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Full Major Pentatonic Scale (Guitar Lesson)


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David MacKenzie

Full Major Pentatonic Scale

David teaches a two octave pattern of the major pentatonic scale.

Taught by David MacKenzie in Basic Electric Guitar seriesLength: 6:30Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (00:46) Lesson Introduction In lesson 23, Dave introduced you to a new scale called the Major Pentatonic. You also learned a common fretboard pattern for this scale. This pattern spanned only one octave. In the current lesson, Dave demonstrates a major pentatonic pattern that spans two octaves. Similar to lesson 23, Dave demonstrates this pattern in the key of A major.
Chapter 2: (05:47) The Major Pentatonic Scale Review Time

Before proceeding to the new pentatonic pattern, make sure that you have perfected and memorized the one octave pattern.

Two Octave Pattern

The two octave pattern contains the one octave pattern that you learned earlier. Think of the two octave pattern as a simple extension of the one octave pattern. Pay careful attention as Dave demonstrates the upper octave at 00:28.

Practicing the Pattern

Your first logical step is to learn and memorize the entire two octave pattern. Then, begin practicing it along with a metronome. Start at a very slow tempo such as 60 beats per minute. If you feel totally comfortable at this tempo, gradually begin to speed the metronome up. Do not proceed to the next metronome setting until you can play the pattern flawlessly at the current tempo. Make sure that you play the scale in a variety of rhythms. Begin with quarter notes. Then, play the exercise in smaller divisions of the beat such as eighth notes, triplets, sixteenth notes, etc.

Note: Tablature to all musical materials presented in this lesson can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab.

Adding Hammer-ons

In the context of a solo, a guitarist will seldom pick every note. Rather, hammer-ons and pull-offs are frequently added to create a more legato and connected sound. Also, hammer-ons and pull-offs allow you to play certain scalar lines much faster.

As an exercise, play the major pentatonic scale using hammer-ons. Within this pattern, there are two notes on each string. Pick the first note on each string, then hammer onto the next. Make sure that both notes involved in the hammer-on are perfectly equal in volume and duration.

Music Theory

Note: The following information is from JamPlay's scale library. This section should be live to all members in the coming weeks. Thank you all for your patience!

The major pentatonic scale consists of five notes. The prefix "penta" means five. "Tonic" means tone. Thus, pentatonic means five tones. The five tones that comprise the major pentatonic scale are derived from the corresponding major scale of the same name. The major pentatonic scale consists of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th scale degrees of the parent major scale. The 4th and 7th scale degrees of the parent major scale create tension when played over the tonic chord. For this reason, they are eliminated to form a pentatonic scale solely consisting of consonant tones.

Features of the Scale:

Since this particular pentatonic scale is major in quality, the third scale degree is a major third interval above the root note. The fifth scale degree is a perfect fifth from the root. Thus, the major pentatonic scale contains the tonic triad of the same name. For example, the A major pentatonic scale contains the notes that comprise an A major chord: A, C# and E.

Remaining Pentatonic Patterns

These patterns represent only two ways of playing the major pentatonic scale. The fingering possibilities for any scale on guitar are endless. However, there are five patterns or boxes that are commonly recognized by most guitarists. These patterns are most common, because they do not contain any position shifts. Tablature to these patterns can be found in Matt Brown's Phase 2 Rock series.

In order to improvise effectively, you must be able to play a particular scale anywhere on the fretboard. Watch some videos of your favorite guitarists. Does he/she stay in one position throughout an entire solo? Chances are, the soloist changes positions several times throughout the solo. Learning only one pattern severely limits your options and the range of notes available to you.

For this reason, DMAC demonstrates another two octave pattern of the major pentatonic scale. Notice how this particular pattern contains several "open" notes. Although this pattern contains the same pitches as the pattern demonstrated in the previous scene, the two patterns sound quite different due to where each pitch is played on the fretboard. For example, compare the sound of the open A string to the sound of the A note played on the sixth string / 5th fret. How would you describe this difference in sound?

Alternate Two Octave Pattern

Watch closely at about 03:40 as Dave demonstrates a new pattern or "box" of the A major pentatonic scale. This pattern also spans two octaves. Break this pattern up into its individual octaves. This will make the scale much easier to learn and memorize.

The Next Step

From this point, learn the remaining patterns of the major pentatonic scale. Make a note of where these patterns overlap. For example, which notes are contained within more than one pattern? These notes are great places to transition from one pattern to the next. Also, practice these patterns in other keys. Simply move the location of the pattern so that you are beginning and ending on the appropriate root note. Once you have learned the patterns, begin to experiment and improvise your own lead lines.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


patsendpatsend replied on August 26th, 2010

Hi, this is not the scale Brad teachs. There's something wrong (and I guess Brad's is wrong. Jam team please do something to stop confusion. Thx

dreamadvisor2000dreamadvisor2000 replied on March 7th, 2010

i dont understand what im learning, i can play it, but if theres some type of theory or something involved i cant comprehend it..

anmol100anmol100 replied on June 28th, 2009

Nice lesson!

omrisamaomrisama replied on March 8th, 2009

This is much easier compared to the past two lessons... but doing the hammeron scale is hard.

madguitar16madguitar16 replied on July 30th, 2008

david what is an octave?

jboothjbooth replied on July 30th, 2008

An Octave is the same note but higher or lower. When you play this scale the first A note and the second A note are octaves of each other.

Basic Electric Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

In his Phase 1 series, David MacKenzie will walk you through the basics of rock guitar.



Lesson 1

About the Guitar

David discusses the parts of the guitar. He also gives you some basic techniques to get you started.

Length: 31:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Power Chords

In this lesson, David introduces basic power chords. Great fun for beginners!

Length: 10:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Basic Chord Progressions

David introduces some basic chords and chord progressions.

