I have mapped out the complete A Major scale

enter image description here

and the A Major pentatonic scale

enter image description here

I'm having an issue to understand the box scales, and almost all info relates to the C Major scale. I'm not sure if the box shapes stays the same, move up or move down from C Major to A Major.

Any clarity on this will be appreciated. If possible, where does my boxes lay on my images provided

  • Just a first comment before I might write up an answer: your A major pentatonic scale is not what most people would think it should be. The common A major pentatonic scale is: A-B-C#-E-F# (which are the same notes as the F# minor pentatonic scale). Your pentatonic scale is indeed a subset of the A major scale and has five notes, but it contains all the semi-tones of the major scale, which are commonly avoided in the pentatonic scales most commonly used.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 18:51
  • I don't quite understand what your actual question is, but it seems to be about the relationship between the shapes of the C major scale and the A major scale on guitar. If we pick a "home position" of the lowest available A (or C) on the low E string, then the C major scale has a "home position" of the eighth fret, and for A, the fifth fret. So any C shape you know can be moved down five frets for A, and vice versa for A to C. Does that help? Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 19:18
  • @ToddWilcox from the previous comments, the issue came down to the wrong pentatonic scale formula which stuffed up my whole scale. Everything is sorted now Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


The issue here came down to a wrong formula I got for the pentatonic scale from an internet source. The formula I used was 1,3,4,5,7 which caused all the confusion for me.

@Matt L. helped me to the correct formula which is 1,2,3,5,6 and after correcting my scale, the box shapes are quite evident now.

Here is my corrected pentatonic scale for A Major

enter image description here

  • 2
    Yes, that's it. By the way, the formula 1,3,4,5,7 comes from the minor pentatonic scale. If you look at the notes starting from F# then you get exactly that formula. But for the major pentatonic scale it is indeed 1,2,3,5,6.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 20:10
  • Indeed, it is the minor pent. A lot of guitarists use it rather than the major pent, and just call it 'pentatonic'.
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 22:34
  • @Matt L. I think that I might have misread something :-). I think I confused myself somewhere. Your comment proved to be very valuable. You can post that as an answer and I will accept it and then just keep mine as extra info or something Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 5:01
  • I think you've perfectly answered your own question, and there's not much to be added to it. You might as well just accept your own answer. You gave credit to me anyhow, so that would be OK with me.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 7:10
  • Ok great, I will accept my answer then as soon as the restriction is lifted, hate this 2 day restriction :-). Once again, many thanks for your help @MattL. Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 7:16

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