Guitarists: Please stop playing minor pentatonic scales over major progressions

metropolis_4

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There’s a guy playing guitar in this show and they decided to let him play a solo over the exit music as people are leaving. The problem is the song is in A major and he’s trying to play his solo in an A blues box..

:columbo


I’ve seen this happen so many times where less experienced players coming from a blues/rock background try to play blues scales over everything and it sounds terrible, but they don’t know how to fix it.
 
Ha, I remember Nuno Bettencourt saying this was one of his pet peeves.

Maybe help the guy by showing him the relative-minor F# option, or will that be too Allman Bros sounding for your show…
 
All you have to do is start playing from the 'other' notes in the very same box.
:clint

EDIT:
And don't bend, that turns to shit real quick.

EDIT2:
WAIT! I'm WRONG.
FIRST, you have to move the box 1.5 step up !!!!
And then play the other notes.

EDIT3:
1.5 step DOWN.

:bag

EDIT4:
F that.
I'm playing A minor pentatonic over EVERYTHING.
 
Last edited:
Ha, I remember Nuno Bettencourt saying this was one of his pet peeves.

Maybe help the guy by showing him the relative-minor F# option, or will that be too Allman Bros sounding for your show…

I’m trying to think of a way to help him. It’s a little tricky though because there are some egos involved I need to be careful not to bruise.

Unfortunately he’s one of those players who thinks he’s a lot better than he is and is not very open to suggestions
 
There’s a guy playing guitar in this show and they decided to let him play a solo over the exit music as people are leaving. The problem is the song is in A major and he’s trying to play his solo in an A blues box..

:columbo


I’ve seen this happen so many times where less experienced players coming from a blues/rock background try to play blues scales over everything and it sounds terrible, but they don’t know how to fix it.
Let him make a damn fool of himself if he's one of "those" guys.

Just makes you sound better.
:LOL:
 
I’m trying to think of a way to help him. It’s a little tricky though because there are some egos involved I need to be careful not to bruise.

Unfortunately he’s one of those players who thinks he’s a lot better than he is and is not very open to suggestions

Can you get someone in the band that is not you to do it? I am sure there are other educated and
schooled players who may be able to approach him better than the "other" guitarist.
 
I play in Drop-C.

Ah I forgot, if the lowest note on your instrument is a C then playing in the right key doesn’t apply :grin

A lot of classic rock n roll and blues songs do it but if you're not being tasteful it can easily turn sour

It works when the key is either minor, or when there are no thirds to imply tonality. So in guitar based rock n roll and blues where the guitars are playing root-5th and root-6th intervals it can be fine because sometimes there are no thirds
 
I Plead Guilty Season 2 GIF
 
There’s a guy playing guitar in this show and they decided to let him play a solo over the exit music as people are leaving. The problem is the song is in A major and he’s trying to play his solo in an A blues box..
Speaking in strictly pentatonic terms, there are two "A blues boxes." Knowing which one to use matters.

Seriously, how does a guy even get a show gig without knowing major scales and the difference between major and minor keys? I'm guessing he's not the best reader, either. :facepalm

I’ve seen this happen so many times where less experienced players coming from a blues/rock background try to play blues scales over everything
I'd stress less experienced players over "coming from a blues/rock background" myself. I know lots and lots of "blues-rock" players who have no issues with this sort of thing. When I think of a "blues scale," the scale that comes to mind has both major and minor thirds: 1, b3, 3, 4, b5, 5, 7 (sometimes 6 instead of 7). It is IME not a good idea to limit your note pool to a pentatonic box, as you then you need two: one for A minor, and another for A major. Neither is sufficient by itself to accommodate blues playing.

Confining yourself to a "blues scale" in A major means you can't fully state an Amaj7 - you really don't need to, FWIW - but you can state an A6, which is often the better choice.

and it sounds terrible, but they don’t know how to fix it.
If you can play an A major chord, you can find the notes that will enable you to play over it. That is for some a difficult concept, I realize, but it really shouldn't be.
 
Speaking in strictly pentatonic terms, there are two "A blues boxes." Knowing which one to use matters.

Seriously, how does a guy even get a show gig without knowing major scales and the difference between major and minor keys? I'm guessing he's not the best reader, either. :facepalm


I'd stress less experienced players over "coming from a blues/rock background" myself. I know lots and lots of "blues-rock" players who have no issues with this sort of thing. When I think of a "blues scale," the scale that comes to mind has both major and minor thirds: 1, b3, 3, 4, b5, 5, 7 (sometimes 6 instead of 7). It is IME not a good idea to limit your note pool to a pentatonic box, as you then you need two: one for A minor, and another for A major. Neither is sufficient by itself to accommodate blues playing.

Confining yourself to a "blues scale" in A major means you can't fully state an Amaj7 - you really don't need to, FWIW - but you can state an A6, which is often the better choice.


If you can play an A major chord, you can find the notes that will enable you to play over it. That is for some a difficult concept, I realize, but it really shouldn't be.

I completely agree with everything you said here.

What happened here is this guy is an actor playing a character who plays guitar. So he was cast as an actor, not hired as a musician.
 
What happened here is this guy is an actor playing a character who plays guitar. So he was cast as an actor, not hired as a musician.
Ahh, got it. I'd suggest to him that he move his "blues box" down three frets and take note of which fingers will then play the root. That will make a world of difference; he can even bend the same notes he's accustomed to bending. Hopefully he would acknowledge that you're the one who's actually being paid to know how to play guitar and at least try it out.
 
A lot of classic rock n roll and blues songs do it but if you're not being tasteful it can easily turn sour
There is a whole world of music to master when it comes to dodging in and out of the minor pentatonic over a major key.

The whole topic really comes down to fundamentals. Guthrie Trapp on artistworks course drills this from lesson one and you really need to be able to eat, sleep and breathe the chord, the scale, the arpeggio and the pentatonic until youre not even thinking about them anymore. Once you have that, you can tickle the minor a little and get right back into the major in the same position, again without even having to think about it. His course and approach has humbled me and made me a better player all around.
 
Guthrie Trapp on artistworks course drills this from lesson one
My nephew James Paul Mitchell is a guitar/lap steel/pedal steel/mandolin player in Nashville. He introduced me to Guthrie one night in downtown Nashville in 2016. Guthrie is a killer player in a variety of styles, including blues and rock as well as country.
and you really need to be able to eat, sleep and breathe the chord, the scale, the arpeggio and the pentatonic until youre not even thinking about them anymore.
This is the basic toolkit. You then need to use those tools to build vocabularies of motifs ("licks") in the styles you want to play.

Once you have that, you can tickle the minor a little and get right back into the major in the same position,
Knowing the difference, and knowing how the scale notes relate to chord tones, are both essential to being able to do this. Knowing when not to do it is also a valuable skill. :whistle
 
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