The Major Pentatonic Scale

I thought I’d follow up on my Minor Pentatonic Scale post with a post on the Major Pentatonic Scale. This post is really just a log of the 5 Major Pentatonic Scale shapes, which are exactly the same as the Minor Pentatonic shapes. The only difference is their position on the fretboard and the position of the root notes within those shapes. I have made it clear in the transcriptions below where the root notes can be found in each shape, by finishing on a root note at the exit of each shape. This needs to be learnt in order to play the shapes in different keys.

Although the shapes of the Major Pentatonic Scale are the same as the Minor Pentatonic, they obviously don’t sound the same and the reason for that can be explained by the intervals thrown up by each scale. For the purpose of this demonstration I’ll use the subjects of my Minor and Major Pentatonic Scale posts – Am Pentatonic and C Maj Pentatonic. Simply analysing the notes tells us nothing, they are identical –

Am Pent – A,C,D,E,G

C Maj Pent – C,D,E,G,A

It’s when we look at the intervals that the difference becomes clear –

Am Pent – Root Note, Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th & Minor 7th

C Maj Pent – Root Note, Major 2nd, Major 3rd, Perfect 5th & Major 6th

The difference in sound is now obvious.

Here are the five shapes of C Major Pentatonic –

The Major Pentatonic Scale In C

You’ll notice they are exactly the same as the shapes of A Minor Pentatonic. I’ve made the exit note for each shape in the transcription a C rather than an A due to the change in root note.

I’ve also transcribed the 5 shapes of A Major Pentatonic here as changing key is vital to absorbing and understanding any scale –

The Major Pentatonic Scale In A

I thought I would do a separate post on putting this scale into action as I demonstrated how to practice them in the minor pentatonic post. For now try practicing them over this chord progression –

(For C Maj Pent)

C                      |Am    /G

(For A Maj Pent)

A                      |F#m   /E

Tagged with: