Sub­sti­tute

This Is­sue: Pen­ta­tonic Su­per­im­po­si­tions

Guitarist - - Opinion -

If there was a way to use your ex­ist­ing pen­ta­tonic scales and licks to play over a va­ri­ety of new chords – and sound more ex­otic while you’re at it – it would sound too good to be true, wouldn’t it? Well, ac­tu­ally it is true… This A mi­nor pen­ta­tonic is su­per­im­posed over a C ma­jor chord. You will find the same licks and lines that fit over A mi­nor will fit over C ma­jor the ‘rel­a­tive ma­jor’. We start with A, to re­flect the root note of the chord, but you’ll see the root of the scale it­self (A) is re­ferred to at the end, be­fore head­ing back to C.

In short, it is pos­si­ble to play most of your favourite ideas over al­ter­na­tive chords. The only ‘catch’, if there is one, is that you’ll need to un­der­stand how the notes in the scale re­late to the un­der­ly­ing chord. As you’ll see, this isn’t all that com­plex – we’re us­ing chords as­so­ci­ated with the C ma­jor scale (C/A mi­nor/D mi­nor) to il­lus­trate these ideas, but they can be trans­posed to any key. We’ve thrown in a few dif­fer­ent shapes of the pen­ta­tonic for va­ri­ety, but the con­cept re­mains un­changed.

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