. Playing the V minor pentatonic over the V chord sound cool, too.

Any other ways I can get into something new? Anyone got some cool blues licks I can learn and mutate? Or maybe just a new scale to fool around with?

A couple of players I've really been admiring lately would be Joe Perry of Aerosmith and the Slash/Izzy combo of GnR. Anyone got any tips relating to them?
#2
Quote by forsaknazrael
I'm trying to venture into pentatonic major, but mixing the two successfully in one run or solo is still escaping me.

Why would you use the pentatonic major AND minor in one run? Better yet, HOW would you go about doing that?

Use major in major keys, use minor in minor keys as a rule of thumb.


If you're in a bad pentatonic minor rut, using the major scale a lot more might help out a bit. 2 extra notes can make a big difference. Your phrasing from one scale will kinda carry over to the other scale but with different possibilities.


Edit:

Quote by metal4all
2 extra notes can make a big difference.
Quote by steven seagull
...another 2 notes to worry about but it makes all the difference...

I see a similarity...
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Last edited by metal4all at Aug 1, 2008,
#3
Easiest thing to do is switch up to the full minor scale, there's only another 2 notes to worry about but it makes all the difference. Focus more on the chord shapes you're following too and don't shy away from inluding the chord tones in your soloing.

Also, how are you using the scale - as in how do you normally end up playing when you try to improvise? Do you tend to find yourself moving up and down the scale in a single position or do you move up and down the neck a lot, do you tend to play the intervals sequentially or do you mix things up?
Actually called Mark!

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#4
Quote by forsaknazrael

I need some kind of fresh way to view the pentatonic minor scale.
I end up playing very similar licks, and I just need something to jump start my leads.

I'm trying to venture into pentatonic major, but mixing the two successfully in one run or solo is still escaping me.

Any other ways I can get into something new? Anyone got some cool blues licks I can learn and mutate? Or maybe just a new scale to fool around with?


Do you know all five pentatonic shapes?
#5
one way to get out of such a rut is to learn some new material or look for new artists. When i discovered the blues my playing really changed alot. Try people like BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall ii and Eric Clapton. Learn some of their style of playing and a whole new world of pentatonics will be unlocked!
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#6
Quote by mdc
Do you know all five pentatonic shapes?

I'm pretty good with them up to the awkward one.
Quote by steven seagull
Easiest thing to do is switch up to the full minor scale, there's only another 2 notes to worry about but it makes all the difference. Focus more on the chord shapes you're following too and don't shy away from inluding the chord tones in your soloing.

Funny you mention that, I just started practicing that 5 minutes ago.
Quote by steven seagull
Also, how are you using the scale - as in how do you normally end up playing when you try to improvise? Do you tend to find yourself moving up and down the scale in a single position or do you move up and down the neck a lot, do you tend to play the intervals sequentially or do you mix things up?

I find myself using the same intervals a lot.

Quote by metal4all
Why would you use the pentatonic major AND minor in one run? Better yet, HOW would you go about doing that?

Whaddya mean? BB King and Angus Young do it all the time. Okay, if you're "Box 1" of the pentatonic minor, move up 3 frets, and keep that same box pattern in mind. Tada! Major pentatonic. It's a matter of learning how to fluidly mix the the two, though.
#7
Quote by forsaknazrael
Whaddya mean? BB King and Angus Young do it all the time. Okay, if you're "Box 1" of the pentatonic minor, move up 3 frets, and keep that same box pattern in mind. Tada! Major pentatonic. It's a matter of learning how to fluidly mix the the two, though.

The scale depends on the chords, sir.

Edit: I mighta read it wrong but idk. I don't know the whole, box dealie.


See how you like the natural minor scale after another 5 minutes. Tis a great scale compared to the pentatonic minor.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#9
Quote by forsaknazrael
Well, with power chords, there's a lot of tonal ambiguity. So using major/minor pentatonic over them isn't a problem. Like I said, Angus does it a lot.

No ****. Like I said, I might've read it wrong because I don't know the whole box dealie. I also figured that if you're JUST now using the natural minor scale that you would probably be sticking to the "safe", staying in key, soloing, instead of crap like I do (pitch-axis/throwing in different crap whenever)
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#11
I posted this in somebody elses thread, it's something that I found really helped to open up the neck for me. Basically you need to start "seeing" more possibilities on the fretboard, understanding how closely linked together chords and scales are really helped me, I pretty much look at them as the same thing.

