The Major Pentatonic scale sounds happier than its minor counterpart and is synonymous with country, blues and rock, although it is very versatile and used in most genres. Slash, Chuck Berry and Eric Clapton are all associated with the Major Pentatonic sound.
The A Major Pentatonic contains the notes A B C# E F#.
By learning the examples in this article you will gain dexterity as well as fretboard fluency within the A Major Pentatonic scale.
Example 1 – A Major Pentatonic Scale
Play through the full A Major Pentatonic scale shape ascending and descending using alternate picking. Start the scale with your second finger so that you can follow the one-finger-per-fret rule.
Example 2 – Double Picking
Double pick every note of the scale in example two.
Example 3 – Triplet Picking
Example three demonstrates playing each note of the A Major Pentatonic scale three times using a triplet rhythm. Remember that you can use any three syllable word to help you count a triplet, I prefer el-e-phant.
Example 4 – Quad Picking
Now pick each note of the Pentatonic scale four times.
Example 5 – High to low frets
Start on the higher fret of each string and ascend through the A Major Pentatonic scale.
Example 6 – Low to high frets
Descend through the scale starting on the lower fret on each string.
Example 7 – String Skips Ascending
Example seven shows how to ascend the Pentatonic scale using string-skips.
Example 8 – String Skips Descending
Now descend the A Major Pentatonic scale using string-skips.
Example 9 – Groups Of Three
The next example combines the A Major Pentatonic scale into groups of three. Practice this slowly and build up your muscle memory as these serve as great ‘lick builders’!
Example 10 – Groups Of Four
The next example combines the scale into groups of four.
Example 11 – Groups Of Six
The next example combines the Pentatonic scale into groups of six.
Example 12 – Skip A Note
The final example in this article uses a ‘skip-a-note’ pattern. This is a useful exercise to help you break the habit of playing all the notes of the Pentatonic scale sequentially.
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