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I know how to play a blues pentatonic but i'd like to try a pentatonic more with a rock sound. What are the best pentatonics?

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    Hi Francesco! What prevented you from analysing a particular rock solo you like, and figuring out what constitutes it? ^^ – moonwave99 Jan 9 '20 at 18:58
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    Very unusual that ALL answers get dvd. What the heck is going on here? Another dver with no gumption? Don't be shy - explain what's going on in your mind - if anything! – Tim Jan 9 '20 at 19:16
  • Could be there is an super expert around here? – Albrecht Hügli Jan 9 '20 at 20:26
  • I guess some folks really don't want to talk about pentatonic scale in rock! Down votes and votes to close all over, but like @Tim says no comments to explain. – Michael Curtis Jan 9 '20 at 20:47
  • I can't believe all these answers have been down voted. They are all good. – ggcg Jan 9 '20 at 21:17
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The "blues scale" is just a minor pentatonic scale with a b5 or #4 (depending on how you want to spell the half step between the 4th and 5th scale degrees, I think most use b5.)

A lot of classic hard rock actual uses the flat fifth. Welcome to the Jungle and Jamie's Cryin come to mind. It's one of the evolutionary links between rock and blues.

But if you want a rock style that moves away from that blues origin, try a plain minor pentatonic scale. Basically, omitting the b5 removes the characteristic tone that makes the bluesy sound.

IMO you can use either minor or major pentatonic in rock music. It all depends on the specific rock style.


From comments:

I use a scale that is A/C/D/E/G/A/C/D/E/G/A/B# but I don't know if it is called a minor pent

The A C D E G A part of that is a minor pentatonic scale.

The B# at the end would be clearer as C natural but that is another matter.

The five tones A C D E G are what make it penta-tonic. Penta means five.

A technical definition would give the intervals above the starting note, the tonic.

  • start on some tonic, that's the first scale degree
  • second scale degree is a minor third above the tonic
  • third scale degree is a perfect fourth above the tonic
  • fourth scale degree is a perfect fifth above the tonic
  • fifth scale degree is a minor seventh above the tonic

You may need some time to learn the technical terms, but this is the music theory way of describing the minor pentatonic scale.

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  • Never actually workrd out the difference between b5 and #4. Why should Welcome to the Jungle be b5 rather than #4? – Tim Jan 9 '20 at 18:08
  • I suppose it's just convention. But b5 4 b3 1 is a cliche line, so b5 makes sense from that perspective of a descent to 4 . That's the movement in both of those rock songs. – Michael Curtis Jan 9 '20 at 18:17
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I think to sound more rocky you don’t need any special or different pentatonic scale but what you need is a different rhythm and and different chords like e.g. the Beatles used in Sgt. Pepper ...

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  • I thought the same. Not a different scale/tonality, but a different rhythm. – Michael Curtis Jan 9 '20 at 20:45
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Not sure what constitutes 'blues pentatonic' - maybe minor pent? But in general use in rock is that minor pent. Along with the major pent. which is often used alongside its partner.

The same goes for the actual 'Blues' scales, and their notes. Both minor and major blues notes are played in a lot of that style of music, mixing and matching. The more notes available, the merrier!

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  • I use a scale that is A/C/D/E/G/A/C/D/E/G/A/B# but I don't know if it is called a minor pent, but I'd like a scale that is more on a rock style and not a blues one. – FrancescoNirvanaFan Jan 9 '20 at 17:48
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    The whole point in pent is that it represents five. – Tim Jan 9 '20 at 18:05
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If you play the so, la, do, re, mi (like D,E,G,A,B in G- major) above the chords of a key that's a minor third lower (in this case E7) you have a pentatonic scale that fits well as blues or rock scale to this harmony: we have D=7th, E= root, G= minor 3rd, A= 4th, B= 5th. (you can bend the A to a b5 and create another blue note.)

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