In E minor, for example, if you want to play with thirds you could look at these notes...


e|--------------------
B|--------------------
G|-12-11-9--7-5-4-2-0-
D|-14-12-10-9-7-5-4-2-
A|--------------------
E|--------------------



If you look at a full fretboard diagram of the E minor scale you'll see that they're all the notes on the D and G strings. They're also the middle two notes of all the chords of the E minor progression, assuming you were playing full 6 string barre chords...they're actually the root (well, technically the octave of the root) and third of each chord in the progression. Each note on the G string is two notes further along in the E minor scale than its counterpart on the D string.

You'll notice they're great fun to muck around with...play them individually or as double stops, or for a simple but effective shred-sounding lick slide between the notes on the G string but pick the notes on the D...sounds a bit Vai-ish if you do it quickly, like this.



e|---------------------------------------------------------
B|---------------------------------------------------------
G|----12s11--11s9-----9s7----7s5----5s4----4s2----2s0-----
D|-14------12------10------9------7------5------4------2---
A|---------------------------------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------------------------


5ths aren't as harmonically interesting for stuff like that but they're still useable, the 5th is a constant interval whereas the shift between minor and major thirds is what makes them sound so pleasing. however 5ths are perhaps more useful as a reference note within the scale, for example the 5th is a good place to start a run from if you find yourself stuck inthe rut of starting from the root all the time


That sequence of notes is pretty simple to learn, and because it's thirds the sounds are very recognisable...you know if you play it wrong because it doesn't sound right. More to the point, those notes is a 1/3 of the entire natural minor scale. Learning it as paired notes helps you get used to the intervals between strings and also steers you away from getting stuck in boxes. Also, make sure you learn the chord progression of the scale too. As an exercise get a piece of paper and draw a fretboard on it, up to the 14th fret will do. Then draw out the chords of the Em chord progression as full barre chords, from the open strings to the 12th fret...

Em F#dim G Am Bm C D Em

Just play each chord on your guitar, then do a little circle on every note you fret, and don't worry if any are doubled up. When you've finished you'll have a load of overlapping chord shapes, and if you compare it to a diagram of the full E minor scale across the whole fretboard you'll see that simply by learning the chord progression derived from the scale you've actually learned 90% of the notes in the scale pattern.

Exposing yourself (oo-er!) to the scale in as many ways as possible is the best way I've found to help you learn them. Don't just learn the notes, don't just learn the patterns, approach it from every possible angle to help you better understand it. Also, bear in mind that when you use E minor pentatonic then technically you're already using the E minor scale, it just so happens that you didn't use a couple of notes.
Actually called Mark!

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Last edited by steven seagull at Aug 1, 2008,
#12
Quote by forsaknazrael
Okay, okay...chill.

Well, if you do pitch-axis crap, then think of it as using selective notes of the Dorian mode, sicne when you overlap E minor and E Major pentatonics, it becomes E Dorian.

I am chill. My house is freezing. [/sad attempt to humor]

I understand what you're doing now. I didn't get it when you first said it because you used box shapes as an example and I'm not too fond of them.

It's kinda like pitch-axis. You're using parallel scales for the same thing.


Quote by steven seagull
Basically you need to start...Exposing yourself...in as many ways as possible...approach it from every possible angle to help you...bear in mind that...minor... technically you're already using the...minor..., it just so happens that you didn't use a couple...

“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Last edited by metal4all at Aug 1, 2008,
#13
also use the relative major of the scale your playing in. if you play A minor pentatonic, mix the C major scale in with it.
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#14
Quote by McGelie
also use the relative major of the scale your playing in. if you play A minor pentatonic, mix the C major scale in with it.


If you play the notes of the C major scale over an Am chord progression then you're just playing in A minor.

Definition of relative scales - scales that contain the same notes but have different tonal centres. If you don't change the tonal centre then the scale can't change either.
Actually called Mark!

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#15
Quote by metal4all
I am chill. My house is freezing. [/sad attempt to humor]

I understand what you're doing now. I didn't get it when you first said it because you used box shapes as an example and I'm not too fond of them.

It's kinda like pitch-axis. You're using parallel scales for the same thing.

Yeah, that's what I figured, when I learned about Satch's Pitch Axis theory stuff..

