Watch the Major-Minor Pentatonic Scales online guitar lesson by Frank Vignola from Modern Method for Guitar
Two scales that are closely related to one another and prevalent in jazz, rock, country, folk, and bluegrass are the major and minor pentatonic scales. Many guitar players have had successful careers using only these two scales.
1. As its name implies, pentatonic scales are composed of five notes (penta = five and tonic = notes).
2. Play the pentatonic major scale in the key of C. (C-D-E-G-A).
3. The pentatonic minor scale, commonly referred to as the blues scale, is made up of the following intervals: Root, b3rd, 4th, 5th, b7th, and players often add the flat 5th to this scale.
4. To play the pentatonic minor or blues scale, start with the C pentatonic major scale, but begin playing on the "relative minor," which is the 6th note in the scale A. Continue to play the same notes up an octave.
5. Play the pentatonic minor scale in the key of A. (A-C-D-E-G). Note that these are the same notes we used for the C pentatonic major scale, just starting and stopping on the A.
6. Sing these scales to internalize their sound.
7. You can also mix the major and minor pentatonic scales for great effect. For example, try starting a phrase with the C major pentatonic and ending with the C minor pentatonic.
8. Learn to play these scales all over the fingerboard, playing in all keys, using all possible fingerings.
9. Play horizontally, vertically and combine both approaches.
10. Included in this chapter is a visual of a few pentatonic major and minor scales to help you get started.