PostHeaderIcon How You Can Solo Over Chords Using the Minor Pentatonic Scale


Soloing over guitar chords is simple whenever you know how to make use of the minor pentatonic scale. Put spice and power to your solo’s with these easy but highly effective techniques.

The Trouble isn’t understanding how to use the scale it’s using them to the best potential. Here, I’ll explain to you a good way to use the pentatonic scale to solo over the three most common guitar chord types: Major, minor and dominant 7th chords.

1. Major Chords

A Major chord has a relative minor chord. The easy way to find the ‘relative’ minor associated with any major chord on a guitar is to take the note 3 half-steps (3 frets) under the root note of the major chord.

For instance: a C major chord – the root note is C. On a guitar, the note 3 frets under a C note will be A. As a result, A minor is the relative minor of C major.

So to solo over a C major chord, use the A minor pentatonic scale and you can’t make a mistake.

Another example: F major chord – three frets below the root of F, you will find D. Which means you use the D minor pentatonic scale over an F major chord.

One more example: G major chord – three frets under the G root note you’ll find E. So… you use the E minor pentatonic to solo over the G chord.

Now, you may have realized that I detailed C, F and G major chords here. Coincidentally, These are the 1, 4 and 5 chords in the ‘KEY’ of C Major. This applies to all instruments, not just for guitar.

More regarding this later…

2. Minor Chords

These tend to be easy… just use the minor pentatonic of which ever minor chord is. E.g. Use D minor pentatonic for the D minor chord, an E minor pentatonic with an E minor chord, an A minor pentatonic for an A minor Chord.

Now, notice I used D, E and A minor chords as the example? Did you also observe that these chords are the actual 2, 3 and 6 chords of the ‘KEY’ of C Major?

More about that later, also…

3. Dominant 7th Chords

You have a couple of choices here. However basically, you would use the relative minor pentatonic, or the minor pentatonic a tone under the root of the dom7 chord.

For instance, over G7, you can use either E minor pent (relative minor), or else D min pentatonic.

The reason you can use the D minor pentatonic over a G7 chord is because the Dmi chord and G7 chord usually go together inside chord progressions. Driving a Dmi sound over a G7 chord delivers a G7sus sound.

4. Thinking From a ‘KEY” Perspective

Alright, what we have looked at is the KEY of C Major. And basically you can use only the A minor pentatonic on it’s own for ALL the chords in C, or you can even make use of the D and E minor pentatonics to provide some color and more conformity of the chords being used at the time.

Remember, these principles apply to whatever chord you’re using at any moment, but can be applied on a KEY basis, which is a more encompassing picture.

The Key of C Major has these chords:

C, Dm, Em, F, G7, Am, Bmin7b5.

Ami pent may be used over them all, or just the C and Am chords.

D min pentatonic may be used over the F and Dm chords.

E minor can be used over the Em and G7 chords.

We didn’t mention the 7 chord (Bmi7b5) simply because it is not used very much. Yet a good choice may be the Dm pentatonic. In reality, although, you can utilize any of the 3 pentatonics from the C Major scale – Am, Dm or Em. Test them, observe which you enjoy best.

The idea of using pentatonics for different chords is really a powerful idea, you should not overlook the cool sounds you’ll be able to create with such a simple device.

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