The Major Pentatonic Guitar Scale – Lead Guitar Lesson #4


Welcome to video #4 of the Lead Guitar Quick-Start
Series. In this lesson we’re going to expand your scale library by learning a shape for
the major pentatonic scale. You’re going to be able to use this scale over the same
jam track that we use in the last lesson when you are working on your major scale, and this
is going to give you a new color to use in your solos.
The major pentatonic scale is a really important scale just because it’s so versatile and
you can use it in so many different kinds of music. If you remember in the last lesson,
I told you that the major scale is a 7-note scale, right? And then it just repeats. What
we’re basically doing for the major pentatonic scale is just taking two notes out of each octave
of the major scale. We’re leaving the first note in there, 1, leaving 2 in there as well,
3 is there, we’re leaving that 4th note out though and skipping straight to the 5th
note, leaving the 6th in there, leaving the 7th out, don’t play the 7th, and skipping
straight to the octave. So penta, meaning 5, pentatonic scale right… means a 5-note scale, so
we have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then back to the octave. The cool thing about the standard
pentatonic scale shapes is they only have 2 notes per string so you get a way different
feel and that’s a lot more even feeling too. Let’s jump into the scale shape, remember
all the tips I’ve given you – relax with your picking hand and your fretting hand,
come right behind the frets, all those things. Start off on our G root note right here with
your middle finger, then your pinky is going to grab the fifth fret. No different from
our major scale shape that we learned in the last lesson so far. From there go over to
the A string second fret first finger, and then you’re going to skip up to the fifth
fret with your pinky. So those are the two notes on that string. So get that chunk under your fingers. And then you can throw in the notes on the D string, which are the exact same pattern as the notes
on the A string so you’re going to play second fret of the D string with your first
finger and the fifth fret with your pinky. And remember looking for repeating patterns
like this is a way to help you memorize scale shapes faster. So get those under your fingers
and then try and throw in the rest of the scale. On to the next string, the G string, you’re going to have your index finger or your first
finger on the second fret and your third finger is going to grab the fourth fret. So, those are
the two notes on that string. Get those down then throw the rest of the scale in. Again
this may take you a while but that’s fine. You don’t have to have this down right now.
Take a couple of weeks or a couple of months to work on this. Alright the last two strings, the B
string and the E string are really cool because they’re the exact same pattern too, they
match, so middle finger third fret, pinky or fourth finger on the fifth fret. Get those
two down, add in the rest of the scale and then like I said it’s the same exact pattern on the high E string, so second finger third fret, fourth finger fifth fret then add in
the rest of the scale. And you probably notice when you start going through the scale shape
more and more, you’re using your pinky an awful lot. And your pinky may not be the strongest
finger on your hand. You may be having a hard time with it but you have to work on it at
some point, so now is a good time to do it. The cool thing about major pentatonic scales
is they sound great over their corresponding major chords. I’ll tell you what I mean
by that. If I have a G major chord that’s being played, I’m guaranteed that a G major
pentatonic scale is going to sound great over that chord So work on that scale, get it down. One thing I want to make sure you’re aware off as
you’re going through this, again is to just memorize where the root notes are. If you’re
practicing your scale, be aware that there’s a root note there on the fifth fret of the
D string and there’s a root note there on the third fret on the high E string as well.
One thing that you’re going to want to develop as you start getting in more and more into
lead guitar is muting. Um, one thing that kind of separates a good sounding lead guitar player
from a not so good sounding lead guitar player is only having the strings and the notes ringing
out that you mean to be ringing out. So I’ll show you an example of this. I’m going to
play through this scale and I’m just going to kind of let all the strings ring out as
I go. You’ll see what I mean, listen. Now if you were listening to that scale as I was
going through it, you could probably hear all the open strings ringing out as I was
playing all the notes there. And there are basically two ways to keep that happening. One is muting
the strings you’re not playing with your fretting hand and the other one is muting
the strings you’re not playing with your picking hand.
So in this lesson I’m going to give you some tips for muting the strings you’re not playing
with your fretting hand. Check this out. I mean so far I’ve told you that good finger posture
is coming right down on the tips of your fingers, right? Now that’s not always the case with
lead guitar. Check it out, if I have my finger really straight down on the string, what I
want to do is kind of just slightly let it brush over against the A string. That way
if I accidentally hit that A string while I’m playing the notes on the low E string,
it’s not going to ring out. Same thing if I play the second note on that low E string,
my pinky is just barely laying over and brushing up against that A string just to make sure
it stays quite and do that throughout the entire scale. My index finger when I play
this note on the A string is brushing up against the D string right here and keeping it quite
and my pinky again is brushing up against the D string right here, just to make sure
it doesn’t right out if I accidentally brush up against it. So that’s how you can stop unwanted strings ringing out with your fretting hand. In the
next lesson when we learn the next scale, I’ll show you how to do muting with your
picking hand too. So pull the same jam track that we used in the last lesson and work on
your major pentatonic scale. Work on just getting the shape down. Once you have that
down, work on emphasizing the root notes. Land on them, kind of pause on them, and then
just start trying to make up for your own little phrases, licks and solos with the major
pentatonic. So you can even kind of mix in and go back and forth between the major scale
shape that you learned and this major pentatonic skill shape. There’s no right or wrong,
just have fun with it and this is what it might sound like. In the next lesson, we’re going to learn a new scale, the minor pentatonic guitar scale
and that’s arguably the most popular scale of all time for the guitar, so get ready for
that. If you have any questions about this major pentatonic scale, just leave them here
below in the comments and I’ll get back to you there or you can just email me again
[email protected] See you.