I know of it a little bit (which really means nothing), would you care to go into some more?

mark - Thanks! I really appreciate it. I just made myself a bunch of bacon, and a stuffed omelet thingie, so I'm going to go eat that nao, but when i come back I'm going to read up on it.
#16
Quote by forsaknazrael
Yeah, that's what I figured, when I learned about Satch's Pitch Axis theory stuff..

I know of it a little bit (which really means nothing), would you care to go into some more?

mark - Thanks! I really appreciate it. I just made myself a bunch of bacon, and a stuffed omelet thingie, so I'm going to go eat that nao, but when i come back I'm going to read up on it.

3rd post, here: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=187159


Satch kinda talks about it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTQolymKmDA&feature=related


Satch's words from a lesson:

"Pitch Axis" Theory by Joe Satriani

The principle is that any number of harmonic settings can be linked by the same tonal center. If you're in C major (C D E F G A B C ) for, say, four bars and in C minor (C, D, E flat, F, G, A flat, B flat) for the next four: the major and minor keys share the same tonic, C and this note is a center. It's a pivot on which you shift harmonies. You could then take four bars in C Phrygian (C, D flat, E flat, F, G, A flat, B flat), and then four in C Mixolydian (C D E F G A B flat).

Thus, one pitch provides an axis point for the scales and chords of variety of harmonic situations.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#18
What he meant was alternating between relative major and minor shapes.

I'd recommend familiarizing yourself with the theory behind the scales if you haven't already. The intervals mainly. One immediate advantage is you'll be able to transfer ideas between octaves with no lapse in having to match it up with a shape.
#20
Quote by forsaknazrael

Whaddya mean? BB King and Angus Young do it all the time. Okay, if you're "Box 1" of the pentatonic minor, move up 3 frets, and keep that same box pattern in mind. Tada! Major pentatonic. It's a matter of learning how to fluidly mix the the two, though.


I think you have it backwards. You move DOWN 3 frets. ie if I was playing
E minor pent at fret 12, I'd move the same shape down to fret 9 and that would
be E major pent.

However, I mostly wouldn't do that (is that what you're trying to do?). If I was
mixing E minor and E major pents together (say to give a bluesy sound over
an E major where the E major was the I chord), I'd most likely be switching
between the 2 shapes at the same fret position.
#21
Quote by forsaknazrael
Whaddya mean? BB King and Angus Young do it all the time. Okay, if you're "Box 1" of the pentatonic minor, move up 3 frets, and keep that same box pattern in mind. Tada! Major pentatonic. It's a matter of learning how to fluidly mix the the two, though.
Wait a minute, do you mean something like playing a C minor pentatonic and then moving up to an Eb minor pentatonic? Because that doesn't result in a major pentatonic at all. In fact(assuming you're in C minor) it'll yield some very unpentatonic notes(b5, which is fine as its bluesy and all, b6, one of the notes you're trying to avoid by using pentatonics, and a b2, which in most key-based music, just sounds flat-out weird).

EDIT:
Quote by edg
I think you have it backwards. You move DOWN 3 frets. ie if I was playing
E minor pent at fret 12, I'd move the same shape down to fret 9 and that would
be E major pent.

However, I mostly wouldn't do that (is that what you're trying to do?). If I was
mixing E minor and E major pents together (say to give a bluesy sound over
an E major where the E major was the I chord), I'd most likely be switching
between the 2 shapes at the same fret position.
, that makes so much more sense now. Anyway, TS, I'd find that only works if you're playing blues or something blues-based. Also, if you are playing blues or something blues-based, have you considered the blues scale? That b5 will give you quite a bluesy sound.
Last edited by grampastumpy at Aug 1, 2008,
#23
Quote by edg
I think you have it backwards. You move DOWN 3 frets. ie if I was playing
E minor pent at fret 12, I'd move the same shape down to fret 9 and that would
be E major pent.

However, I mostly wouldn't do that (is that what you're trying to do?). If I was
mixing E minor and E major pents together (say to give a bluesy sound over
an E major where the E major was the I chord), I'd most likely be switching
between the 2 shapes at the same fret position.

