today I'd like to talk about the Pentatonic Scale and its use over Maj7 chords.
The Maj7 chord is not much used in the classic Blues music, but it is in Motown, Soul, R&B and Jazz. In those genres, we have a lot of examples of players who are using Pentatonic Scale to give to their playing that kind of bluesy flavor that made them famous. Just think about George Benson or Kenny Burrel! Love them!
As you already should know, to play over Maj7, you might just use the Ionic (Major Scale). Ok, That's fine! But sometimes, using Pentatonic scale instead of that, you can add some cool sounds to your harmony, knowing and transposing only one scale!
The most common choices are:
MINOR PENTATONIC up a major third
You will get: 3rd, 5th, 6th, maj7, 9th. Ex: Play E minor pentatonic over C Maj7
MINOR PENTATONIC up a major sixth
You will get: 6th, R, 9th, 3rd, 5th. Ex: Play A minor pentatonic over C Maj7
MINOR PENTATONIC up a maj seventh
You will get: maj7, 9th, 3rd, #4, 6th. Ex: Play B minor pentatonic over C Maj7
MINOR PENTATONIC up a maj second
You will get: 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, R. Ex: Play D minor pentatonic over C Maj7
Having said that, using the first two choices you will play the notes of Major Scales, just with more space and different intervals of course between them.
The third is fascinating: you would add the #4, typical of Lydian scale!
The last option is the less used just because of the 4th (avoid note) and the root. But lets your ears decide. What may sounds strange to you it might not be for me. So, just try and see what your instinct tells you!
Soon will come a short video!
Hope you like it! Have Fun!!
PS: you might like my new online course "Scale Concepts for Modern Blues Guitar"! Check this out: