December 12, 2023

Beginning with the major pentatonic

Almost everybody uses the pentatonic minor blues box. It’s a fundamental building block for alot of  blues rock guitar and a really very highly versatile scale that will allow you to play licks, phrases and motifs across the neck.

BUT it’s definitely a scale with a dark and minor character: moody, doleful and chock full of midnight moonshine. What happens though if you manage to shake off those blues shackles and even crack a wry old grin into your sleeve every now and then?

Happy Blues by Jen Jacobs @

Happy Blues
Jen J.

Well you must be feeling the good vibrations so it’s time to play a little happiness into your life!

So to complement the minor, today we are going to have a look at a simple Major Pentatonic Box and this has a much more uplifting “major” character. If this sounds a little like GREEK to you then “DONT PANIC!” because it’s all about creating a mood, it’s all about discovering the way different sounds and intervals (the gaps between notes in terms of both pitch and space) create, enhance or combine to communicate emotion.

IF you enjoy the inimitable sound of B.B. King then this post is also just what the doctor prescribed!

Remember that you can of course combine elements of both the minor and major pentatonic scales so experiment away and see how much fun you can have changing the mood!

This is a great scale shape to start exploring that major feel, but do remember there are a whole host of related shapes:

If you have a look at the GUITAR LICKERS website then you’ll see that the scale I’ve illustrated above is just one of five others that you can begin to learn and experiment with. Each shape is slideable and will help you create exciting and interesting tone colour moods when soloing and improvising.


In the videos below have a close look at B.B. King’s vibrato technique – he predominantly uses his first or index finger to create a fast, fluttering vibrato through very rotational, almost circular and fast left hand movement. Idiosyncratic but also awesome and inspiring in its uniquity!   COOL!!

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