Hi! I have been playing guitar since about 6 years. Taking classes in Holland, with a strong focus on Latin music, especially Atahualpa Yupanqui (Argentina). Now progressing to the point where we start improvising a bit. Have learnt Pentatonic scales and Arpeggios, and am working on various chord progressions.
I'm analyzing the harmonics and rhythmics of Guantanamera (cha cha). I have figured out the I IV V IV I progression in key G. Knowing the Pentatonic scales and related Arpeggios, why should I learn to play the Natural scales as well?
Can you explain what is the value add of learning the natural major and minor scales, if you already know where the roots of all the basic chords are? Perhaps a silly question. But your answer could be very enlightening to me.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Frank, the way you have learned it (mixing pentatonics and arpeggios) is fine for knowing what to play over each chord in a progression. In fact, it's very beneficial to be able to see it this way as it helps you to harmonise the individual chords.
In a way, you've advanced beyond the stage where you NEED to know the major and minor scales.
However, learning the natural major and minor scales might help by connecting it all together into one root scale.
It may just be a matter of convenience, to help you visualise an entire progression's harmony in a single scale pattern.
For example, take the progression I, ii, IV, V (so in C major that would be: Cmaj, Dm, Fmaj, Gmaj).
All these chords use notes within the C major scale.
It's just another way of seeing the connection between chords and scales - a collection of related intervals, if you like, in one convenient position on the fretboard.
You could still break the progression down in the way you have, and see each chord with its related arpeggio and pentatonic scale, but by knowing that it all ties into that root major scale means you can make a quick run up or down that major scale and you'll know it'll work over those chords.
So, keep doing things the way you are, but familiarise yourself with the major and minor scales as it gives you another, perhaps more fluid way to connect each chord that might give you some new ideas for your solos.
For example, many people see the major scale as useful for voice leading.
Let's say we're moving from the V to I chord. In C major that would be Gmaj to Cmaj.
The 4th and 7th of C major would be natural leading tones for supporting this resolution.
The 4th would resolve to the 3rd and the 7th would resolve to the root when the chord changes from V to I.
It might be difficult to see this relationship if you were breaking each chord down by their related arpeggios and pentatonic scales.
So, same notes, different way of seeing how they relate to one another.
There's also the benefit of being able to harmonise a scale more fluidly. See the below videos I did on using scale patterns (such as natural major) to build related chord shapes...