From m to M: Some guys switch to "Box 2",(from Box 1) others claim "Box 4" (from box 1). Your thoughts please? I've checked out this short John Meyer clip on the subject, you might want to also-


  • This strikes me as a matter of personal preference. Could you elaborate on the kind of answer you're looking for?
    – Aaron
    Feb 5 at 22:11
  • True...Clearly, Meyer is maintaining Am Pentatonic by shifting back and forth between Box 1 and Box 5. The only difference where utilizing a major sound is concerned, has to with which note you kick off on w/in "contiguous" shape 5...Many players however, think in terms of kicking off w/ the relative major [A] using a different box- often #2 or #4...it's often taught either box- was curious as to which one others are most comfortable with. Feb 5 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


You use whichever box fits over the sweet spot for your solo. For the minor, you start with the root on the "1" in your diagram. For the major, you start with the root on the "b3" in your diagram.

Honestly though, the classic pentatonic boxes are terribly limiting. Learn the subset pattern shown for the EAD string set: 1 b3 4 5 b7 1 and learn where all the roots of your scale are on the fretboard, in this case where all the Cs are. Remember to shift your pattern up one fret when you cross from the G string to the B string. Now play that short pattern starting on all the Cs. When you have that down, learn to shift your pattern up and down the neck from the root, the 1. Now you can play pentatonics in any position on the neck while only memorizing one pattern.

pentatonic equator

Alternatively, you could learn the universal pentatonic patterns, remembering to shift up the neck one fret when you cross from the G to the B string.

Minor pentatonic pattern

minor pentatonic pattern

Major pentatonic pattern

enter image description here

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