Question: How to Mix Major & Minor Leads Over Chord Changes

Discussion in 'Theory Zone - Guitar Theory Made Useful' started by ChicagoNed, Aug 23, 2020.

  1. ChicagoNed

    ChicagoNed Blues Newbie

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    Hi Everyone,

    I am new to BGU, still looking for classes that discuss the subject line question. I am a self taught guy and fairly good at my own riffs but I am totally stuck in the minor pentatonic scale, good at boxes 1-3. I seldom go above Box 3 because I play a lot on my acoustic and it's harder up the neck. But now I want to mix major and minor notes in my leads over chord changes 4 & 5 but have some rookie questions:

    • First, I download and play to blues backing tracks labelled as minor assuming they sound more bluesy. Is that a correct assumption? Also, if there is a small case letter after the key's letter that means major, correct? I believe so and min is obviously the minor. Also, if it's just the letter and it doesn't have m or min after it, do I assume that's major?

    • If I am playing to a backing track that's in A minor, my lead over the 1 chord should be in the A major scale, correct?

    • When the track switches to the 4 & 5 chords, I do my leads in the A minor pentatonic cases, correct?

    • Or, in a Amin track, when the track switches to the 4 & 5 chords, should I solo in the D & E minor (or major) scales?

    I presently play 100% by ear, sound pretty good but often it's luck, I know where my root notes are in my two favorite keys of E & A. But I feel if I can understand when to change out of the minor scales over the chord changes I will sound mo bettah and not leave it up to my ear. I'm still searching for the classes that discuss this but there is sooooo much content on this site it is daunting.

    Thanks,

    Ned
     
    #1 ChicagoNed, Aug 23, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2020
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  2. PapaBear

    PapaBear Guit Fiddlier

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    It's totally up to you, but all those approaches will work, if your All Access, there is a course by that very name
     
  3. PapaBear

    PapaBear Guit Fiddlier

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    One note those approaches work over a Major blues not a minor blues, playing a Major pentatonic over a minor chord will not sound good, at least to my ear
     
  4. snarf

    snarf musician wannabe

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    • First, I download and play to blues backing tracks labelled as minor assuming they sound more bluesy. Is that a correct assumption? Also, if there is a small case letter after the key's letter that means major, correct? I believe so and min is obviously the minor. Also, if it's just the letter and it doesn't have m or min after it, do I assume that's major? When you download a backing track, you don't want a minor one if you're trying to mix major and minor sounds. Think of it this way. You can play the E minor pent over an E major chord, but you can't play the E major pent over an E minor chord. Or, I guess you can, but it's going to sound jacked up and bad to most everyone listening. Small case letter behind a key means minor. Em (or Emin) = E minor. E (or Emaj) = E major.

    • If I am playing to a backing track that's in A minor, my lead over the 1 chord should be in the A major scale, correct? No. If you're playing to a backing track that is in A minor, your lead over the I chord should be the A minor pent. Remember, you can play the minor pent over a major chord, but it's going to sound really bad if you play the major pent over a minor chord. The key is Am (minor), you want to play the Am pent. The key is A (major), you can play either the A or Am pent over the I and it'll sound fine.

    • When the track switches to the 4 & 5 chords, I do my leads in the A minor pentatonic cases, correct? Right. If it's a jam track in A, play the A major pent over A and the A minor pent over D and E. Use some leading tones, and that'll sound killer. If it's a jam track in Am, you play the A minor pent over the whole thing.

    • Or, in a Amin track, when the track switches to the 4 & 5 chords, should I solo in the D & E minor (or major) scales? I'm going to say to skip this subject for the time being. Get your head around the Maj/Min sound thing first before you start delving into what Griff calls "every chord's the I chord."

    Are you AAP? If so, take a look at Lesson 22 in BGU2. That will answer your question a bit better. Or, take a look at the Major/Minor Blues Scales course. It'll go into more as well.
     
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  5. ChicagoNed

    ChicagoNed Blues Newbie

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    Thanks guys. I am AAP.
     
  6. ChicagoNed

    ChicagoNed Blues Newbie

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    Hi Snarf, that explains it well, thanks. Lastly, as I download backing tracks in A (where I am most comfortable) does major or minor sound more bluesy or it doesn't matter?

