Mixing minor/ major pentatonic shapes when soloing

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by bridger, Jun 3, 2017.

  1. bridger

    bridger Senior Member

    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    77
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    New at this, but practicing profusely. Seems that the Major pentatonic shape sounds best over the 1 chord, then onto minor shapes. Can anyone give me good examples for using minor/ major pentatonic throughout a 1-4-5 blues solo? Might be to foolish a question, but I'm needing some ideas.
    Thanks
     
  2. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

    Messages:
    70,823
    Likes Received:
    166,872
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    One thing I do is bend the b3 up to a nat3 leading into the IV chord -- in E, bend the G up to G#. It voice-leads to the IV chord (A). That is a simple example.

    Another way to bend the two is to bend the fifth (in E, the B note) up a whole step to lead, again, into the A7 which is the second chord in your standard blues progression in E. That C# over an E implies major tonality, and resolves when then A is hit.

    Remember, you've got three blue notes: between the b3 and the nat3, between the b5 and the 5, and between the nat6 and b7. You have to do quarter-step bends to hit them. They each ride the tension between major and minor, and that is exactly what makes it the blues.
     
  3. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    29,542
    Likes Received:
    53,614
    Joined:
    May 20, 2010
    Listen to some old Clapton records, to see how he switches back and forth between minor and major pentatonic. He does it pretty smoothly and it works well. "Crossroads" is a prime example.
     
  4. filtersweep

    filtersweep Senior Member

    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    591
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    I use backing tracks from Spotify or even youtube to practice this. I find it valuable to focus also on the chords- not just the scales. It makes the knowledge more transferrable to other types of music.
     
    frankv likes this.
  5. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Double Platinum Supporter Premium Member V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    14,157
    Likes Received:
    12,303
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    In order for you to discover what works and doesn't you need to use your ears. Play over backing tracks and try major and minor shapes. Listen. After awhile you will instinctly know when to mix.

    It just takes doing it and not reading about doing it..
     
    bridger likes this.
  6. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    3,493
    Likes Received:
    4,706
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Listening to recordings & trying to reproduce those sounds is of course great advice.

    For some of us though, a step on the way towards that is to experiment with some simple "rules of thumb" and become familiar with the sound produced. Then, when we hear it on a record, we have some idea how to reproduce it.

    One way to start with the whole "mixing major & minor pentatonics" idea is to forget about chord changes, and play a phrase using the minor pentatonic, then follow with a phrase using the major pentatonic, then the minor, then the major, etc etc

    Switching between the two helps the ear absorb the different sounds, as well as helping your fingers get used to the different positions of the notes.

    Here's a recent post from another thread:

    An additional twist on that first idea is to use the minor pentatonic (or blues scale) of the tonic, but to add the major third of whatever chord is playing. For example, in the key of A : Over the A7 chord use A minor pentatonic plus the note C# (as described above); over the D7 chord use the A minor pentatonic plus the note F# (major third of D7); & over the E7 chord use the A minor pentatonic plus the note G# (major third of E7).

    Yet another twist to the recipie could be that instead of adding a note to the minor pentatonic, you replace one.

    So, over the I7 chord, replace the minor third with the major third. This gives you a scale of 1 3 4 5 7.

    In A that would be A C# D E G

    On the fretboard :

    e 5 - - 9
    B 5 - - 8
    G 6 - 7
    D 5 - 7
    A 5 - 7
    E 5 - - 9

    Then over the IV7 chord, start with the tonic minor pentatonic, and replace the minor seventh with the major sixth. That note is the major third of the IV7 chord.

    So the scale is 1 b3 4 5 6

    In A that would be A C D E F# (remember, this is over the D7 chord)

    On the fretboard:

    e 5 - - 8
    B 5 - 7
    G 5 - 7
    D 5 - 7
    A 4 - 7
    E 5 - - 8

    (This is a favourite of Robben Ford)

    All of these ideas are just ways of taking notes from within the larger, 8 note scale that is the combined "major+minor pentatonic", and serving up a few notes at a time, each group with its own particular sound. As I said in the post that I quoted
    Hope that's some use?

