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> Minor Vs. Major Pentatonic, The Difference and Similarities Between Two Classic Scales
The Professor
post Feb 19 2013, 07:07 PM
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I have been asked by a few folks recently about the differences between the major and minor pentatonic scales. So I thought I would draw up this quick reference pages for those that are looking to explore these two important sounds.

Major Pentatonic

The major pentatonic is used to solo over Major, 7 and Major 7 chords (and their derivations like Maj9, 9, 13 etc) and it is built with the following interval pattern.

R - 2 - 3 - 5 - 6 - R

So, it has five notes, but no 7th, which allows it to be used over both Major 7 and Dominant 7 chords, as there is no 7th in the scale to tell exactly which chord it is outlining, it moves between both sounds.

Here is a sample fingering for this scale to see how it sits on the neck of the guitar.


Attached Image



Minor Pentatonic


The minor pentatonic scale is used to solo over a lot of different chords, including major and minor triads, 7th chords, maj7 chords, m7 chords and their derivations such as m9, 9, maj6 etc.

Because of it's versatility, this is often the first scale many guitarists learn when they begin to explore soloing and scale playing on the guitar.

The minor pentatonic scale also has 5 notes, and is built like so:

R - m3 - 4 - 5 - m7 - R

And here is how it would look like on the fretboard as just an example fingering.


Attached Image


Both scales are widely used in rock, jazz, blues, funk and other modern musical genres, and so they are both worth exploring.

This little introduction should give you an idea of how they are built and used in soloing, now it's time to explore them further in your practice routine.

If you have any questions regarding these scales, how they are built or how you use them in your solos, post your questions below.


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jstcrsn
post Feb 19 2013, 07:16 PM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Feb 19 2013, 07:07 PM) *
routine.

If you have any questions regarding these scales, how they are built or how you use them in your solos, post your questions below.

would it be possible to hear these 2 scales over the chord of their relative keys, so my ears might get used to their sounds
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The Professor
post Feb 19 2013, 07:17 PM
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QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Feb 19 2013, 06:16 PM) *
would it be possible to hear these 2 scales over the chord of their relative keys, so my ears might get used to their sounds


There are a ton of different chord combinations that you can use these chords over, do you have one in particular that you want to hear it over?


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VikingBlues
post Feb 19 2013, 08:54 PM
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I note your mention that the major pentatonic is often the first scale many guitarists learn when they begin to explore soloing and scale playing on the guitar. That certainly ties in with what I've heard most other guitarists on online forums say.

Perversely I've always found the major pentatonic much more tricky when doing an improv - I think it's because my internal singing in my head which passes on message to the fingers as to what notes to play isn't as well attuned to major scale. So I don't hit the best target notes so often at chord changes etc.

Just to be different it was the minor pentatonic scale that I first got to grips with when I started seriously trying to do improv playing. Maybe it's because it was first that it still works better? Or maybe my mournful character finds itself more inclined to those melancholy minor sounds?


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jstcrsn
post Feb 19 2013, 09:20 PM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Feb 19 2013, 07:17 PM) *
There are a ton of different chord combinations that you can use these chords over, do you have one in particular that you want to hear it over?

something along the lines of just the power chord( i figured this would eliminate 7's minor or major 3rd's) of the scale on with a short major scale over it ( maybe a little context)and then the same chord with a minor , or a lesson that gmc already has
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The Professor
post Feb 19 2013, 09:21 PM
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Hey. I think the minor pent is probably the first scale most guitarists learn. Since we hear it in just about every genre of modern music it tends to stick in our ears and sounds familiar when we bring it to the guitar.


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The Professor
post Feb 19 2013, 10:09 PM
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QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Feb 19 2013, 08:20 PM) *
something along the lines of just the power chord( i figured this would eliminate 7's minor or major 3rd's) of the scale on with a short major scale over it ( maybe a little context)and then the same chord with a minor , or a lesson that gmc already has



Here are two video lessons here on GMC where you can hear both scales in action.


https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/solo-guit...ntatonic-scale/


https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/solo-guit...ntatonic-scale/


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