If you are unfamiliar with the overall concept of the pentatonic scale and patterns then you can check out these tutorials which explains everything you could want to know about the major and minor pentatonic scales.
Pentatonic minor has 5 five notes (hence the name; "penta" means "five"). You take the normal, natural minor diatonic scale which has 7 notes and leave 2 of them out.
So, we start with the A natural minor notes and scale degrees:
A(1) - B(2) - C(3) - D(4) - E(5) - F(6) - G(7)
Then, we leave out two notes, in pentatonic minor, the 2 & 6:
A(1) - C(3) - D(4) - E(5) - G(7)
Putting this on the fretboard as a pattern/shape gets us the typical "box shape". Most beginning guitarists are familar with this pattern. And it is a great one to start with because it's easy to SEE on the fretboard. You can just bounce back and forth between the "walls" of that "box"! But notice that when you play a typical blues song you use major chords (or dominant 7 chords) for the rhythm part, while you are soloing using the minor pentatonic scale. This means that while your solo scale has a minor 3rd scale degree, your chord has a major 3rd scale degree!
This is one of the reasons "blues" sounds like it does: the use of minor notes in a primarily major harmonic context. This is the origin of the "blue" note sound of early blues and jazz.
So, in order to make our blues sound better, we should incorporate major notes into the minor scales when we solo, too!
Let's give it a try!
Christopher's latest Blues tutorials
Learn more about your instructor
- Spicing Up Your Blues Licks
- Finding the I Chord Notes
- I Chord an Octave Lower
- I Chord Play Along
- Finding the IV Chord Notes
- IV Chord Play Along
- Finding the V Chord Notes
- V Chord Play Along
- Building a Turnaround
- 12 Bar Blues Form
- Major Notes In Minor Pentatonic Play Along 80 BPM
- Major Notes In Minor Pentatonic Play Along 120 BPM
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