The 5 Major Pentatonic Positions

This article serves as a reference for navigating major pentatonic scales all over the guitar fretboard. See also The 5 Minor Pentatonic Positions. (Recommended prerequisite knowledge: Intro to the Minor Pentatonic Scale, The CAGED System, Scale Degrees vs. Intervals.)

Scale Definition

The major pentatonic scale uses scale degrees 1 2 3 5 6. All the fretboard diagrams below show C major pentatonic, so the notes built on that root are C D E G A.

The 5 Positions

As outlined in my article on the CAGED System, I refer to the five positions by where the roots are. When the roots fall on strings 1, 4, and 6, I call it the “1-4-6 position.” When the roots fall on strings 2 and 5, I call it the “2-5 position,” and so on. This is not universal, but it’s the clearest scheme I’ve encountered.

C Major Pentatonic, 1-4-6 Position

C Major Pentatonic 1-4-6

C Major Pentatonic, 2-4 Position

C Major Pentatonic 2-4

C Major Pentatonic, 2-5 Position

C Major Pentatonic 2-5

C Major Pentatonic, 3-5 Position

C Major Pentatonic 3-5

C Major Pentatonic, 1-3-6 Position

C Major Pentatonic 1-3-6

Fretboards made with My VexFlow.

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