Let's say I play a C major chord and want to play some solo with pentatonic scales after strumming the chord. How to know which key of the pentatonic to use and what shapes? Ultimately the shapes don't matter but the notes they produce are all in the same key so does that mean I just play whichever shape I want? And when I played the chord I just solo with whichever key the chord is?

  • Have you tried the different options? Did you notice any difference between them? Which one did you like the most? Mar 29, 2020 at 11:34

1 Answer 1


There are two basic widely used pentatonic scales, major and minor. The major pentatonic is built on 1 2 3 5 6 and the minor is built on 1 b3 4 5 b7. Pentatonic scales have the same relative major and minor relationships as regular scales so a C major pentatonic has the same notes as the A minor pentatonic.

C major C D E G A

A minor A C D E G

In your case the C major pentatonic scale will work well.

An interesting side note, in the blues many players will alternate between major and minor pentatonic scales on a song in a major key for effect. For example in C they will play the major:


or the minor

C Eb F G Bb

Depending on the sound they’re going for. The minor of course will have a darker character.

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