Learning Blues Guitar ? Common Scales Used In Blues Guitar: Part 2

Posted by nick_niesen on October 26th, 2010

Learning blues guitar can be frustrating if you don?t know what guitar scales to use. Because of that, in this blues guitar lesson we?ll take a look at another really common scale used in blues soloing. Once you master this guitar scale, you?ll have another great weapon in your lead guitar arsenal! So, with that in mind, let?s take a look at it now?

**Blues Guitar Scale #2: The Major Pentatonic Scale**

This is one of my favorite sounding guitar scales! To my ears, it has a very bright, open and happy sound to it. Some of my students comment that its sound reminds them of country guitar. (But let?s not hold that against it! You can also use it to great effect in blues guitar solos).

The major pentatonic scale is a five note guitar scale that has this formula?

1 2 3 5 6

This formula tells us what we need to do to the major scale in order to construct this scale. As an example, we?ll work out the notes of C major pentatonic scale?

Step 1:

Write down the notes that the C major scale uses. Here are the notes we get by doing this?


Step 2:

Remove the fourth and seventh notes from the C major scale. We do this because the formula of the major pentatonic scale doesn?t contain a 4 or a 7. This gives us the following notes?


These are the notes of the C major pentatonic scale. Pretty easy huh?

You now know the theory behind the major pentatonic scale, so what?s the next step? Putting it into practice! I believe that learning theory without actually playing it on your guitar is an absolute waste of time. We all know guitarists who know a LOT of theory, but their playing still sucks! Because I don't want this to happen to you, here are a few suggestions to help
you apply this scale to your guitar?

- Map the notes of the C major pentatonic scale onto a fretboard diagram.

- Make up some fingering for it on your guitar. There are no real rules. As long as you stick to the notes C D E G and A, you are playing the C major pentatonic scale.

- Make up some licks that use the C major pentatonic scale.

- Practice soloing over some blues backing tracks using the scale.

- Work out the licks and solos of your favorite guitar players.

The possibilities are endless! The more ways you apply the major pentatonic scale to your guitar the better. Be creative, work hard, and most importantly...have fun!

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