Overall Rating: 4.6 (of 5)
Rating Votes %
37 77 ||
8 17 ||
1 2 ||
1 2 ||
1 2 ||
From 48 votes total
Rate This Lesson
Rate from 1 (poor) to 5 (best)
Send Feedback

Major Pentatonics: A Moving Lesson

WholeNote Staff (593) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 100
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

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.

Pentatonic 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:
  1. Major
  2. Minor
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:

C Major Scale
C Maj Pentatonic