The Man Gong Scale For Guitar - Charts and Shapes

The Man Gong scale is a chinese scale best known by jazz, rock and blues musicians as being the third mode of the major pentatonic scale. It contains five notes giving the formula : tonic (1), minor third (b3), fourth (4), minor sixth (b6) and minor seventh (b7), making it a minor pentatonic scale.

G Man Gong Scale G Bb C Eb F
Formula 1 b3 4 b6 b7
Intervals W+H W W+H W W

 

One Octave Shapes

Here are four one-octave guitar diagrams for a first approach of the man gong scale. The tonic (1) gives the key of the scale, don't forget to play these shapes anywhere on the guitar neck while singing the notes.

Man gong guitar scale shapes

Two Octave Shapes

Here are two guitar shapes of the man gong scale spanning two octaves.

Man gong guitar scale diagrams

5 Positions

The five positions below show how to play the man gong scale over the whole neck. Each position is a mode, meaning that it starts on each degree of the scale.

Man gong guitar scale charts

Comparison With Minor Pentatonic

As you can see (and hear) there is only one difference between the minor pentatonic scale and the man gong. 

Man gong versus minor pentatonic scale

Comparison With Phrygian

Theoretically the Man Gong scale is derived from the Phrygian mode (third mode of the major scale). It can be seen as the Phrygian mode without the b2 and the fifth.

Man gong versus phrygian mode
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Last edited: 2021-05-17

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