Extension Of Pentatonic Minor Scales

author: Mr. Song date: 11/05/2009 category: scales
rating: 8.6 / votes: 21 
Alot of lessons about pentatonic scales just show the oh-so-ubiquitous A Minor Pentatonic, which goes like this:
e|--5--8
B|--5--8
G|--5--7
D|--5--7
A|--5--7
E|--5--8
Now, that's all very well and just, but to expand your technique, you're going to need more than just that, which is only one out of the five basic positions. (There is a scale position starting at each of the five notes) A minor pentatonic scale is made up of five different tones (Penta = Five.) Let's use E minor in this example Root = E Minor 3rd = G Perfect 4th = A Perfect 5th = B Minor 7th = D And then the octave = E again The five basic pentatonic shapes all use the same five notes, but each position starts with a different note, giving each a slightly different sound. The First position we all know, or, most of us. This is mostly shown in A Minor, but you should recognize this as the basic pentatonic shape. It starts on the root of the scale:
e|--0--3
B|--0--3
G|--0--2
D|--0--2
A|--0--2
E|--0--3
The second position starts from, surprise, surprise, the second note of the scale, the minor third (G). Most of you probably don't know this position, as it is rarely shown.
e|--3--5
B|--3--5
G|--2--4
D|--2--5
A|--2--5
E|--3--5
The third position is from the third tone, the perfect fourth.
e|--5--7
B|--5--8
G|--4--7
D|--5--7
A|--5--7
E|--5--7
The fourth position is from the fourth tone, the perfect fifth.
e|--7--10
B|--8--10
G|--7--9
D|--7--9
A|--7--10
E|--7--10
And finally, the fifth position, from the fifth note, starts on the minor seventh of the scale.
e|10--12
B|10--12
G|-9--12
D|-9--12
A|10--12
E|10--12
The twelfth fret here is exactly one octave above the open notes, and so you would start repeating the scale positions from there.
e|12--15
B|12--15
G|12--14
D|12--14
A|12--14
E|12--15
The E minor pentatonic, if you had to reduce it to a diagram, would look like this: (the number of the position is written above the root)
1    2  3  4    5
0----0--0--0----0--0
0----0--0----0--0--0
0--0--0----0--0----0
0--0----0--0--0----0
0--0----0--0----0--0
0----0--0--0----0--0
1    2  3  4    5
Now, unbelievable as it may seem, this entire shape is moveable, to suit whichever key you're playing in. my advice is to just memorize each shape, and how they follow after each other on the fretboard, and to help with this, know that: The distance between the 1st and 2nd position's roots on the low or high e string is three frets Between the 2nd and 3rd is two frets 3 = 4 is also two frets 4 = 5 is three frets 5 = repeat is two frets I hope this lesson was helpful, just in getting you to explore the further reaches of the pentatonic scale, often overlooked.
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