I've been playing guitar for about 5 years now. When I improvise solos, I tend to do it only in major and minor pentatonic scales. Therefore, my solos are quite restricted. Could someone enlighten me on some other scales I could use to enhance my soloing skills? That would be really helpful. (I play 1970-1980's Rock and Blues)

5 Answers 5

  • Minor pent works well over major chords, but not vice versa.
  • Add the 'blue' note to both maj. and min. pents for a little spice.
  • Try the full major scale notes on major songs.
  • Try the full minor scales (3 of them!) on minor songs.
  • Use the Mixolydian mode for major songs.
  • Use the Dorian mode for minor songs.
  • Use the Lydian mode for major songs.
  • On major songs when using minor pent. or blues, bend the minor thirds up, either a little, or to the proper major third note.
  • Incorporate bends, let downs and slides from any of the notes in your solo, from one scale note to the next, up or down.
  • Depending on OP's definition of 70s Rock, the HW octatonic is great over a Vb9 chord.
    – Richard
    Commented Jul 4, 2016 at 8:35
  • @Tim Could I ask you to clarify the first point of your answer? If I play in A minor pentatonic, should I use A major chors, or C major chords? I actually came here post that as a separate question, but it may be redundant... Thanks in advance! Great answer, by the way...
    – dzenesiz
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 19:07

In the end you can use pretty much any arbitrary scales, switch between them and still sound awesome, as long as there's tasteful structure to it. For example if the song is currently in E minor, try putting in some phrases in D, F, F# or G major diatonic scales, but regularly return to the familiar Em pentatonic.

My general advice would be to listen to more different kinds of music. Almost any old jazz, country etc. Then try integrating whatever sounds good into your basic style. You may need to do it very slowly and listen carefully because you'd be stepping out of the "comfort zone". But seeking comfort is (I suppose) really what restricts your playing.


Without wanting to sound too abstract, I'd recommend learning guitar solos from musicians you enjoy listening too, then try to copy their ideas into your own improvisation. I think what is key is developing your "musical ear" where you can hear in your head what you want to play and know how to translate that onto the guitar. This takes many years of practice to become good at.

As was mentioned in other posts, perhaps try learning a different style of guitar playing to open up your musical ideas?


A good way to practice would be to come up with an arbitrary chord progression in whatever key you like(eg. 1-4-5 in a major key). Loop that sequence. Then try and hit the "target notes" that make up each chord as they are played. Not saying you should be arpeggiating, but practice jumping notes on the scale and soloing while ending on a target note as each chord begins.


This is my suggestion: try to play phrases instead of scales/arpeggios. Don't put too much emphasis on how many scales you know for now. Slow down the process. Take two chords you like and sing something over them, then try to play what you just sang. That will help improve your playing.

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