We have briefly mentioned the major scale in the last few e-mails. Today we are going to talk about it in a little more detail. We will also discuss the Pentatonic scale. You know that the major scale is the basic "do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do" scale. The notes of the C major scale are C, D, E, F, G, A, B. A simple diagram of the C major scale is shown in the image below. Each note of the scale is shown in a circle or square.
It is very important that you learn to play this scale in any position of the fretboard starting with any note. There are several different ways of learning the major scale all along the fretboard. I prefer to break it up into manageable sections or blocks. By learning each block you can then tie them together to play the scale up and down the fretboard. It is also very important to learn the major scale all along the fretboard for each and every key. This will be very important when you start soloing and improvising. There are also scale patterns and exercises that will assist you with the learning process. For example:
C, D, E, F
D, E, F, G
E, F, G, A
F, G, A, B
G, A, B, C
The Pentatonic scale contains almost all of the notes of the major scale minus the 4th and 7th notes. So for example the C major pentatonic scale has the following notes: C, D, E, G, A. These same notes can be used to play against an A7 or even an A minor chord. Try this and notice the different sound and feel. The pentatonic scale is very often used in country, rock and blues music.
As with the major scale, it is important to learn the Pentatonic scale in all keys all along and up and down the fretboard as well as practicing scale patterns.