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The Most Important Scale You Need For Learning Guitar Part 2 - The Major Pentatonic Scale

Updated: Jun 18, 2018

In part 1 of this series of articles we looked at the minor pentatonic scale and more importantly, how you can begin to understand not just scales but the relationship between notes by thinking of them as intervals. Intervals are of course are very useful to guitar players as understanding the fretboard is often easier to achieve through the use of shapes (scale patterns and chord shapes for example) rather than by learning the notes. Of course, learning the notes are useful too but as shapes are movable you can begin to quickly understand more about the relationship between the theory and the sound much quicker this way.

Of course the minor pentatonic scale is limiting because, surprise surprise, it's in a minor key. Here is where we need to learn the major pentatonic scale to give your playing the flexibility to play in both major and minor keys. Here is an example shape of the major pentatonic scale.

Look familiar?

For those in the know this is also the shape for the 1st position of the minor pentatonic scale. However the intervals are different. Firstly, the root note is in a different place. In the above diagram, if it were being used as a minor pentatonic scale, the root note would be an A note, indicating that the scale would be an A minor pentatonic scale. The above major pentatonic scale has it's root note as a C which indicates that the scale is a C major pentatonic scale.