Pentatonic Box 2 – Revenge of the Major

Hello, darlings!

If you haven’t read the last blog post on pentatonic boxes… literally the last post I made. Well, then I’m gonna do a little self-promotion and tell you to go back a post and give me a click. Seriously though, I suggest you go back there, so everything makes sense from here on out!

So here we go…

BOX 2 MINOR PENTATONIC

Or is it

BOX 1 MAJOR PENTATONIC

Well, actually, it’s both! And all you have to do is set where you place your root note. Dude! What a comforting feeling to know that you don’t have to learn all of these new shapes! We do need to learn a little theory and some notes on at least the 6th string (and therefore, the 1st string… damn, we’re really cooking now)!

But wait, does this work with all of the boxes? IT SURE DOES! I said this in the last blog, but learning these skeletal shapes will CHANGE YOUR GAME!

Honestly, it only takes a few weeks to get it down if you’ve been playing for a while. Maybe a touch longer if you haven’t played for long. But that’s okay, and it should be something that grabs your attention either way.

After another week of studying this stuff, I see that although it does have its drawbacks, most of the folks that complain about it are Jazz freaks (I say freaks in a positive way here) because it does limit your thinking towards major and minor. But if you’re only playing pop/rock music, I don’t see the downside to that. You’re not usually adding “crazy” chord extensions over the top of a Dua Lipa song.

Let me take a quick paragraph and talk about how much I like Dua Lipa. Is that annoying? Idk. Every couple of years, I will hear a deeply pop-rooted artist and gravitate towards them. It’s refreshing to hear something that knows what it is! It’s a good time! That’s all I need to hear right now! Plus, the timbre in her voice is money. Let this be a quick lesson in songwriting and marketing. If you’re trying to get onto a top 40 Spotify playlist and you’re writing/producing a singer/songwriter smash hit… it seems a bit absurd when I write that out, doesn’t it (Say this with a British accent) If you want your song to be on a playlist, be smart and write a song that actually fits on that playlist based on style… not because it’s a good song.

Soapbox dismount.

Okay, here’s our box 2 – Where does this start? It connects to the SECOND note that you’d hit in box 1. Start box one. What’s the note your pinky hit? That’s where it starts.

Take note of where the root notes are here, and remember this is the root of the RELATIVE MINOR of a major key. The relative major key would be the first note you touch in this box.

What does relative mean? It means it shares ALL the same notes of that key. So, for instance, F minor and G# major share all the same notes in their respective keys.

Boom goes the dynamite!

It all comes down to what feels like home in that song! The sixth note in G# is F.

Now you might say, “Ahem, well… Technically, you can break it down into an E#!”Woah, Woah, WOAH!!! Does that make sense to you? No, so why are you breaking it down that way? No, let me remind you that music theory is all language to convey what interval or chord your expressing. So if you want to think of it as E# then by all means… but for most of us. It’s just F, and that is okay. When you’re personally working with John Williams, you should know the difference. But if you’re trying to get paid by at a bar gig. You don’t need to know.

Screw it… let’s do C… that’s an easy key.

C, D, E, F, G, A, B

A is the sixth note and the relative minor key.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G

Same damn notes, different emphasis. Is that comforting? Doesn’t that take some of the mystery out of this thing?

Box 2 is the most important box to learn! So study up and meet me back here next week!

Notes to rememeber.

When you start box 1 of a MINOR pentatonic scale, the second note you hit is the relative MAJOR key.

If you start box 2 where you started box 1, you’re now playing the major pentatonic scale in that key. Box 1 sits just as nicely underneath it in the relative minor of whatever major key you’re playing in now. Box 1 and 2 are always connected.

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