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Thread: Doubt - Relationship between two scales

  1. #1
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    Doubt - Relationship between two scales

    Hello, my friends

    I need your help about the relationship between two scales.

    Consider a typical blues chord sequence, starting in A => A D A E D A

    Step1 - First I go up:

    E|--------------------------------5--8--
    B|--------------------------5--8--------
    G|--------------------5--7--------------
    D|--------------5--7--------------------
    A|--------5--8--------------------------
    E|--5--8--------------------------------

    Step 2 - Then I go down (with a slight variation on the G string):

    E|--8--5-----------------------------------
    B|--------8--5-----------------------------
    G|--------------8--7--5--------------------
    D|-----------------------7--5--------------
    A|-----------------------------8--5--------
    E|-----------------------------------8--5--

    Step 3 - And then I change to this (going down):

    E|--------------------------------3--5-----
    B|--------------------------3--5-----------
    G|--------------------2--5-----------------
    D|--------------2--5-----------------------
    A|--------3--5-----------------------------
    E|--3--5-----------------------------------

    Step 4 - And then go back (going up):

    E|--5--3--------------------------------
    B|--------5--3--------------------------
    G|--------------5--2--------------------
    D|--------------------5--2--------------
    A|--------------------------5--3--------
    E|--------------------------------5--3--

    Question: What's the relationship between steps 1 & 2 and 3 & 4?


    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    I suspect that in examples 1 and 2 you are playing the 7th fret of the A string (rather than the 8th?)

    If so you're basically looking at 2 different fingering patterns for an A minor pentatonic scale - the notes of which are A C D E G A.

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    Hi walternewton

    Assuming you're right about the 7th fret, comparing both patterns:

    1st: A C D E G A C D E G A C
    2nd: G A C D E G A C D E G A

    But in fact I play it on the 8th fret:

    1st: A C D F G A C D E G A C
    2nd: G A C D E G A C D E G A

    But that F sounds good to me. Am I the only one?

  4. #4
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    The minor pentatonic scale is a subset of the natural minor scale, which contains the F note.

    A minor = A B C D E F G A

    A minor pentatonic = A C D E G A

    Nothing wrong with playing an F if it sounds good to you, though strictly speaking it's no longer a minor pentatonic scale if that's what you're intending to play (as it is in the next octave in which you're playing the E instead.)

    Is this pattern supposed to be a scale exercise or is it something you made up or ?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Hi walternewton

    Assuming you're right about the 7th fret, comparing both patterns:

    1st: A C D E G A C D E G A C
    2nd: G A C D E G A C D E G A

    But in fact I play it on the 8th fret:

    1st: A C D F G A C D E G A C
    2nd: G A C D E G A C D E G A

    But that F sounds good to me. Am I the only one?
    Quite possibly.

    As walter says, if it sounds good to you, it's OK, but you need to be really sure about that.

    Eg, it may sound good because the bottom part of the pattern is the D minor pentatonic scale - and therefore it has an identity and acoustic integrity of its own. (Disregarding the fact you use E in the octave above of course.)

    But the F (at least in between D and G) ought not to sound good when used over an A chord, nor over an E. It will of course fit reasonable well over a D chord (esp a D power chord) - but it's not part of the blues sound to use an F in key of A, even on the D chord. IOW, it's far from "typical".

    You might get away with it if playing a fast run up or down the scale - but that's not what improvisation scales are designed for.
    Improvisation is not about running scales up and down that happen to sound OK like that.
    Try holding that F over an A or E chord: do you still like the sound of it? Do you think it sounds better than holding the alternative (E)?

    You may still like it after all this testing - that's fine. But you won't be playing "typical" blues, that's all.
    Last edited by JonR; 10-19-2010 at 10:21 PM.

  6. #6
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    This is basically the CAGED system:

    1&2 are A minor pentatonic
    3&4 or C major pentatonic

    A minor is the relative minor of C major

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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeOfBoom View Post
    This is basically the CAGED system:
    1&2 are A minor pentatonic
    3&4 or C major pentatonic
    A minor is the relative minor of C major
    Take a closer look - 1 & 2 are not A-minor pentatonic.

