I already know the blues scale, do I need to learn the minor pentatonic scale?

Is it worthwhile to learn this scale if you’re already comfortable with the A blues scale (which is the same as this scale but just adds the Eb)? I’ve learned some scales on other instruments.

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Welcome to the Forum Felix
If you already know the Blues scale then you already know the minor pentatonic. So your already ahead of the game. The next step would be learning them in all 5 patterns as long as you can use this pattern to make music.


Okay, thanks! Sorry, but what do you mean by all 5 patterns? I’m guessing that has something to do with CAGED?

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Yes the CAGED system has 5 patterns for all most all the scales. It’s not 5 patterns for every scale it’s 5 pattern that cover all most every scale. Most people start with the 5 Major/minor pentatonic patterns because the are easier to learn than the Major scale Patterns. But the 5 Major scale patterns cover all the pentatonic scales and Modes.
I don’t want to hijack this thread with a lot of theory because it’s a Grade 2 Minor Pentatonic thread. There are lessons on all 5 major/minor pentatonic scale on the web site.


Got it, thanks!!

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Have you learned the blues scale on guitar?

If you do not know then do not go learning them yet.
Concentrate on one pattern only and make as much music as you can with it.
Once sated, learn one more pattern and do the same.
Then learn how to play between and link the twp patterns before learning a third.



“Have you learned the blues scale on guitar?”

Sorry for not being clear. Yes, I’ve learned the blues scale on guitar (using my knowledge of what notes it has from the piano and my knowledge of the guitar fretboard, which is pretty solid for positions 1-5 and okay on 7). So, I’m gradually learning the 5 patterns one by one now per stitch’s more detailed advice to me elsewhere (on pattern 4 right now).

Learning them all in Gb in the hopes of being able to improv for a song which has that chord, although now that I think about it, I guess for guitar it doesn’t matter too much since the patterns can slide all around.

“Concentrate on one pattern only and make as much music as you can with it.”

Oh, okay! I’d just been moving on after I could play it. Just now tried soloing using the first pattern. It was kinda rocky, so I think I’ll keep at that one a bit more and then do the same for the other patterns before moving on. Thanks for the tip! I guess this is what stitch meant by, “It’s best to learn to use each on before moving on to the next one.”

“Then learn how to play between and link the twp patterns before learning a third.”

Oooh! Okay, that sounds like it’ll be fun!

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That must be a transferring from keyboard thing.
No guitarist ever, anywhere, would jump to the key of Gb as a starting point.
Unless they were playing with a brass section maybe.

Natural guitar keys are A, G, D, E, C for (at a guess) 75 + percent of songs.

Check here for a guide to milking the goodness from pattern 1.

It sure will!


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Thanks, very helpful! I’d been doing something similar to the note-skipping exercise (in scale degrees, was doing 1 3 2 1 2 4 3 2…), but wasn’t sure where to go next, thanks!

Regarding Gb, it’s specifically for “Lightning Crashes” by Live where the bridge section alternates between Gb minor to Eb minor. I’m thinking of extending the bridge to add a guitar solo, and to my ear, it sounds like the Gb blues scale will fit both chords. And I was guessing a blues scale would fit a rock song better than, say Dorian or natural minor?

Not sure why Gb deserves a wow? Different keys need very different fingerings on piano, but for guitar, seems like it’s just the same fingering but starting at a different fret (the tricky part looks like learning the different CAGED forms, which is why I rushed ahead to learn those before mastering one, oops).

It’s splitting hairs but guitarsits would call it F# instead of Gb. It’s just convention and the way the information is conveyed.

The chords for Lightning Crashes, from a guitarists perspective are:
Verses / chorus
E → B → F# → F#
Bridge / solo
G#m → D#m → E → F#m

In the standard notation, sheet music would indicate a key signature of B major.
But the B chord is not home base not the tonic. That honour belongs to the F#.
So we look at this song differently.
F# is tonic = I = F#, A#, C#,
G#m is ii = G#, B, D#
B is IV = B, D#, F#
E is bVII = E, G#, B
This is modal … F# mixolydian.

