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Help please...Pent. scale, Major chords and relative Minors

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(@mwilliams)
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Hi all…a question about the Minor Pentatonic scale with regards to major chords and their relative minors (please forgive the length):

Some background first (and if I'm making more out of this than need be, please reel me in)…been playing a little over a year now and am REALLY enjoying improving over Blues-based backing tracks. To date, I play through the five boxes (trying to be aware of the root notes in each box) and attempt to apply nice phrasing and feel. The problem (?) is that if the backing track is in “A”…I just use the Am Pentatonic. If it's in “E”…the Em Pentatonic and so on.

What I want to start doing is using the relative minor of the key and play that Pentatonic Minor scale (key of C…use Am Pent., key of E…use the Cm Pent. etc.).

Having said all that, I also want to start playing the scale notes specific to the chord being played. For example…in the key of E (using the Cm Pent.), I would want to play the notes in the E chord (E, G# and B) while E is being played…but, to the best of my knowledge, these notes are not part of the Cm scale.

My attempt to determine the notes in the Cm scale are C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb (using WHWWHW intervals).

Now I originally came up with C, D, D#, F, G, G#, A# but I believe I'm not to have any dup letters in the scale so I turned D# into Eb etc.

OK…your turn! Am I thinking about this correctly and given the E chord example above, what Cm Pent. notes would be considered chord tones? Hope this made sense…thanks in advance!

Mike


   
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(@artlutherie)
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For one the relative minor of E is C#m so your of by a semi-tone. Whoa! I just tried to work it out and I'm all messed up. I'm gonna have to think on this.

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(@greybeard)
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E major is E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-E.
The relative minor starts at the 6th degree of E, So it's C#minor.
C#minor is C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A-B-C#

Harmonising the scale would give you C#min, D#dim, Emaj, F#min, G#min, Amaj, Bmaj. These chords use only notes that appear in the key of C#min.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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(@jasonrunguitar)
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Yup, art&lutherie hit it. The relative minor of E is C#m (you have to remember that the C in an E scale gets the sharp). So here's what it looks like:

E major: E-F#-G#-A#-B-C#-D (the corresponding intervals being the usual W-W-W-H-W-H that we'd expect for a major scale)
C# minor: C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A#-B (the corresponding intervals being W-H-W-W-W-H...which is what we would want for a minor scale: exactly the same as the major, but with the 3rd flatted)

Exact same notes in both scales. In fact, remembering relative minors is a quick way to remember scales without have to revert to the interval structure each time, once you convince yourself that it works :smile: And since they use the same notes, you can use exactly the same box shapes, just considering a C# as your root now, instead of the E.

Sorry Graybeard, must have posted at the same time...didn't mean to repeat you

-Jason
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(@artlutherie)
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Ah yeah the flatted 3rd is E but we have to notate it sharp so it becomes D# that always gets me.
Also for the Pentatonic minor you'll have to flat the 3rd and the 7th. That's where it gets confusing to me because once you have your scale you have to modify it minutely. I do know guys who do it on the fly so it's possible.

Chuck Norris invented Kentucky Fried Chicken's famous secret recipe, with eleven herbs and spices. But nobody ever mentions the twelfth ingredient: Fear!
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(@mwilliams)
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A&L...thank you! I see your point in the C#m being the relative minor to E. My C#m scale was a little different from yours as mine was C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A and B.

So now...all my notes in the E, A, B progression work! Others...chime in please...thanks!

Mike


   
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(@greybeard)
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No problems Jason

The point about the relative minor is, that the 3rd, 6th and 7th are automatically flattened, if you take the notes from the relative major scale, rather than working it out yourself.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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(@dneck)
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ya sounds to me like you should learn about modes, the major scale just kinda naturally makes these other scales in other keys (one of them being the relative minor your talking about) but they are all cool.

And for a quick trick try moving your em pentatonic scale down 3 frets and itll be a G major penatonic scale, that alone can give you a lot of new stuff to play with.

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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(@mwilliams)
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Thanks folks...I appreciate your time!

Dneck...you threw me for a bit of a loop as I thought moving Em Pent. down 3 frets would get me EM Pent.

Always learning...thanks again!

Mike


   
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(@wes-inman)
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Don't mean to correct Dneck, but if you move the E Minor Pentatonic down 3 frets then you are playing the E Major Pentatonic, not the G.

The Major Pentatonic is based on the root note played by the pinky on the 6th string. The Minor Pentatonic is based with the root note played by the index on the 6th string.


C Major Pentatonic Scale 1st position

e------------------------------------5i-—8p-- A, C
b-----------------------------5i—8p---------- E, G
g---------------------5i—-7r----------------- C, D
d--------------5i—-7r------------------------ G, A
a------5i—-7r-------------------------------- D, E
e—-8p---------------------------------------- C

A Minor Pentatonic Scale 1st position

e------------------------------------------5i- A
b---------------------------------5i---8p----- E, G
g-------------------------5i--7r-------------- C, D
d-----------------5i--7r---------------------- G, A
a---------5i--7r------------------------------ D, E
e—5i—-8p-------------------------------------- A, C

So you see, the C Major Pentatonic 1st position and the A Minor Pentatonic 1st postion have exactly the same notes, but the Root on the 6th will be under your index finger with the Minor scale, under your pinky with the Major scale.

Hope that doesn't confuse you.

Put very basically, you can play both the Major or Minor Pentatonic scale over a Major or Dominant chord. If you use the Major Pentatonic it will sound Country. If you use the Minor Pentatonic it will sound Blues.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@dneck)
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ya your right I meant to say that the em pent scale is for use with the G major scale but your right moving it down makes it the e major scale. Its been a long time since i thought about using em pent in emajor cause the major scale is so fun. And I find its "ok" to still add the blue note (from the same shaped minor) sometimes even while playing the major scale

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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