The Major Pentatonic In Blues

How to use the Major Pentatonic in Blues? Can you combine Major and Minor scales?


View the full lesson at The Major Pentatonic In Blues | JustinGuitar

Just curious, is the example in this lesson of a 12 Bar Blues progression common? Using all Dominant 7 chords like that? It would just be a non diatonic chord progression?

If the chord progression was diatonic, would it still be only the IV chord that clashes with the Major Pentatonic and probably require switching over to the Minor Pentatonic?

Hey Fncanuk,

Not only is it common, it’s nearly ubiquitous!

Not 100% sure about your 2nd question, but I think that if the chords are all diatonic (say, A, D and E7 in the key of A major), then nothing in the major pentatonic scale will clash with any of the chords. If I am wrong here, I hope somebody more expert will chime in.

1 Like

Yes, 100%. Dominant 7 chords or their extensions (9ths, 11ths, 13ths if you want to get a bit more towards jazz-blues).
Normally the I and the IV in a diatonic set of chords would become major 7 not dominant 7. Blues breaks that rule and distorts the boundaries.

Sticking with the key of A (A major) and playing extended (7th chords)

I = A major 7 = A, C#, E, G#
IV = D major 7 = D, F#, A, C#
V = E7 = E, G#, B, D

A major scale:
A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#

A major pentatonic scale:
A, B, C#, E, F#

For the I chord neither scale provides a clash. The pentatonic does not contain the major 7th scale degree but that is in the chord so no big deal.
When played as a dominant 7th, the IV chord would contain a C natural note which clashes badly with C# in the scale(s)/ But when played as a diatonic major 7 chord that clash is removed as the chord contains a C# scale tone.
For the V chord there is no clash.

Hope that helps.
Cheers :slight_smile: Richard

1 Like