If you play F# minor pentatonic you will be using:
F#, A, B, C#, E
The blues scale adds the note C:
F#, A, B, C, C#, E

F# mixolydian is:
F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E

Comparing the blues scale with the mixolydian, there are some notes that will clash.
I may have taken this too far already.

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YES, I meant G#, not Gb! Oy, I’ve been mistakenly thinking of it as Gb this whole time. Reminds me that I need to actually think the notes as I play them. I can play it from memory now, so I haven’t looked at my notes in ages, and I wrote it down as Abm and Ebm.

For the bridge, I’m pretty sure it goes between G#m to D#/Ebm, as it took me ages to be able to play those chords. These are how I’m doing them:

   Abm  Ebm

I also posted a recording here, but that’s with a capo to transpose it a bit higher for my voice. Another CalRCV volunteer recorded a bass track in the original key for me, so I’m planning on going with that and just recording the vocals earlier in the morning when I can usually sing that low.

I actually hadn’t analyzed the song that closely, as it was one of the first I learned and only has 5 chords. For some reason, I just kinda figured it was in E because that was the first chord, but of course you’re totally right that it’s actually in F# mixolydian!

So, if I do the G# blues scale, that’s

G# B C# D D# F# G#

And the D is the only note that doesn’t fit F# mixolydian, but it’s the blue note already, so it actually feels right to my ear that it doesn’t fit.

But if I want, I can switch to the F# mixolydian, right? Seems like the Eb blues scale would also work, as again the only note that doesn’t fit F# mixolydian is the A natural, which is again the blue note.

Thanks for all your help and advice. I took a little bit of jazz piano theory but never got far enough to actually solo smoothly, so I am probably at the point where I know just enough to be dangerous.


I have just realised that Justin has done a lesson on this song. https://www.justinguitar.com/songs/live-lightning-crashes-chords-tabs-guitar-lesson-sg-133

Naughty Justin.
I shall have to take him to task.
He describes E, B and F#.
Then for the bridge he describes Abm and Ebm.
Bad boy! :wink:
Mixing sharps and flats is a no-no.
He should have called them G#m and D#m.
I have sent him a message.

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Yes, it does, I have corrected my error above.
RE: the chord shapes … Check Justin’s lesson. If you can play barre chords then G#m and D#m are going to be accessible to you.

Now I’ve slept on it, you can totally see the solo section (bridge) as having shifted to a new tonal centre (a new key) where G# is the tonic and we are suddenly in the key of G# minor.

Important note.
G# minor (natural minor) = G# aeolian which is also a mode of B major.

F# mixolydian is a mode of B major.
G# aeolian is a mode of B major.

The chords and the notes have not altered but the home base has.

Towards the end of the solo the move to E then F# is a neat transition and a way to switch back around and return to F# mixolydian.

Therefore, in terms of improv over the solo section you can totally use G# minor, G# minor pentatonic, G# blues scale.

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Ah yes, I’d watched Justin’s lesson, but it was after I’d already learned the song elsewhere, so I mostly only paid attention to his advice on the patch settings.

Yes, that D# is a lot easier! I’m putting in some transition notes between the chords as such now:

   G#m            D#m
    4  4          6  6

Therefore, in terms of improv over the solo section you can totally use G# minor, G# minor pentatonic, G# blues scale.

Okay, great to know. Thanks! I’m guessing not G# Dorian for rock? I haven’t learned the minor scales yet (I just finished Beginner, Grade 2, Module 12, although I skipped most of Grade 1). I can muddle my way through one because I know the notes, but planning on just sticking to the blues scale, at least for now.

For the blues scale 4-in-a-line exercise, is it fine to use mini-barres when playing two notes in a row that are the same fret for different strings?

Dorian can totally be used in rock. Santana wouldn’t be Santana without Dorian.
The big deal with dorian is the natural 6th degree. From G# that would be an E natural note, which should sound great as you leave the solo section using chords E and B. Does it sound good over the main chunk of G#m and D#m?
Try it and see.

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