Eventually, you'll want to "break out of the box" in order to free up
your playing across the guitar fretboard. This lesson will help you to
build a full-neck roadmap for major pentatonic in any key. This is
being able to improvise freely and fluidly, no matter where you find
yourself on the neck.
As memorising patterns can get pretty dull, we're going to jam our way
gradually through different major pentatonic patterns until we have a
roadmap for the scale. Not only will this help you memorise the
patterns, it'll also train your ear to develop hooks and phrases that
sound good and give you physical confidence in navigating the scale.
Start with the video below and then scroll down
for more backing tracks, diagrams and useful exercises...
Tip: Youtube has a tempo change function if you click on the cog right about here ^
Now try it in the key of E
As you change keys, the sequence of patterns remains the same, but
obviously we move to a different root
Major Pentatonic - All Positions
If you take the intervals of the scale and lay them across
the 6th string, you get five
positions around which to build five box patterns. Some
people call it the five modes of the scale.
The idea is, you learn each position box and then merge them into one
large pattern. The video above guided you through this process
for C major pentatonic...
Let's look at each position one by one. Each has a unique pattern (you
could also see them as scale shapes) to help you memorise them.
Remember, the 1
note is your root,
so if you can memorise its place within each pattern it'll help you
your bearings in any key. Can you see how each pattern links to the
next/previous? There's always some overlap...
So, whichever position you start on, you should know which position preceeds and proceeds from it.
In the video I showed you some wider, horizontal patterns that spanned
a few positions. With major pentatonic, the two most convenient in
terms of fingering are as follows...
The red marker shows you where that 1st box pattern is in relation to
the wide pattern.
Notice this pattern starts on that familiar 6th string root.
Major Pentatonic Backing Tracks
As mentioned, here are some backing tracks to try out in different
keys, including the C and E major tracks used in the guided jam videos.
Here's your chance to put into practice the large roadmap you built up
in the guided jams.
These exercises will get you moving through patterns like a pro. These
are just examples of exercises you can easily create yourself, even on
the fly, once you're confident with playing through the individual
positions. Suggested fingering in blue.
Even with just half an hour per day devoted to exploring these
patterns, whether jamming over a backing track or using a metronome,
you'll be surprised at how quickly your confidence grows with
improvising major pentatonic.
You may not yet realise it, but by mastering these major pentatonic
patterns, you'll also have minor
pentatonic covered, as it uses exactly the same pattern sequence, just
in a relative position (it starts on the 6 of major
pentatonic). More on that later!