Making the Most of Pentatonics: Part 1
Soloing over major chords
If you’re reading this, you are probably interested in getting a little more creative with your pentatonics.
The minor pentatonic is the most popular and versatile scale to use when soloing.
In today’s column, we’re going to take a look at different applications for the minor pentatonic to get you playing some different sounds over your major chords.
Playing the minor pentatonic from the 3rd degree of a major chord will give you a brighter sound than you might be used to hearing when using this scale. Let’s analyze this:
Bb major: Bb – D – F
The 3rd of Bb is D.
D minor pentatonic: D – F – G – A – C
Superimposing the degrees of the minor pentatonic against the Bb major chord we find: maj.3rd, perf. 5th, maj. 6th, maj. 7th and a maj. 9, respectively.
You can also play from the 6th of Bb.
The 6th of Bb is G.
G minor pentatonic: G – Bb – C – D – F
Superimposing the degrees of this scale against the Bb major we find:
Be careful not to emphasize the perfect 4th or the “C” note. This will step on the 3rd’s “toes” because the 3rd of the chord determines it’s quality as either major or minor.
The 7th degree superimposed over the Bb major chord will raise some eyebrows. It’s certainly the brightest of the 3 options we have.
Here’s what we achieve with the 7th degree:
Let’s take a look at why this is so bright to our ears:
Maj.7th, maj. 9th, maj. 3rd, aug. 4th and a maj. 6th.
You can see why this is such a bright sound – we start with a major 7! If you are familiar with your modes at all, you’ll identify this sound as Lydian.
You can also mix these minor pentatonics together to create some very hip sounds!
Enjoy Part 1 of “soloing over major chords”…there will be more to follow to help keep your soloing fresh and interesting