The pentatonic scale is usually the first scale beginning guitarists know and use for improvising.
The pentatonic and blues pentatonic scales are used very frequently in
rock,blues & pop music, but you hear them less frequently in jazz music and when you hear them it is usually
on a modal tune or a jazz blues, but almost never on standards.
After we've learned the other scales that are useful for playing jazz, we tend to forget the pentatonic scale, but it's actually a very good device to add some variety to your improvisations.
If after the following lesson you'd want to know even more about pentatonic scales, I suggest you take a look in this excellent book (it's the jazz theory bible):<:/p>
Let's start with the basics of the pentatonic scale.
A pentatonic scale is any scale that contains 5 notes. Any scale that contains 5 notes can be called pentatonic, but when people talk about pentatonic scales they refer to the minor pentatonic scale or the major pentatonic scale.
The major pentatonic scale consists of the 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the major scale.
So C major pentatonic would consist of the following notes :
|C Major Pentatonic Scale||C D E G A|
|A Minor Pentatonic Scale||A C D E G|
|Chord Type||Chord Tensions||Major Pentatonic Scale||Note Functions|
|Major||6,9||I||1 9 3 5 6|
|V||5 6 7 9 3|
|9,#11||II||9 3 #11 6 7|
|Minor||6,9,11||bIII||b3 11 5 b7 1|
|IV||11 5 6 1 9|
|bVII||b7 1 9 11 5|
|minor/major||6,9||IV||11 5 6 1 9|
|Dominant||9,13||I||1 9 3 5 13|
|b9,#9,b5,b13||bV||b5 b13 b7 b9 #9|
|Sus 4||9,13||IV||4 5 13 1 9|
|bVII||b7 1 9 4 5|
|Half Diminished||b6,11||bVI||b6 b7 1 b3 11|
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