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A question about caged shapes.


(@charlieallnut)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1
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I'm an older beginner who is somewhat confused about scales. Pentatonic shapes are a form of scale, right? Or not? I've been learning and working to get the C,A,G,E, and D forms with some added blues note down pat, with some success, but some of the instruction I've gotten so far hasn't been the best. At the moment confusion reigns. Questions---Can't each of these forms be played in different positions on the neck, with the root determining the key? Can't different shapes be utilized in the same song as long as the root(s) aren't off key? Thanks in advance for any guidance.


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(@dommy09)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 74
 

i can answer your first question:

Yes, the pentatonic scale 'shape' can be moved around the fretboard, with the top note determining which key the song is in. eg played at 5th fret it is an A pentatonic, at the 12th fret it is an e pentatonic etc these are usually used in blues songs

also, if you move the shape down 3 frets, it becomes the major pentatonic scale, so a pentatonic scale played with a 3rd fret root is a major pentatonic, as well as g pentatonic

hope my answer helps and wasn't too confusing 8)

Dom

"We all have always shared a common belief that music is meant to be played as loud as possible, really raw and raunchy, and I'll punch out anyone who doesn't like it the way I do." -Bon Scott


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 Ande
(@ande)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 659
 

Not too confusing by itself- i'd even heard it before.

My question- what the heck is a major pentatonic used for? Sounds like crap with everything I try to mix it with...

Best,
Ande


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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

Major pentatonic's used in an awful lot of country and bluegrass music, among other things. What that "move down three frets" explanation skips is that the root note is still the same as in the minor pentatonic three frets up, so while the notes may be found in a similar pattern, you're not playing them in the same patterns.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@dommy09)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 74
 

haha thanks for clearing that up...i was trying to find the words to explain that but didn't quite know how!

"We all have always shared a common belief that music is meant to be played as loud as possible, really raw and raunchy, and I'll punch out anyone who doesn't like it the way I do." -Bon Scott


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 MCH
(@mch)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 79
 

Here's my take. Major and Minor pentatonic scales are the same; the box shapes are the same. Your starting points on the 6th string differ. IE: Am minor pentatonic in position 1 starts at the 5th fret - 6th string. This is also the starting position (same fingering pattern) for the C major pentatonic scale in the 5th box position. Am and Cmaj are related keys. The first box position of the Cmaj pentatonic is 8th fret - 6th string. This box fingering pattern is the same as the Am pentatonic in the second box position. So if you were improvising in the key of Cmaj or Am, the pentatonic fingering patterns in all five box positions would work. No matter if you called them a Minor pentatonic or Major pentatonic scale. It's how you use them will give you the flavour of a minor or major pentatonic scale. I think it's also useful to know these box patterns and adding the extra notes to get a full major and minor scale. And of course learning the box patterns with the root note starting on the fifth string will give more areas to work with on the fretboard.
Once you get the basic box patterns down and know the relative minors of each major key; you begin to see the box connections.
all fun


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