Pentatonic Interchange for Rock and Pop

If you have been following the course on pentatonic interchange, you would begin to see the potential of interchanging pentatonic scales. So far, we have applied them in the blues and jazz context but we have yet to see how pentatonic interchange works for chord tone soloing in pop and rock. In this lesson, we will explore how pentatonics scales relate to chord tones, and how to develop a learning strategy to master chord tone soloing.

The chord progression on the right is a common progression containing the I, IV and V triads. For consistency in the learning, we will keep to the key of C major as from the previous lesson. The chords therefore, are C major, F major and G major triads. We will be keeping to triads because much of pop and rock music does not use 7th chords.

I-IV-V-IV Progression in C major

Changing in Position

We will use the A minor pentatonic shape which is essentially a C Major pentatonic scale, over the C chord. Over the F chord, we will use the pentatonic shape in diagram 2, which is one of the 5 pentatonic shapes of the major/minor pentatonic scale. In level 6 “The Hefni Pentatonic System”, I introduce a new system to categorise the these pentatonic scales. This is because only 2 of the 5 pentatonic scale shapes which are the major pentatonic and minor pentatonic scale, have official names. In any case, I have dubbed the pentatonic scale in diagram 2 below as the Banshiki-Cho scale, which is of Japanese origins. Similarly the pentatonic shape in diagram 3 is dubbed the “Egyptian Scale”. You may ignore the names of these scales for now but instead, focus on their shapes. 

Diagram 1: A minor pentatonic scale at the                5th fret.

We will use this scale shape over C chord.


*See Level 6 Hefni Pentatonic System

Diagram 2: G major pentatonic scale at the
               5th fret.

We will use this shape over the F chord.

Also known as the Banshiki-Cho Scale.*

Diagram 3: A minor pentatonic scale at the
               5th fret.

Use this shape over the G chord. 

Also known as the Egyptian Scale*

The video below demonstrates how we can use pentatonic interchange over a standard I-IV-V progression in rock or pop.

In the next lesson, we will demonstrate how we can use the pentatonic interchange technique in a jazz context.