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Intro to Major Pentatonics

 

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The Major Pentatonic Scale

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While the notes in a major scale sound great when played in a specific, there are certain notes that have to be carefully placed to work within the harmony. The Major Pentatonic Scale works to remedy this situation by eliminating two of the notes from the major, enabling every note to sound harmonically "in the right place." While stylistically this may or may not sound particularly innovative, the fact remains that these 5 notes sit almost perfectly inside their major key and create a foundation to work from when exploring rock soloing. "Penta" meaning five, and "tonic," meaning note; come together to name this scale. Here is a breakdown of the scale stemming from our previous graph.
1    2    3       5    6    
  W - W - HW - W - WH
W = Whole Step (2 frets on the guitar)
H = Half Step (1 fret on the guitar)
HW or WH = Step and Half (3 frets on the guitar) - always ascending up the guitar in pitch

As you notice, the 4th and the 7th are removed (this also eliminates half steps from the scale.) These patterns will very slightly from our major scale patterns, while also creating a new arsenal of ways you can expand on your rock guitar lead ideas. We are going to look at a variety of ways we can alter our major scales from the previous lessons, while also inserting some new ideas into the mix. It is also important to note that the examples used in this lesson are not as broken down in explanation; as the focus is more on the scales themselves. The examples are more of a bonus to test your ability and demonstration. Feel free to try all of these when you feel you have a good grasp on the material.