Pentatonic Scale
Today we are going to talk about one of the most interesting scale. Have you been in any rock concert? Or at least watched any video of rock concert? There you would find the bass guitarist playing their guitar notes too fast and quick maintaining perfect balance and rhythm. It appears as if he is the king of guitar and had born to play guitar. Let me tell you this is not the case always. He might be using some simple techniques which appear to be very hard for untrained ears.
They might be taking help of scales like Pentatonic. There are lot other scales for doing this job but today we will limit our discussion to only pentatonic scales.
These scales consist of a pattern of only 5 notes plus one root from next octave.
Player just need to continuously practice these notes until they become part of their reflex. This may take as small as a week to as long as 3 months as, but generally not more than that. So while in concert, they play these scales in repeat mode and these sounds like pro.
Before we begin our discussion, if you don’t know what are Notes, Major and Minor Scales read them before continuing.
Major Pentatonic Scale
Major Pentatonic scales are derived from 5 notes of Major Scale and root of next octave. This gives a happy and energetic feel when played repeatedly and fast. This contains first 3 notes 2 notes from middle of Major Scale and remaining one from next octave.
Let’s take a glance at formula of Major Scale.  It was R W W H W W W H
Now formula of Major Pentatonic is R W W 3H W 3H
3His also known as 3 Half-Steps, means 3rd note next to the note you are currently playing. If you are unfamiliar with this system of formula, you must follow our post on Major Scale.
Let’s compare C Major Scale with C Major Pentatonic Scale
C Major: C D E F G A B C
C Major Pentatonic: C D E G A C
Comparing these we see 4th and 7thnote are removed in Pentatonic Scale.
Here the full lists of Major Pentatonic Scales are:
C Major Pentatonic: C D E G A  C
C# /Db Major Pentatonic: C# D# F  G# A# C# or Db Eb F  Ab Bb  Db
D Major Pentatonic: D E F#  A B  D or D E Gb  A B  D
D# /Eb Major Pentatonic: D# F  G  A# C  D# or Eb F  G  Bb C  Eb
E Major Pentatonic: E F# G#  B C#  E or E Gb Ab  B Db  E
F Major Pentatonic: F G A  C D  F or F G A  C D  F
F# /Gb Major Pentatonic: F# G# A#  C# D#  F# or Gb Ab Bb  Db Eb  Gb
G Major Pentatonic: G A B  D E  G or G A B  D E  G
G# /Ab Major Pentatonic: G# A# C  D# F  G# or Ab Bb C  Eb F  Ab
A Major Pentatonic: A B C#  E F#  A or A B Db  E Gb  A
A# /Bb Major Pentatonic: A# C D  F G  A# or Bb C D  F G  Bb
B Major Pentatonic: B C# D#  F# G#  B or B Db Eb  Gb Ab  B
Minor Pentatonic
As similar to Major Pentatonic Scale, Minor Pentatonic Scales are also derived from 5 Notes of Minor Scales and one note from next octave. This when played repeatedly and fast, gives exciting feelings. These are quite simple too once you understand how to use it and practice for few days.
Let’s revise formula for Minor Scale: R W H W W H W W (if you do not remember this, read this)
The formula for Minor Pentatonic Scales is R 3H W W 3H W
Now let’s see the analogy between one Minor scale and one Minor Pentatonic Scale. The easiest one to understand is for A Minor Scale. If you don’t know why, read Relation between Major and Minor Scales.
A Minor: A B C D E F G A
A Minor Pentatonic: A C D E G A
From this we can see that 2nd and 6thnotes are not used in Minor Pentatonic.
Have a look at the full list of Minor Pentatonic Scale:
C Minor Pentatonic: C D# F G  A# C or C Eb F G  Bb C
C# / Db Minor Pentatonic: C#  E F# G#  B C# or Db E Gb Ab  B Db
D Minor Pentatonic: D F G A C D or D F G A C D
D# Eb Minor Pentatonic: D#  F# G# A# C# D# or Eb  Gb Ab Bb Db Eb
E Minor Pentatonic: E G A B D E or E G A B D E
F Minor Pentatonic: F G# A# C D# F or F Ab Bb C Eb F
F# /Gb Minor Pentatonic: F# A B C# E F# or Gb A B Db E Gb
G Minor Pentatonic: G A# C D F G or G Bb C D F G
G# /Ab Minor Pentatonic: G# B C# D# F# G# or Ab B Db Eb Gb Ab
A Minor Pentatonic: A C D E G A
A# /Bb Minor Pentatonic: A# C# D# F G# A# or Bb Db Eb F Ab Bb
B Minor Pentatonic: B D E F# A B or B D E Gb A B
So that now we are done with Pentatonic Scales. Both Major and Minor. While playing Guitar, Piano or any instrument when you need some flavoring, you can add these in those gaps. You just need few days to master this and then you can play music as a pro. There are many more such scale combinations available but currently we will discuss them later. So far we have finished Notes, Major and Minor Scales, in Minor we saw natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, Melodic Minor. We saw the relation between Major and Minor Scale, finally today we saw the use of Pentatonic Scale. Read our next article which is on Chords.
Share this post with your friends or team mates and let them know these useful techniques. Discuss this with them and most importantly try this on your own on Guitar, Piano or any note playing instrument and see how it feels like pro.