    In pattern-1, the OP has the note F at 8th fret on the A-string .... whereas in the A-minor pentatonic scale that note should be E ie at 7th fret of the A- string.

    You might refer to pattern-1 as some type of pentatonic pattern in the key of A-minor, but it's not the usual pattern we all know (because of that F note, ie the #5 or b6th relative to A as the root).

    Of course that F note is part of the full 7-note A-natural minor scale, so it is within the key of A-minor (it's the b6th) and it may sound OK, depending how you use it.

    In pattern-2, which is just the descending version of pattern-1, but with one extra note - that extra note on the 8th fret of the G-string is of course just the b5th or "blues note" ... so that note will sound good in a blues context ... it just converts the minor pentatonic scale to the so called blues scale ... the pattern could have also included the same b5th note at the 6th fret of the A-string.

    In fact if rabarata wanted to include more notes from the full A-natural minor scale as well as that flat-5th blues note .... then on the G-string he could play 4th-fret, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th-frets all in a row ... that can give you some nice notes for a blues or jazz feel (the 6th fret is just the Maj-3rd of course, which is a common choice for blues).

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    Hello, my friends

    Answering to walter...this is something that came naturally to me when I tried to put in practice pentatonic scales on top of a backing track.
    In fact what I play is a bit more "complex", with more notes. I just put posted the basic to keep things simple (even though, it's getting complicated with all those minors, root, relatives to... etc).
    So, basically, and forgeting that F, the relationship between 1and 2 & 3 and 4 is that they are 2 different fingering patterns for an A minor pentatonic scale. So, my question is: what is a fingering pattern? What is the purpose of the fingering pattern concept?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Hello, my friends

    Answering to walter...this is something that came naturally to me when I tried to put in practice pentatonic scales on top of a backing track.
    In fact what I play is a bit more "complex", with more notes. I just put posted the basic to keep things simple (even though, it's getting complicated with all those minors, root, relatives to... etc).
    So, basically, and forgeting that F, the relationship between 1and 2 & 3 and 4 is that they are 2 different fingering patterns for an A minor pentatonic scale.
    Yes, assuming you replace the F with an E.
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    So, my question is: what is a fingering pattern? What is the purpose of the fingering pattern concept?
    The purpose is to be able to play a couple of octaves of a scale in one position - ie without moving your hand up and down the neck.
    This is - in part - the reason guitar is tuned the way it is, with 3 notes per string (on most strings). If the strings were tuned further apart (say in 5ths like cello, mandolin, etc), there would be 4 notes per string, requiring bigger stretches (at least at low frets). If strings were tuned closer, you wouldn't get as many notes under your hand.
    Naturally, every scale runs all over the neck, but we break down the fretboard into patterns of 3 or 4 frets so we can play scales across the strings rather than race up and down the neck.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeOfBoom View Post
    This is basically the CAGED system:

    1&2 are A minor pentatonic
    3&4 or C major pentatonic
    Well, to be precise, #1 needs the F corrected to an E, as we've said.
    It would then be either or both:
    A minor pent if you made A the root, or played it over an Am chord; C major pent if you made C the root or played it over a C chord.

    In #2 he has added the b5 blue note on the 3rd string, and still kept the F on 5th string. So it's an odd mixture of A blues scale (C major blues) on the top and D minor/F major pent on the bottom.

    #3 and #4 are correct as A minor/C major pent.
    Last edited by JonR; 10-20-2010 at 11:29 AM.

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    Thank for the reply JonR

    The purpose is to be able to play a couple of octaves of a scale in one position - ie without moving your hand up and down the neck.
    Ok, now it's clear.

    Now the second question. The first pattern starts in A and the second in G. The G pattern starts one note lower than the other one. They both sound ok because they share the same notes but, because they are "one note out of phase" and the chord sequence behind is exactly the same, the way how to play them must be different, with different times per note for example, so that both can seat nicely on top of that chord sequence. Is this correct?

