Scales to Use For Guitar Solos

by Bill
(Anaheim, California)

I was playing lead over a song using all 7th chords in the key of E..... obviously the E minor pentatonic scale sounded great... but then for fun, I switched to the A minor pentatonic scale and it sounded great also.

I really have 2 questions... why does A sound good also, I don't think it is the relative minor is it?.... and if a song has all 7th chords, does that mean that the key is "minor?"

Thanks a million


Hi, Bill!

Question 1: Why does the "A" pentatonic minor sound good over 7th chords in the key of E?

I am assuming that there are only three chords that you are playing--E7 A7 and B7--because this type of I IV V blues progression is the only kind of progression that uses dominant 7ths for every chord.

The notes in these chords include G#,F#,C# and D#. These are the notes that any scale you use must take into account. The notes in the "A" pentatonic minor scale are: A C D E G. As you can see, 3 of those notes clash with the notes in your chords.

So--there are some possibilities to consider. 1. Are these the chords you are using, or are the chords maybe actually NOT in the key of "E"?

2. Are you playing "power" chords? If this is the case, then, because the power chord has only 2 notes, all of the clashing sharp notes are left out of the chords and the A pentatonic minor scale will be just fine.

If you want to write again and tell me what chords
you are using, maybe I can be of more help. By the way, the relative minor of "E" is "C#", so the C# pentatonic minor scale will work.

Question 2: The fact that a chord progression has only 7th chords does NOT make it a minor progression. Here is a link to a page on my site that will help you to understand minor progressions--Minor Chord Progressions.

You will also want to check out the rest of the "Music Theory" section.

Hope this helps!


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