Chord shapes and modes that go together.

So, I found another cool little revelation last weekend. I think it came when trying to learn a “playing on the porch style” blues that I learned about from BGU.

So here is what happened.

I learned how the minor pentatonic scale leads into the major pentatonic scale because:

For Am/C major, you can play the Am pentatonic scale starting with your index finger on the 5th fret of the low E string. Play the minor pentatonic (position 1) scale starting here up and down a couple times.
Okay, so now you realize that the A note on the 5th fret of the E string is the first note, the C is the 2nd note on the E string at the 8th fret. C is also the 1st note in the C major scale! WOW! Sorry for the overexcitedness.
Anyways. We can now play the major pentatonic (position 1) beginning with the C note on the 8th fret of the E string and go up and down a few times.

Okay. That was kinda boring, but now play the first two notes of the Am pentatonic scale (A, then C) then the and slide down from the 8th fret (C) to the note on the 10th fret (D). See how the Am transitions into the C major pentatonic? This same slide down into position of the C major scale works for all the strings between Am and C major pentatonic scales. The relationship between C major and Am is what is called a Relative Minor. This means that Am is the Relative Minor to C major. It is this way for all the 6th notes in the major scale (A is the 6th note in the C major scale). Okay, you are doing well if you are with me this far still. Good job.

So, what I learned was that these modes (fingerings for the scales) are also related to the chords.
Here is an example.

If you take the open A chord with the D, G, and B strings fretted at the 2nd fret and move it down two frets to the 4th fret, with the index finger stretched in barre form across the 2nd fret, you will have the B chord. Okay? Okay. Move it all one more fret and you have the C barre chord using the A open chord fingering. now if you notice, this is the same place you played the Am pentatonic scale. So the D, G, and B strings can all be fretted at the 5th fret with the index finger now and if you just strum those 3 strings, you will have the same C chord, just not a full sounding. Now you can play those other notes near by in the Am pentatonic scale for those 3 strings. Hit the 7th fret on the D and G strings with your ring finger and see how it sounds after strumming the index-finger 3 note chord…pretty cool. you can also hammer on the 8th fret for the B string. If you want to slide these up into the C major pentatonic scale, that sounds really good too.

Ok, its midnight, time for sleeping!

Glory to God!


Here is a great pentatonic boxes overlap diagram I found that is super useful for seeing how all the notes can make runs up and down the fretboard, yet there are the 5 boxes that will allow you to memorize each of the 5 patterns one at a time. Then you can practice where they overlap and string them together. Hope that you find it useful.

About Nick

A servant and worshiper of Christ, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a gecko breeder, a guitarist, a mountain biker, a GIS specialist.
This entry was posted in chords, Guitar, scales, Techniques, Theory. Bookmark the permalink.

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