    I'm thinking about recording this and post here.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Thank for the reply JonR



    Ok, now it's clear.

    Now the second question. The first pattern starts in A and the second in G. The G pattern starts one note lower than the other one. They both sound ok because they share the same notes but, because they are "one note out of phase" and the chord sequence behind is exactly the same, the way how to play them must be different, with different times per note for example, so that both can seat nicely on top of that chord sequence. Is this correct?
    Mostly, yes.

    A good general starting rule is to place chord tones on the beats. So if your chord is Am, you'd start a solo phrase on A, C or E (and you have 2 or 3 choices for each of those notes in any pattern - see below).

    But the great thing about a pentatonic scale (why people love 'em so much!) is you can pretty much accent any note over the chord, it will sound OK. If you always stress the chord tones, putting them on the strong beats, a solo can end up sounding a little dull. So occasionally stressing non-chord tones (notes in the scale which aren't in the chord), or accenting chord tones on weak beats (syncopation), can work well too.

    But the essential thing is to be able to "see" the chord shape within the scale pattern. Eg, here's the Am pent pattern in 5th position:

    Code:
      5   6   7   8 
    |-O-|---|---|-O-|
    |-O-|---|---|-O-|
    |-O-|---|-O-|---|
    |-O-|---|-O-|---|
    |-O-|---|-O-|---|
    |-O-|---|---|-O-|
    And here's the Am chord within it:
    Code:
      5   6   7   8 
    |-O-|---|---|---|
    |-O-|---|---|---|
    |-O-|---|---|---|
    |---|---|-O-|---|
    |---|---|-O-|---|
    |-O-|---|---|---|
    And here's the full Am arpeggio (all the instances of the notes A-C-E:
    Code:
      5   6   7   8 
    |-O-|---|---|-O-|
    |-O-|---|---|---|
    |-O-|---|---|---|
    |---|---|-O-|---|
    |---|---|-O-|---|
    |-O-|---|---|-O-|
    It does help to know the note names - as follows - but if you know the chord shapes it's less important.
    Code:
      5   6   7   8 
    |-A-|---|---|-C-|
    |-E-|---|---|-G-|
    |-C-|---|-D-|---|
    |-G-|---|-A-|---|
    |-D-|---|-E-|---|
    |-A-|---|---|-C-|
    Also remember where the roots are (A in this case), so you know where to end phrases on if you want them to sound finished. (Otherwise you can end a phrase on any chord tone.)

    As I said above, this pattern also works as C major pent if played over a C chord, in which case your chord tones for reference are C-E-G, and the root notes are C.
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    I'm thinking about recording this and post here.
    Good idea - go for it!

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    Yes, the similarities between the scale and the chord are clear.

    One thing I never understood completely is the reason why there are 5 different patterns for the same scale. Today I've learned that it's just to avoid playing a lot of notes in the same string in the case when your first pattern note is far from the root note. With the patterns you just have to go up or down the neck to the fret where the first pattern note is located and follow the scale interval sequence.
    This means I can do a solo connecting the different patterns, running the complete neck... playing the same thing.

    But I have another doubt: what makes someone start a solo or pattern far from the root note? Is it only to add some variety to the solo? Or are there any other reasons?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    But I have another doubt: what makes someone start a solo or pattern far from the root note?
    If you're talking about the standard scale fingering patterns, they'll usually extend to the lowest note and highest note within the scale playable in that position, so the lowest note of the pattern may not be the root note.

    They're just a way to visualize and practice playing all the notes from the scale available to you in that particular position, they don't imply any rule that says you must always start or end on a certain note - in an actual solo, of course, the choice of notes to start and end on (and play in between!) is completely up to you.
    Last edited by walternewton; 10-20-2010 at 05:45 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post

    But I have another doubt: what makes someone start a solo or pattern far from the root note? Is it only to add some variety to the solo? Or are there any other reasons?
    Rock, pop, blues, & country licks generally start on either the root, 3rd, 5th, or sometimes the 4th or 7th tone (mostly blues). They end on one of the same scale degrees.
    The other notes in the scale provide color.

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