Every major scale contains a major pentatonic scale. These scales are very popular in country, blues and rock. The pentatonic scales contains only 5 notes, a short version of the major scale.
The Major Penta Scales
The major 5 note scale is a shortcut version of the major scale leaving out the 4th and 7th notes. The top scale is C major the bottom is a C major penta scale.
Here is a link to the major scale section if you want to learn more about major scales.
Here is a short example of the major pentatonic scale.
The C major pentatonic scale.
You have heard many songs based on these 5 notes.
Major Pentatonic Pattern Positions
These notes might confuse you if you’re not used to playing scales, start from the root until you know what the scale sounds like and then add the other notes.
In case your not used to viewing scales in a fretboard form, the 6th string is on the left of the drawing.
All you have to do is line up the root with whatever scale form you want. If you need help finding where the notes are on the guitar fretboard click here.
Nut is on top, 6th string on your left
The Pentatonic Pattern Puzzle
All of these patterns are connected together. Half of one pattern is also a half of another one. If you look at the first pattern you will see a piece of it in the second pattern. The second pattern has a piece of it in the 3rd pattern and so on.
If you look at the 5th pattern you will see a piece of it in the first pattern. These patterns are all over the guitar neck depending on the root note you start with. You can play them in any order as long as it sounds good.
We only need 5 patterns because there are only 5 notes in the scale. Each pattern will start with a note from that scale. The scale is your choice.
It may sound confusing but if you take your time and learn one piece of information at a time. You will get there.
You know whats crazy about these patterns? They are the same as the minor pentatonic scales. The only difference is the root note.
Check Out the Minor Pentatonic Page
Left Handed Positions
Here’s a left handed version for all you south paws.
Nut is on top 6th string on the right
If you have trouble trying to memorize these positions or notes just do one 5 note octave at a time and learn it all over the neck.
Sometimes learning two string sets is easier too. It is also good to learn the scale on one string.
Patterns are good for learning but don’t get locked into playing in pattern positions all the time. They will make your solo’s too predictable and boring.
Try combinations of these patterns together or just forget the patterns and concentrate on connecting the 5 notes.
Major Pentatonic Scales
You will notice there are 13 scales because F♯ and G♭ have the same pitch they’re just written different.