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Mixing The Major & Minor Pentatonic Scales

In this lesson I will explain how we can get a that 70's classic rock solo sound typical of the likes of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Duane Allman.

As a beginner it is very probable that the first Pentatonic scale, in deed ant scale will be the Minor Pentatonic scale.

B Minor Pentatonic

It is a great scale to learn and easy to play and with some practice you can achieve some great results and sound really cool. It really is the go to scale whenever you hear a series of rock style chords and the Blues. You just need to find the root chord note and of you go. I am sure having played this sale you will realize it actually sounds great even when played over a Major chord, so odds are you won’t care if either of the chords you playing over is a Major or Minor chord.

But have you ever stopped to think why that is. How come a Minor scale sounds so cool over a Major chord?

Well the reason is the creation of tension across the intervals. If we look at a Major chord triad, we have the Root Note, the Major 3rd and perfect 5th. In the minor pentatonic scale, we don’t have a major 3rd we have a minor 3rd so when we play the minor 3rd over a major chord we are creating an enharmonic interval which creates tension against the root note. This also true for the b7 note even though we don’t use a m7 note in a major pentatonic scale. Below we can see the notes from the major pentatonic scale.


B Major Pentatonic

So instead of switching between the two scale position most guitarist blend the scales together. This is what it looks like over the 1st position of the two scales.

Major and Minor pentatonics combined

 In addition to this a number of Blues guitarist will also add the b5 or Blue note into the mix to give even more tension notes to their playing.

flat 5

Checkout the video lesson for a more in depth explanation

Here are a few examples of riffs that combine the two together.




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Joseph Lopez
@josephlopez   4 years ago
very interesting stuff! I knew that you could mix the pentatonic scales in almost any context, but it's easier to think about it this way and not having to switch positions.... Now I know how Jimmy page could flawlessly switch between the two scales.
@peskypolak   4 years ago
This is an awesome lesson - will be taking it to the woodshed with me. Thanks for your time and effort with these free lessons!


@gsinker   4 years ago
Hi glad you enjoyed the lesson and thanks for the nice comment. Why not considering subscribing to my YouTube channel, I am always posting new lessons every week.
@nidzan   3 years ago
Great lesson,good for both newly started guitarists and experienced ones ;)