Mixing Major and Minor Pentatonic Scales

You can always play the minor pentatonic scale when you are playing some blues solos, but in this quick lesson I will share with you a cool method of mixing a few scales that all can help add more flavor and style to your playing.

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You can always play the minor pentatonic scale when you are improvising or playing some blues solos. That is totally fine, however it may sound dull and/or repetitive sometimes as you may run out of ideas or phrases quickly.

In the two parts of this quick lesson I will share with you a cool method of mixing a few scales.

Here they are listed:
  1. Major pentatonic
  2. Minor pentatonic
  3. Blues scale
  4. Dorian mode
This will help add more flavor and style to your playing and supply you with more ideas and flexibility so you can easily solo over extended periods of time. This also will boost the joy of you and your listeners. To me that is the main purpose of playing music.

For a quick demo and some various examples watch the following video:

YouTube preview picture

First, lets look at the major and minor pentatonic scale in E which is the key of this backing we have here.

The reason why many blues backing tracks don't tell if it's major or minor is because you can mix between them both (unless it's exclusively a minor blues track).

We are starting from fret 7 on string A now. Notice how E and B are common between the two scales (root and fifth).
This can help your eyes see both scales easily at the same position

The 3rd note G (and G#) is what makes the clear difference between the 2 scales because it's a major 3rd (G#) in E major and minor 3rd in E minor (G).

Now, try to experiment by playing the minor pentatonic shape over the backing track then do a hammer-on or a slide between G and G# (Easiest position is from fret 8 to fret 9 on B string and from fret 5 to 6 on D string). You will notice how the sound changes dramatically and clearly between the two scales.

Now you can apply the same at the fret 12 position, look at these scale maps (from fret 12 to 13 on G string and from fret 10 to 11 on A string).

Try to play any phrases you come up with on these two positions (fret 7 and fret 12) this will make you a more flexible player and will help us apply new tricks in the next part of this lesson.

You can apply the concepts of this lesson along with this backing track which is in the key of E:

YouTube preview picture

Now you have got the science and the artistic concept of this trick, all you have to do is to practice and incorporate this in your playing and you will soon see the difference.

The more you practice this you the more you gain a sense of the right timing and understand how to apply this shift efficiently. As you may have noticed it will sound much better at moments depending on the context and the timing of when you apply it.

All blues masters around have always applied this trick (minor to major) while soloing and jamming. In the next part I will share with you some ideas I like to apply using the blues scale.

By chusss

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    He's already got the pentatonics, send him something he doesn't know
    Chuss, nice lesson. Good work; nice long back track. Gonna take some time and practice but I'm getting it. Thanks
    Use blue notes to play blues - no shit! I wish people wouldn't talk about 'scales' so much. In the same way we could call Django Reinhardt's chromatic runs aeolio-hypo-mixo-doro-phrygian, but we can choose not to.
    Your trying to trivialize this lesson, but your failing. This is a pretty awesome concept to help you achieve a pretty unique sound. Understanding how and why something works can only help you.
    Scales are only a good guide or reference. The problem is when they are taken literally by some guitarists or beginners. However, I don't know any other method that can take you to the next level where you are able to see the fretboard beyond mere scales.
    margiecooper · Sep 25, 2016 11:30 PM