The Aeolian Pentatonic Scale aka Hirajoshi Scale - Shapes, Charts and Theory For Guitar

The Aeolian pentatonic scale, also known as Hirajoshi scale, is a minor scale made of five notes that arise out from the Aeolian mode, sixth mode of the major scale. It is built with tonic (1), second (2) minor third (b3), fifth (5) and minor sixth (b6). There is a second version where the second (2) is replaced with the fourth (4). This lesson provides formula charts and the most basic shapes for playing it on the guitar.

Aeolian Pentatonic Construction

The chart and diagrams below show how is built the Aeolian pentatonic scale. You can see and hear that the fourth (4) and minor seventh (b7) of the Aeolian mode are being left out.

Aeolian Mode A B C D E F G
Formula 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7
Aeolian Pentatonic A B C X E F X

 

Aeolian pentatonic scale versus aeolian mode

One Octave Shapes

Here are four one-octave shapes showing the Aeolian pentatonic (Hirajoshi) scale on guitar. Try to play them anywhere on the guitar neck, in all twelve keys. Don't forget that the tonic note (orange dot) give its name to the scale.

Aeolian pentatonic scale guitar charts

Two-octave Shapes

These two diagrams are a good example on how to play the Aeolian pentatonic scale on guitar while covering two octaves. The first figure has tonic notes on the sixth, fourth and first string. The second figure has tonic notes on the fifth, third and first string.

 

 

 

Aeolian pentatonic scale guitar positions 1

Five Positions

Now let's tackle the five positions of the Aeolian pentatonic scale in order to cover the whole guitar neck. Notice that each form starts on a different step of the scale.

Aeolian pentatonic scale guitar shapes 1
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Last edited: 2021-11-27

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