How using the wrong pentatonic scale can actually sound great

Led Zeppelin
(Image credit: Jay Dickman/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

In this column, we’re taking a look at the use of the tonic Major Pentatonic scale over the I and IV chords in the key of C. Note that using the C Major Pentatonic over the C Major 7th chord has a very different effect to using it over the F Major 7th chord. This is because the notes of the Major Pentatonic exert different tensions over the different chords.

If overused, C Major Pentatonic over C Major 7th can be a somewhat bland sound. Using F Major Pentatonic on top of F Major 7th obviously has the same relative effect, but if we use C Major Pentatonic here instead, the sound becomes much more interesting. 

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Andy G Jones

A professional guitarist for many years, Andy G Jones has played with Van Morrison, James Ingram, Lamont Dozier, Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor), Robben Ford, Billy Cobham, John Illsley (Dire Straits), KT Tunstall, Albert Lee (featured on Andy's upcoming CD), Mike Finnigan, Dave Landreth and Ryan Voth from The Bros. Landreth, Malford Milligan, The BBC Radio Big Band, Patti Austin, Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), Lalo Schifrin (Hollywood film composer Bullitt, Mission Impossible), Hank Marvin, James Dean Bradfield (the Manic Street Preachers), Grady Tate, Agnetha from ABBA, Cliff Richard, Dudley Moore, Nathan James (Inglorious), Joey Tempest (Europe) and Kelsey Grammar.