Major Pentatonic Scales

Major Pentatonic Scale Charts

The major pentatonic scale is made up of five notes per octave as opposed to a seven note (heptatonic) scale like the major and minor scales. It’s comprised of the 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 notes of the standard major scale. The black dots in each diagram below indicate the scale root notes.

A Major Pentatonic Scale:

Bb Major Pentatonic Scale:

B Major Pentatonic Scale:

C Major Pentatonic Scale:

C# Major Pentatonic Scale:

D Major Pentatonic Scale:

Eb Major Pentatonic Scale:

E Major Pentatonic Scale:

F Major Pentatonic Scale:

F# Major Pentatonic Scale:

G Major Pentatonic Scale:

G# Major Pentatonic Scale:

Tips and tricks

If you already know how to play the minor pentatonic scale, there is an easy trick to figure out the major pentatonic scale. The formation of each major and minor pentatonic scale position is pretty much the exact same except for the starting point or root notes. Start by playing the first position of the minor pentatonic scale – let’s say in the key of A for discussion purposes. Note that you begin the minor pentatonic scale by playing the root note, the A on the fifth fret sixth string, with your pointer finger. Now, to play the major pentatonic in that same key, move your pointer finger down three frets to the second fret. This is where you will play position five of the major pentatonic scale (the exact same scale formation as the first position of the minor pentatonic scale). The key difference is that you will start the scale with your pinky on the A root note and not your pointer finger. This trick works for all five positions!

Practice makes perfect

It really helps to visualize this on the neck of the guitar. Start by memorizing one position of the major pentatonic scale at a time. Try to create different licks within that position. Then when you master one position, move on to the next. Experiment with different ways of connecting the two positions of the scale. For example, you can slide various notes up and down, hammer on, stretch your fingers to hit three consecutive notes on a string, or just shift your hands up or down on the neck. The key to learning to play lead is practice and repetition.

Stay Tuned!

Going forward, I’ll continue to post different licks structured around various positions of the pentatonic scales. We’ll start with more basic riffs and then work our way up. Eventually you should have a pretty cool collection of riffs that will help you in your journey to learning how to play lead guitar all the way up and down the neck of the guitar.