Im learning the minor pentatonic scale, and I learned (what i soon found out to be) the first position. I started playing it and got fairly good at it. So i thought, "great now I can learn another scale". But then i found out that was only the first out of five positions in the minor pentatonic scale. I have since learned the second position, but it makes me kindof nervous to learn all of these different positions going up the neck.Do I have to learn all the shapes? or can I use one or two and move them up and down the neck? Are all scales like this? and if so, how long does it usually take someone to learn? any info would be great!
Last edited by maraistmatthew at Jan 21, 2014,
The shapes are there for convenience and nothing more. Instead of spending your time learning the shapes, learn the notes of the fretboard, and learn some theory, specifically which notes are in which scales. The notes exist all across the fretboard, and as such, so do the scales. All scales can be arranged in boxed shapes, but if you just concentrate on learning those shapes, they can be more a hindrance than a benefit. If you get too used to them, you may have trouble moving around the fretboard.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
I agree with Junior#1 but I wouldn't say learning the 5 positions would be a bad thing and I wouldn't be afraid of them ether. If you put your mind to it you will learn it over time. Mastering the notes of a fretboard can be a big task that's coming from a guy not there yet.

Just don't get to caught up in scales though as ^^ said you have to try to to understand why the scales work the way they do through notes and theory. Sometimes imo the scales can kinda help you understand visually.

Also you will find some of the shapes repeat in other scales like Major so it's not all wasted time.
Jackson DK2
1962 Fender Esquire
PEAVEY 6505+ 112
Last edited by UFC on VHS at Jan 23, 2014,
a much easier way I believe of learning these pentatonic scales across the board is to just learn the root note. take for example E note(fret 0 on E string). memorize the E note across the fret board, this is just to help you visualize how the notes are spaced out. On every E note you can play the first position pentatonic scale.

so basically, yeah, learning notes is very important to learning scales. intervalic theory is something that is pretty easy to learn and pretty damn useful in everything. it definitely helps learning notes and scales.
Marty Friedman is GOD!

curently in a SEX MACHINEGUNS and X JAPAN phase AND Galneryus AND Anthem phase

damn J-Metal, why you so awesome

My Gear:

Schecter Hellraiser V-1 fr
Ibanez RG321mh
Fender GDC-200sce
Peavey Vypyr 30 w/ sanpera 1
I say do both. Yeah, having a total command of the fretboard - knowing where every note is and being able to play direct from what you hear in your head is the end goal. But that is a very big end goal, and you need lots of steps in between. Learn the shapes, but make sure you learn what notes you are playing as you go. Identify the root notes in each shape first, and start adding to your knowledge from there.

I agree with Junior#1 about the danger of getting boxed in in your playing if you work on the shapes just straight up and down for too long. As soon as you've got the five positions, start working on combining them. For example, playing the bottom half of the scale in one position, then sliding up and playing the top half in the next position.

As far as how long it takes - that varies per person, but I will say this - it will get steadily faster for you to learn new stuff as you progress. Also, the other scales build on top of what you are learning now. For example, the minor scale has the 5 notes you are learning from from the pentatonic scale, plus 2 more. This is why learning the notes as you learn the patterns is so important. If you don't learn the notes, it will seem like you are learning an entirely different pattern when you start learning the minor scale. If you know the notes, it will just seem like adding two notes into what you already know.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your playing!
^ Yeah, as long as you are practicing changing positions at every possible interval, you shouldn't get boxed in. This video kind of demonstrates it. And I like it because it reminds me how much I still have to learn.

Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
What i did was learn the first position and then started playing to backing tracks on youtube and over time you find new notes and places on the neck you can play, all i ever learnt was the pens. so recently i went looking for some more scales but found it that i was already using them, i just didn't realize it.
"Music Without Emotion Is Like Food Without Flavour"
Paul Gilbert