Major and Minor penta question | The Canadian Guitar Forum

Major and Minor penta question

Discussion in 'Theory and Technique' started by dolphinstreet, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. dolphinstreet


    Sep 11, 2006
    Camrose, Alberta
    I frequently get asked how to mix major and minor pentatonic when playing lead guitar. I'd like to help out if I can.
    If this is something you would like to learn more about, I would like to ask you something first.

    Can you describe exactly where you get stuck?

    Is it about knowing over what chords you can use major or minor pentatonic? Or is it about combing both of these scales over one chord?

    Or is it something entirely different? Please describe with as much detail as needed.
  2. KapnKrunch

    KapnKrunch Gold Member

    Jul 13, 2016
    I have been experimenting with this a bit as the singer is requesting blues which I have neglected for at least thirty years now. Are you sure you don't have my studio bugged?

    A little theory would be nice since right now I am just using my ears.

    I am bending up into a major third and down into a minor third on I, IV & V. Sounds good or bad depending on when/where I do it in the phrase.

    Not sure if you can address something as vague as this, Robert.
    johnnyshaka likes this.
  3. Kerry Brown

    Kerry Brown Gold Member

    Mar 31, 2014
    Squamish, BC
    Following this. I think I know the answers but will be interested to hear what others think. The way I play it if the song is a minor blues I stick to the minor pentatonic or maybe a mix of minor pentatonic and Dorian. If it is a major blues but only uses the V dominant 7 and the I and IV as strictly major chords without the 7th I play mostly in the major pentatonic. If the I and IV are played as 7's then I mix and match major and minor with extra passing tones as the mood strikes me. It's all about the mood of the song. The dirtier the blues the more you can get away with. Then again I rarely play lead preferring to play rhythm so I could be way off base.
  4. jb welder

    jb welder

    Sep 13, 2010
    Melonville, Canada
    @davetcan had brought up the question in a previous thread, maybe he can offer some clarification.
  5. davetcan

    davetcan Staff Member

    Feb 26, 2006
    SW Ontario
    For me it's knowing when it's appropriate, or possible, to move from one to the other. Are there any clues in the chord structure of the song? I'm almost completely illiterate when it comes to music theory so I don't have that to fall back on. I know my way around the Minor Pentatonic fairly well, and can make it work for most of the songs we play, but some songs just sound better in a major scale, and some in both. I tend to think of Gary Moore or Peter Green when i think of songs like that.

    KapnKrunch and nman like this.
  6. Dorian2


    Jun 9, 2015
    Edmonton, AB
    I'd like to learn more about which chord(s) in the Major I-IV-V are best to mix the 2 Pentatonics. And once you go from a Major to a Minor Pentatonic (or vice versa) over said chord(s), which chord is best to get back to the Major (Minor) sound if you decide to 'hang' around the choice for a few bars? I'm assuming we're talking a 12 bar blues here, so bit on using the turnaround while mixing the 2 pentatonics would be pretty cool as well. Not sure if this is a 1 video take though.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
    davetcan likes this.
  7. player99

    player99 Gold Member

    Sep 4, 2019
    Did BB King use minor P on the 1 then major P on the 4?
    Was it the major P of the 1 or the 4 over the 4?
  8. KapnKrunch

    KapnKrunch Gold Member

    Jul 13, 2016
    The sledgehammer approach.

    Ruh-dank 'n' duh-dank 'n' ruh-dank 'n' duh-dank...

    jb welder likes this.
  9. jdto

    jdto Gold Member

    Sep 29, 2015
    JustinGuitar made a great vid about this.

    davetcan, KapnKrunch and Kerry Brown like this.

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