Yeah, mixing the two results in E Dorian. It's pretty interesting, but I still have to find some nice licks for it.
#24
A couple of things that you can do with pentatonics to get new sounds:

- Change the intervals you're using. If you just run up and down the scale, trying using intervals of 4ths and 5ths, which will give you a different sound. Mr. seagull mentioned something like this earlier.

- Know what chord you're soloing over, and simply use a different pentatonic scale. What do I mean? Well, say you're soloing over an E minor chord. Your natural inclination would probably be to use E minor pentatonic. However, what if we temporarily switch to F#m pentatonic? We're using the notes F#, A, B, C#, and E; the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and root of E dorian. You can use all your old pentatonic licks, but they'll have a new flavor over the E instead of an F#.

Some other options over Em:

- A minor pentatonic: A C D E G: the C natural is the b6 from the E natural minor scale.
- B minor pentatonic: B D E F# A: this is just Em pentatonic with its b3 replaced by the major 2nd.

Other options exist over major chords, too; experiment, and see what works.
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#25
Are you trying to use the minor pentatonic scale over a minor progression, or over a major blues (E7 A7 B7)? There's a big difference between what else you "can" do between the two.

Make sure you understand the basics of theory by reading the link in my sig, as much of what I say will require an understanding of that material. Obviously, I can help you with any unclear information in that lesson.

Edit: I didn't read any of the thread, so if I'm just repeating what has already been said, feel free to delete this post.
#26
Quote by psychodelia
A couple of things that you can do with pentatonics to get new sounds:

- Change the intervals you're using. If you just run up and down the scale, trying using intervals of 4ths and 5ths, which will give you a different sound. Mr. seagull mentioned something like this earlier.

- Know what chord you're soloing over, and simply use a different pentatonic scale. What do I mean? Well, say you're soloing over an E minor chord. Your natural inclination would probably be to use E minor pentatonic. However, what if we temporarily switch to F#m pentatonic? We're using the notes F#, A, B, C#, and E; the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and root of E dorian. You can use all your old pentatonic licks, but they'll have a new flavor over the E instead of an F#.

Some other options over Em:

- A minor pentatonic: A C D E G: the C natural is the b6 from the E natural minor scale.
- B minor pentatonic: B D E F# A: this is just Em pentatonic with its b3 replaced by the major 2nd.

Other options exist over major chords, too; experiment, and see what works.

Wow, very interesting! I will have to try this at my next band practice.

Quote by bangoodcharlote
Are you trying to use the minor pentatonic scale over a minor progression, or over a major blues (E7 A7 B7)? There's a big difference between what else you "can" do between the two.

Make sure you understand the basics of theory by reading the link in my sig, as much of what I say will require an understanding of that material. Obviously, I can help you with any unclear information in that lesson.

Edit: I didn't read any of the thread, so if I'm just repeating what has already been said, feel free to delete this post.

Well, usually when we're just jamming out, and use a 12 bar, we're just using power chords with some extra fill notes.

I'll check out the links.
#29
Quote by forsaknazrael
^Well, excluding the G#, it's E Dorian. I always skip that one whenever I mix them.


Try not skipping it when you mix them, that might make it easier for you.

The reason is that it's SUCH a great note to land on over a major chord -- arguably,
it's even more important than the root. Even if I'm using a minor pent over
a major chord, I still liberally use the major 3rd a LOT. It's one of the two notes
that define the quality of a chord (the other being the 7th). So, if you want your
solo lines to reflect the harmony more, use that 3rd a lot and on important beats.

(You can really consider the b3 of the minor pent over a major chord more of a #2).
#31
Quote by psychodelia
- Know what chord you're soloing over, and simply use a different pentatonic scale. What do I mean? Well, say you're soloing over an E minor chord. Your natural inclination would probably be to use E minor pentatonic. However, what if we temporarily switch to F#m pentatonic? We're using the notes F#, A, B, C#, and E; the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and root of E dorian. You can use all your old pentatonic licks, but they'll have a new flavor over the E instead of an F#.

Some other options over Em:

- A minor pentatonic: A C D E G: the C natural is the b6 from the E natural minor scale.
- B minor pentatonic: B D E F# A: this is just Em pentatonic with its b3 replaced by the major 2nd.

I've been working with this, as of late, and combining all the shapes mentally helps me with the natural minor scale. Coming up with some new licks, too, which is great. Still need to practice it more to feel it out.

I'm going to try working in 4ths and 5ths this week.

Any more tips?