By Bill McRea

The major pentatonic is similar to the minor pentatonic: The intervals for a major pentatonic are 1 2 3 5 6 1. The C major scale includes C D E G A C. The difference between the major and minor scale is the minor scale has a flatten 3rd interval. The following is the most common generic box shape for the pentatonic major scale:

e|—|-O-|—|-o-|—|
B|—|-o-|—|-o-|—|
G|-o-|—|-o-|—|—|
D|-o-|—|—|-O-|—|
A|-o-|—|—|-o-|—|
E|—|-O-|—|-o-|—|

The major pentatonic sounds happier and are not used as extensively in rock and blues as the minor version of the scale. They sound good over major chords, and power chords. Sometimes the minor and major scales are used in the same song, with the major scale used for the chorus, and the minor for the verse.

There are no hard and fast rules when in comes to scales and soloing. It’s a matter of style and personal choice, as long as it sounds good, go for it. But you will find that if you use these simple scale forms in conjunction with an appropriate chord progression this will sound good more often.

A chord progression based on the A minor chord will sound good with A minor pentatonic and a C major chord will sound good with C major scale. For information on chord progressions please go to the section at our web site on chord progressions.

Bill McRea is the publisher of The
Guitar Warehouse
and Guitar Playing Techniques. Both sites offer free lesson and product sales.

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