About the Guitar Lesson

Welcome to video two in the series, How to Play Over a Dominant Seventh Chord. In this free lesson, you take a look at using the major pentatonic, and one of its common variations, the major blues scale.

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Anytime you play over a major chord, that is, a chord with a major third in it, like A major or A7, you can use the major pentatonic. The major pentatonic is a five-tone scale that includes the degrees 1-2-3-5-6. That’s like a major scale, minus the 4th and 7th. In the key of A the major pentatonic scale is A-B-C#-E-F#. These notes are related to F# minor pentatonic, and the two scales make the very same patterns on the guitar fretboard, with the only difference being which note you focus on.

Players often add in a chromatic passing tone to the major pentatonic, between the 2nd and 3rd scale degrees. You can do this in each register and position. This added tone is actually a minor 3rd. It allows you to create some chromatic movement, and also adds a bit of tension with the minor 3rd rubbing against the major 3rd in the chord, which is an important part of the blues sound.

One bend that works well in the major pentatonic is bending the 2nd to the 3rd. You can do this in each register and position. Bending the 5th to the 6th is another option.

About the Educator & Series

desi-sernaDesi Serna is the author of Fretboard Theory and Guitar Theory For Dummies. Visit his website at: http://Guitar-Music-Theory.com

In this series of four, free guitar lessons, you see how to play over a dominant seventh chord. The scales and scale combinations featured here are used in music styles such as pop, rock, blues, country, folk, and jazz. This information is suitable for intermediate level players and up, who are already familiar with pentatonic and major scale patterns. Be sure to follow along using the free guitar tab that corresponds to the examples. You can play on any type of acoustic or electric, six string guitar in standard tuning.