    Many thanks,

    Ned
     
  7. MikeS

    MikeS Allen, TX
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    Yep, what Snarf said....
     
  8. MikeS

    MikeS Allen, TX
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    What sounds bluesy is:
    -Playing Major over the I chord & minor over the IV &V (but minor over everything sounds great too)
    -Include the blue note in your playing
    -Play a bit behind the beat (in the pocket)
    Others can probably add to this list but these three things are what I'd do.
     
  9. Griff

    Griff Chief Cook And Bottle Washer
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    I think one of the most confusing things about all of this is the fact that the jam tracks often get mislabeled :(

    For example, let's say your jam track says it's in "A", but contains A minor, D7, and E7? It's not really in A, but if it's in "A Minor" then you would expect the D and E to also be minor... so it can get weird, quickly.

    Instead, look at it like this:

    If I is Minor - you have one choice, the I minor p/b (pentatonic/blues, not peanut butter) scale. (I'm not going into modes and stuff here.)

    If I is 7th - you have 2 choices, I major p/b, or I minor p/b

    If IV is Minor - you have 2 choices, I minor p/b or IV minor p/b

    If IV is 7 - you have 2 choices, I minor p/b or IV major p/b (you can sprinkle in IV minor p/b as well, but don't use it exclusively)

    If V is Minor - I minor or V minor

    if V is 7 - I minor, V major (with sprinkles of V minor). You can actually use the I major as well, technically, but it's less common.

    That might be easier, but notice that it's vital you know what the chords are before you choose your approach. If you don't know, you're limited to the I minor the whole time... it's the common thread amongst all chords.
     
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  10. ChicagoNed

    ChicagoNed Blues Newbie

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    Thanks Griff! I printed that out and will study it. I did find a great course I'm taking now in BGU2 on Major & Minor Scales. However, what I am really looking for, and the reason I joined, I can't find although some folks have pointed me in the right direction. Still can't find it...The transitioning tween the 1-4-5.

    I am a 95% self taught guy, up to now 83.65% acoustic but bought a Strat for my Bday since at 67 I don't have many of those left. I have many riffs and tricks but one thing I can't get straight is the best way of transitioning between the 1-4-5s, I just got a great tip from you to use the root note (as the transition between majors and minors). I play 100% by ear, I know no theory (although in A with boxes 1-3 I sound good on two beers). The major/minor thing is separate, I need to know more about following the chords.

    Do you know how I can find such courses on the site? Here's me doing BGU today during our heat wave:

    Thanks!

    Ned Strat in Hammock 2.jpg
     
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  11. BoogieMan

    BoogieMan Blues Junior

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    Nice setup Ned. Love that little amp (not a BOSS mini by any chance)? For transitioning between chords, check out Griff's Blues Solo Construction Kit. It might be what you are looking for.
     
  12. Griff

    Griff Chief Cook And Bottle Washer
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    Sounds to me like you might really like Chord By Chord blues soloing, which will add arpeggios and chord tones into the mix.

    The art/science of really nailing changes is to make sure our lines land on chord tones when you go from one chord to the next. The root is fine, but it's not as cool as the 3rd or 7th of the new chord, and you're probably not used to looking for those. Chord by Chord Blues Soloing is more about using only chord tones and really working around them. After a while, they get comfortable and you can start to mix them with your pentatonic scales for the best of both worlds, which is what I think most people really want to hear.
     
  13. ChicagoNed

    ChicagoNed Blues Newbie

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    Hi BoogieMan,
    That little amp is a Blackstar, Model Fly 3.

    https://www.amazon.com/Blackstar-Guitar-Combo-Amplifier-FLY3/dp/B00PDJXGIG


    I patch the Strat into it and headphones out so it's muted and I only hear it, and Griff's lesson is coming out my laptop into a Sony portable speaker. This set up works well and is very mobile so my lessons and practice areas are all over. Sometimes I have the laptop going into another set of cheap foam headsets so I wear two pair and not disturb anybody, or embarrass myself. I will look into the Blues Solo Construction Kit after I finish these present ones. Thanks!