Length: 14:15 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Notes, Chords and Arpeggios

David provides a brief explanation of what notes, chords, power chords, and arpeggios are.

Length: 8:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Speed and Coordination

This lesson is all about increasing your speed and coordination. David demonstrates basic picking exercises.

Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Chord Exercises

David MacKenzie presents a mysterious sounding chord exercise. This exerices is designed to improve right hand technique.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Practice and Discipline

In this short lesson David talks about practice, discipline, and how you should apply yourself when learning and mastering the guitar.

Length: 6:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Double Stops

Double stops can bring new life to your rhythm and lead playing. David provides a short tutorial on what double stops are and how they can be used.

Length: 7:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

The Major Chords

David covers the basic major chord shapes. Every guitarist must learn these basic chords.

Length: 18:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

The Minor Chords

David MacKenzie walks you through the basic minor chords. Expand your knowledge of chords with this fun-filled lesson.

Length: 8:15 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Major Scales

Major scales are an essential component of all styles of music. They can also be used as a great way to orient yourself with the fretboard.

Length: 32:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Major Scale Jam

David MacKenzie explains how to practice the major scales along with a fun backing track.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

The Minor Scales

David MacKenzie proceeds to an in-depth discussion of the minor scales.

Length: 15:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Minor Scale Jam

David MacKenzie shows you how to play the natural minor scale over a rockin' JamTrack.

Length: 6:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

One String Exercise

David demonstrates an excellent one-string exercise in this lesson. This exercise will improve your dexterity and knowledge of the fretboard.

Length: 16:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs

Hammer-ons and pull-offs are techniques that enable you to play with a smooth, legato feel.

Length: 8:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Basic Bends

David MacKenzie gives a crash course on bending in this lesson. Bends can add a lot of soul to your playing.

Length: 16:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 18

Cool Rock Licks

David MacKenzie teaches two rock licks inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen and Kirk Hammett of Metallica.

Length: 12:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Hammer-On Exercise

David returns to the world of hammer-ons with a fun new exercise. This lesson includes a JamTrack.

Length: 13:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Return to Pull-Offs

David returns to the world of pull-offs with a new exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

Length: 12:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Practicing Bends

David MacKenzie returns to bending technique in this lesson. This lesson features a backing track that is designed for bending practice.

Length: 12:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

Basic Vibrato

Integrating vibrato into your guitar playing is a great way to add emotion and soul. David MacKenzie explains the basics of vibrato in this lesson.

Length: 9:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie introduces the pentatonic scale.

Length: 5:48 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Minor Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie introduces the minor pentatonic scale in this lesson.

Length: 4:38 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 25

Full Major Scale

David MacKenzie explains a two octave pattern of the major scale.

Length: 11:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Full Minor Scale

David MacKenzie introduces a two octave natural minor scale pattern.

Length: 12:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 27

Full Major Pentatonic Scale

David teaches a two octave pattern of the major pentatonic scale.

Length: 6:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

Full Minor Pentatonic Scale

David MacKenzie teaches a two octave version of the minor pentatonic scale.

Length: 9:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Cool Lick

David MacKenzie teaches several licks based on common arpeggio patterns. This lesson also includes a backing track to jam with.

Length: 20:40 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 30

Rhythm Basics

David MacKenzie introduces some important rhythm basics in this lesson. This lesson also includes a backing track exercise.

Length: 14:55 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

Power Chord Variations

David MacKenzie explains various power chord voicings. By simply moving a finger or two, new power chords can be formed.

Length: 18:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

Cool Lick Exercise

David MacKenzie introduces some new amazing licks.

Length: 29:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 33

Tapping Exercise

David MacKenzie introduces the tapping technique and teaches a fun exercise. This lesson includes a backing track.

Length: 22:44 Difficulty: 2.5 FREE
Lesson 34

Tapping Exercise #2

David MacKenzie teaches another amazing tapping exercise.

Length: 13:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Tapping #3: Adding Open Strings

The third tapping lesson elaborates on the previous lesson by adding open strings.

Length: 12:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Tapping #4: Diminished Lick

The fourth lesson in Dave's tapping series deals with a monster diminished lick.

Length: 11:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 37

Tapping #5

In lesson five of his tapping mini-series, DMac provides backing tracks that you can tap over.

Length: 8:04 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

Tremolo Technique

In lesson 38, DMac demonstrates some tremolo techniques to add to your repertoire.

Length: 13:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Tapping #6

DMac returns to his tapping instruction with more advanced techniques.

Length: 19:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Chord Structures

In lesson 40, DMac teaches you how to play various D chords all the way up the neck.

Length: 9:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 41

Octaves

In lesson 41, David discusses the octave and its uses while playing.

Length: 17:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only

About David MacKenzie View Full Biography Dave MacKenzie has been playing guitar for 30 of his 45 years on this earth. Starting back when he was 14 years old, Dave picked up the guitar and started to learn from his oldest brother, who had played some guitar as well. Dave was hooked, and couldn't learn fast enough! Everything from the Beatles, Chicago, Ted Nugent, The Eagles, you name it, Dave was trying to play it.

Then as with a lot of players out there, Eddie Van Halen came along and changed the way guitar was played! Dave has been influenced by anyone he has heard play guitar, literally! Always keeping an open mind and a humbleness about him has helped him to keep learning new things on, and about the guitar.

Dave has mostly played in top 40 rock, country, and pop bands. He is most recently playing guitar and keyboards in a 80's metal band called Open Fire. They have opened for Warrant, Firehouse, Winger, and LA Guns within the 3 and a half years they have been together, and are now jumping into original music.

Dave believes you should have internal motivation, and passion to play guitar, and most definitely, it should be fun!

As with his playing, Dave will find new ways to show you how to get the most out of your time learning guitar!

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