If you are looking to broaden your musical vocabulary, I would recommend getting to grips with the major pentatonic scale. Alongside the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales, the major pentatonic scale is one of the fundamental scales important in the blues.
As I will explain in more detail throughout, learning the major pentatonic scale will help you to broaden your musical vocabulary whilst creating a different sound and feel in your playing. For reasons I will detail in the later lessons of this course, learning the major pentatonic scale will also help you to improve your musicianship.
I will cover each of these points in more detail in the coming lessons. However the only point to appreciate at this stage is that there is a wide range of benefits to learning the major pentatonic scale. In fact I would argue that for most guitarists, learning and being able to utilise the major pentatonic scale transforms their playing.
This is because it opens up a huge variety of different sounds and feels. It also allows you to create licks and ideas that are very different to those you might use when playing the minor pentatonic or minor blues scales.
Now, unlike the minor pentatonic and minor blues scale – it is a little more challenging to get to grips with the major pentatonic scale. It is less familiar and less widely used than the minor pentatonic scale, and also more complicated. There are certain rules you have to keep in mind when using the major pentatonic scale. And the musical contexts in which you can use the scale are also more limited than the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales.
A lot of guitar players overlook this when they first encounter the major pentatonic scale. And this cause them a lot of problems. In fact it is partly for this reason that a lot of blues guitarists never really engage with the major pentatonic scale. They try it out and it doesn’t sound particularly good. And typically they can’t work out why this is the case. They quickly grow tired with it, and then return to the familiarity of the minor pentatonic or minor blues scales.
To stop that from happening to you, I have split this course into two sections. In this first section you will learn:
- How the major pentatonic scale functions and how it compares to the minor pentatonic scale
- The 5 shapes of the major pentatonic scale
- The key rules you need to keep in mind when using the scale
- How you can get started using the major pentatonic scale in your playing
In the second part of this course, we will build on the practical elements noted above. We will look at small major pentatonic box shapes that you can use to create a range of cool blues licks in your playing. This will help you to start using the major pentatonic scale confidently and effectively in your playing.
However, the information we will cover in this first part of the course is essential to allowing you to utilise the scale effectively. I often compare progressing as a guitar player to building a house. You have to build strong foundations if you want to become a well rounded player.
And so whilst some of the material in this course might feel a little heavy going at times, stick with it. It will help you to understand what you are playing, how it works and why it is effective. This will put you into the best position to tackle not only the major pentatonic scale, but also more advanced material in the future.
As a final point before we move on, it is worth noting that the major pentatonic scale is best learnt after you already feel comfortable with both the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales. So if you aren’t in that position I would recommend going through the following courses first:
- An Introduction To The Minor Pentatonic Scale
- Creating Solos With The Minor Pentatonic Scale
- How To Connect The 5 Pentatonic Shapes
- An Introduction To The Blues Scale
This will ensure that you are maximising each of those scales. It will also put you into a much better position to get to grips with the major pentatonic scale. So with that final caveat out of the way, let’s get into it! Head over to the next lesson, where we will look at the main benefits of learning the major pentatonic scale.