What Is The Major Pentatonic Scale
The major pentatonic scale is a 5 note scale. In the key of G the notes will be G, A, B, D, and E.
The scale is often used in situations where you want kind of an upbeat bright sound like the solo for a pop country or a country blues song.
I like to mix up the major pentatonic scale with the minor pentatonic scale when I'm soloing. You have to use your ears to decide what sounds good… but with practice it really works… and it's a lot of fun.
“Movable” G Major Pentatonic Scale
In this lesson I'll teach you one position of that G major pentatonic scale. There are many more positions, and it's helpful to learn several so you can play up and down the neck when you're jamming. However, I found it works better with students to start with one position and get comfortable with using it before moving on to the 2nd and 3rd.
The scale is a movable scale pattern. That means you can move it up and down the neck and it will be a different scale. For example… Move the G major pentatonic scale up 2 frets and it becomes the a major pentatonic scale.
Best Way To Learn The Scale… Use It!
The best way to learn the scale is to use it. Everyone has to start out just learning where the notes are, but I encourage you to start playing along with either a live band (ideal) or backing tracks (not as scary) as soon as you can.
Here's some more tips to help you get the most out of this scale.
- Start off by just practicing playing the notes… First going up, and then coming back down. If it's difficult to remember the whole scale play part of it and add to that little by little.
- Now try doing the same thing with a metronome… go as slow as you have to to do it without stopping.
- Spread this out over time and do a little bit each day.
- When you can go up and down the scale without stopping it's time to try it with a backing track. Start off by just playing the scale with the track.
- Now try creating your own licks while playing with a backing track. Keep it simple at first and remember it really can be fun if you just experiment. You're just deciding what you like and what you don't like. Every time you play something you don't like you just learned something new.
- The final step is to record yourself playing along with a backing track. I recommend using your phone. Nowadays most phones have the ability to record both audio and video.
Backing Track And Skillful Learning
The free downloadable Backing Track I've included is based on the progression in the Jazzy Cool Chords lesson. It's in the key of G major.
You can download and play along with this backing track on your computer, or you can play along while streaming as well.
As you play along listen carefully and decide what notes sound good over which chords. Pay attention to the sound and try not to get caught up in your head. (like this: “is that the right note?”, “oh no… I did it wrong again”, “what note should I play now?”, etc.)
I call it Listening without Judgment. You are making a note of what you like and don't like, but without getting caught up in a story about it. This kind of “listening without constantly judging” comes easy for some, but for me it's a learned skill… And I'm still working on it.
We're looking for improvement… not perfection 🙂
If you are a member of my Real Guitar School online membership guitar learning program you'll find more help for this lesson as well as a complete course on improvisation.
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Download the Lesson Cheat Sheet & Backing Track Here:
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