Jam The Blues In Every Key

View the full lesson at Jam The Blues In Every Key | JustinGuitar

Hey Justin and team. Great course. Thanks for all the hard work. So I am confused about one thing : I thought the minor pentatonic scales had to be used with minor keys ? But in this last video Justin is just saying in the key of A, or E, or G or whatever. I have played over lots of backing tracks lately and sometimes it says a major key and my solos in minor penta sound weird. How about the Major pentatonic ? Also I had the vague recollection that to play a minor penta in a major key you had to go to the relative minor of that key (Am for C, F# for A etc). Thanks for enlightening me !

Hey Yoann1,

Playing the minor pentatonic scale over a major chord progression is specific to the blues style. In fact, it’s one of the things that gives the blues its particular feel. When I say “blues”, that could include songs in other forms, like country or rock, that have a bluesy feel to them. This is especially true when the chords are dominant 7 chords (as for most blues).

But, you’re right, if you take a generic song in a major key, the minor pentatonic scale is probably not going to sound good. The major pentatonic, or a full major scale, would be a better choice.

Your vague recollection is sort of correct. If you want to play A major pentatonic, say, the scale pattern is the same as F# minor pentatonic. However, you would not play the same licks and phrases that you typically play in the minor pentatonic. Your root note would be A (3rd string, 2nd fret) and not F# (4th string, 4th fret), in pattern 1.

Hope this helps.

Hi @Yoann1

No - minor pentatonic in a blues context especially, is good for minor and major key blues.

A major blues - A minor pentatonic.
A minor blues - A minor pentatonic.

The major pentatonic can be used in a blues context … with care. It is a different scale with different intervals, different sounds, you will use different sorts of licks. And you cannot, for example, play the A major pentatonic over all three chords in a typical 12-bar blues in the key of A. Some of the notes will sound wrong over some of the chords. Justin does have lessons on using the major pentatonic in the blues The Major Pentatonic In Blues | JustinGuitar.com and these are essential viewing when you want to move in hat direction.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | Community Moderator, Official Guide, JustinGuitar Approved Teacher

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This amazing, thanks John !

Thanks so much Richard !

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I am confused on what to practice after this lesson. Should I do anything other than figuring out the keys of songs and jamming along? Before I move on to grade 6 rhythm guitar?

As I said on another thread your raised, you might want to start by transcribing and learning some blues solos from established artists.

Yes I have learned the intro solo and verses from Layla and now working on Sunshine of your Love solo. Don’t you think I should learn the other patterns as well before learning more solos? Because if I knew the other pentatonic patterns, I feel like I could understand the solo better and get more out of it since they would then become an application of that theoretical information for me.

I think you need both.

Learning someone else’s solo shows you timing and what you can do with licks, bends etc

Learning scales allows you to apply that fluidly to your own needs

I’m still learning scale patterns and far off knowing when and where to apply them haha

Sorry a bit confused: if you’re at Grade 5 and considering moving onto Grade 6 you should know all the scales already

From Grade 4 onwards Justin gives advice on constructing your own practice routine.

Trying to figure out where we go from here. The next lesson is a bunch of blues licks (which I plan on exploring), but after that the lesson is grade 7. Where do we learn the patterns other than 1 and 2? Are they taught within the blues licks module?


Thank you! Not sure why the course doesn’t take you there when you follow the “next module” buttons.

Wow, I hadn’t even seen that module!

Yes, I raised this same issue about the major pentatonic licks lessons. They are hidden away in a different grade and also hard to find. It would be nice to have them all accessible from the “Courses by Style - Blues” link.

Noted that some of the song links in the lesson are no longer working. However - searching the titles in Youtube (or your streaming service of choice) will soon sort this out.