Major Pentatonic Guitar Lesson – Step 1

Major Scales Guitar Lesson - S1
You can learn how to play all major scales if you use the Major Pentatonic as your starting point!

The CAGED Major Pentatonic Shapes

Just like the Minor Pentatonic is built from minor barre chord shapes, the Major Pentatonic is built from major barre chord shapes.

Later in this mini-course, we will expand on this concept further and build all major modes, using the Major Pentatonic as our starting point.

You will soon discover how the major and minor shapes look the same, the Em shape, for example, looks the same as the G major shape.

Don’t be fooled by this, thinking they are the same. A scale, any scale, is built on intervals.

The Major Pentatonic has this scale formula: 1 2 3 5 6.

The Minor Pentatonic has this scale formula: 1 m3 4 5 b7.

The fact that the Emshaped Minor Pentatonic looks the same as a Gshaped Major Pentatonic, just using a different starting note, does say something about their relationship. However, it doesn’t mean they are the same thing.

This is also the reason why naming the Minor Pentatonic shapes 1-5 instantly fails, I mean, how do you then name the Major Pentatonic shapes, since they look the same?

CAGED is clearly the way forward, so let’s call the shapes by their CAGED name.

In this step, we practice all five shapes individually, simply follow the videos in the playlist above.

Practice in 12 Keys

Just like you did in A, so you must now do in D, practice all CAGED shapes individually.

When you can do this without making mistakes, carry on down the cycle of 4th. Next up would be G, C, F, Bb, etc.

Expect this to take some time, only when you feel comfortable should you move on and connect the shapes.

Major Pentatonic Guitar Lesson | Related Pages

Major Scales | Step-by-step guitar course

The Major Pentatonic is the first scale we learn in the Major Scales Course.

Using the CAGED system and Major Pentatonic as our foundation, we can build all our major scales on the guitar.

The self-eliminating practice routine takes care of this in 8 steps. All you have to do is put the time in.

Minor Pentatonic

The 5 Minor Pentatonic shapes are similar but not the same as the major pentatonic shapes.

This is where it all starts. You must learn all five positions of the Minor Pentatonic. Without this, the guitar will never make sense,

Using the video lessons demonstrating this in Am, you can move on once you have practised in all other keys as well.

Guitar Chords

To understand the Major Pentatonic, you must connect them with the CAGED guitar chord shapes.

With traditional music theory, the stave, and a piano, you’ll get easy-to-understand chords but they will not help if you want to play chords on the guitar.

Instead, on the guitar we use chord shapes derived from the five open-position chords, C, A, G, E, and D, hence CAGED.


Chordacus can show you all Major Pentatonic shapes in all keys.

Spytunes chords, scale, and arpeggio software, Chordacus is a refined version of the so-called CAGED system.

Now available as both a chromatic (original version) and “within a key”, developed with the help of a Spytunes student.

About me

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson on the Major Pentatonic.

This guitar lesson about the Major Pentatonic was written by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.

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