    :)
     
    SteveGangi and bridger like this.
  7. CaptainT

    CaptainT Senior Member

    Messages:
    852
    Likes Received:
    635
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    I just started with the mixing approach, too and I got the tip to use the Major pentatonic when ascending and the blues/minor pentatonic when descending.

    This might not work always, but it´s a good approach to start with it.

    Cheers,

    CT
     
    freak likes this.
  8. bridger

    bridger Senior Member

    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    77
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
    Excellent information. Thank you. It's kinda funny because i've been subconsciously doing this (at least some of it), but when you put it all together it's a new world of possibilities for soloing. I see youTube stuff that only talks about position one as the minor, and position 2 as the major in blues, but what about position 3,4,& 5 as major & relative minor?
    So say in key of G , position one minor pentatonic & overlap position 2 for major pentatonic. Move up to B flat & now second position becomes the minor pentatonic and the third position (starting on A), becomes the major pentatonic.
    The thing is, ...It doesn't always sound right over a Gm backing track.
    So, I think I'm on the right path, my problem may just be WHEN to use minor & major in all of the positions.
     
  9. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,131
    Likes Received:
    223
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    So, this is one way I started to understand minor to major pent playing. I wanted just a sort of visual bookmark on what it actually looked like. The major pent is the same as the minor pent, just three half step lower on the fretboard. So, in other words, if you slide the entire 1st position of the minor pent shape up down three half steps, you would have the major pentatonic shape. I don't know what it means, but it allowed me to see the major overlaid on the minor, and it looks kinda like a major or minor scale. The image is the 1st position of the minor overlaid with the 1st position of the major. In other words, if you overlaid the first position of the minor pentatonic with the major pent, this is what the 1st position minor would look like with the major over it (Key of A):
    A minor pent:
    MyLesPAul.JPG

    A minor with A major pent overlay:
    MyLesPAul1.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  10. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    3,493
    Likes Received:
    4,706
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Close, but no cigar...

    You need to add ALL the major thirds in to get the maj/min mix. Think G string fret 6, E string fret 9.

    :)
     
  11. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,131
    Likes Received:
    223
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    Quite right! I've updated it, but I left out the C# on the 9th, just to illustrate using the A minor pent shape overlaid with the A pent. I might add too that as you look at it, when ever you have 4 frets you have two extra notes at the bottom, closer to the body of the guitar (depends on how you see it) and when you have 3 frets, you have the extra note at the top, towards the neck. I know it's a convoluted explanation, but what it means to me is I can use extra notes "top or bottom" anywhere on the minor pent and that's the same key major pent. It's just an easy way to remember the extra notes. You can also omit the C# on the 6th fret, which gives you a chromatic scale. I mean sure, see it all. But the little block will always work no matter what shape you are playing, if you are thinking in "shapes." Otherwise, you know the fret board so well you can think of it as notes and interchange them at will.

    I'm sorry I cannot explain it better. Maybe this overlay just doesn't help at all? It did for me, however. Again, if you leave the 6th fret and 9th fret C#, it just makes it easier to remember most of the notes, top/bottom depending on how many frets spread you have.
     
    huw likes this.
  12. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    3,493
    Likes Received:
    4,706
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Me too - that's exactly how I approached it. Then then same thing at the other positions of the scales. (In fact I did a thread on exactly this a few years ago, but i think the links to the images are broken now)

    :)
     
  13. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,131
    Likes Received:
    223
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    The beauty is that the pattern is the same for all the shapes. So if you are playing the minor pentatonic, whenever you have a 3 fret span, you can always add a half step note towards the nut, above the minor pent note, and when you have a 4 fret span you can do the same but starting at the note closest to the body of the guitar.
     
  14. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,037
    Likes Received:
    22,280
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Johnny B. Good is probably the most obvious example of Major and Minor Pentatonic mixed over I, IV, V.

    You can also break out of I, IV, V. Hendrix has a couple of great repeating progressions that are perfect for shifting back and forth between major and minor. Bold as Love and Hey Joe come to mind.

    Bold As Love

    A, E, F#m, D
    A, E, F#m, G, G#

    and repeat.

    Key is A.

    Hey Joe

    C, G, D, A, E and repeat

    Key is E.
     

Share This Page