This article is about the Minor Pentatonic Scale and how the scale relates to chord harmony. The Penta name stands for 5 notes and this scale was originated from early music cultures in China, Polynesia and Africa. This scale is used in a lot of modern music (Blues, R&B, Rock & Jazz) and it is one of the easiest scales to solo in. The intervals in the scale come from a lot of popular common chords that are used in modern music. It is a wide interval scale made up of (1 whole steps – 3 frets wide) and (1 1/2 steps – 4 fret wide).
I put together a guitar pentatonic scale chart for chord harmony to the five modes of the Minor Pentatonic Scale. This guitar pentatonic scale chart shows the scale to chord interval formulas that match by column for each scale mode degree. The row for the scale mode degree are in Roman Numerals. In music the lower case represents minor and upper case is major. The notes row is each note of the scale. The Minor Pentatonic row is the name of each mode with their interval formula in brackets. Below that on the far left column are all rows for the related chord types. Each column with a chord name and a formula in brackets has a relationship match to the scale formula for that column. This guitar pentatonic scale chart is great way to find chord progression orders for song ideas in the A Minor Pentatonic Scale.
Below the chart there are scale fingerings, the top ones show the interval formulas for each scale mode with the tonal center (1) having a square. The matching shape fingerings below each shows the fret finger placement numbers in the Finger Per Fret Rule. The chromatic notes not played in the seven note major scale is an outline of the pentatonic scale. This is just like the black keys not played on the piano in the key of C Major (The white keys).
A lot of great guitar players stay in the pentatonic scale in the majority of their guitar solos. They hold out the major scale half step notes only to chord voices that match them. These notes are either played or sometimes bending into the note. A lot of blues and rock riff base song ideas use a pattern of notes used as a rhythm from the pentatonic scale. The pentatonic scale sounds very bland until you use vibrato and bending to give the notes an expressive quality. Rock style pentatonic riffs have a lot of rapid hammer on and pull off sequenced patterns that are played very fast. In the Blues Style the notes are more slowly phrased and articulated. There are some great guitar players that can fit in dynamically phrased fast runs into their blues solos like the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Pentatonic Scale Harmony Chart