I realize that scale theory can be about as exciting as a hangnail, especially if you're just starting out on the guitar. Let's face it: a deep, thorough explanation of the symmetrical diminished scale and its uses can be a fascinating thing, but, when you are just starting out that kind of stuff can be extremely intimidating and really won't do a thing to improve your ability to play the guitar today. That's why this lesson is devoted to a scale that is easy to play and will find its way into your playing RIGHT NOW
Welcome to the world of the Major Pentatonic Scale.
is a nifty little word derived from the latin word meaning five tones
or five notes
. Pentatonic scales
are FIVE note scales. There are two types of five note "pentatonic" scales commonly used:
Both forms of this scale are widely used in country, rock, jazz and blues, but the Major Pentatonic tends to be more closely associated with rock, country-blues and country music proper. In this lesson we'll only focus on the Major Pentatonic scale. We'll save the Minor Pentatonic for an upcoming lesson.
The Major Pentatonic Scale is composed of a specific set of major scale notes:
The 1st (or Root), 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th
It's a major scale with the 4th and 7th tones omitted. Let's look at a C major scale as an example:
The 1st note of the C major scale is the C (also called the root), followed by the 2nd (D), 3rd (E), 4th (F), 5th (G), 6th (A), 7th (B), and C (root). When you omit the F and the B notes, you have a C Major pentatonic scale.
Here's an example of a C Major Scale and a C Major Pentatonic Scale in the open position: