#1
Hey guys, i'm new to this forum.

Basically I started playing guitar about 4 years ago but for over 2 years I practically stopped because college was draining my energy away from it .

When I used to play more, like 3 yrs ago, I wasnt learning the guitar so much, but songs and guitar solo, so i've never spent time learning the actual guitar in order to create my own stuff, which is what I want to do as of now.

Right now i'm learning pentatonic scales and have now memorized all the patterns. Problem is, I only practiced it in the A Minor / C key and I am ''confortable'' with this but as soon as i try to move any of the pattern somewhere else on the fretboard im all lost.

My questions are :

What is the best way to learn pentatonic scales?

Should I say the notes out loud when doing them?

Should I memorize every single note on the fretboard?

Thank you for your time all.
Last edited by dusso1967 at Oct 16, 2014,
#2
I just chose a key (maybe Am) and learned all five pentatonic boxes and how to move fluently between them. I never bothered learning what the notes were, and I just change positions for different keys. - Ie two frets down for Gm, three up for Cm. A bit unscientific, but it worked for me. I also think of other scales as add-ons to the pentatonic skeleton, and shift between pentatonics, most often between major and minor (eg AM and Am) to add interest.

EDIT I also play pentatonic scales most of the time when I'm watching TV, and along with any suitable tunes that come on. These days, I identify the key of a tune by the pent that fits it best.
Last edited by Tony Done at Oct 16, 2014,
#3
ok cool and just another question... say i want to play along with a song and add some of the pentatonic scale i just learned...how can i know in which key i should be playing?

i never understood that concept and cant seem to find the answer on the web.

Thanks!
#4
Quote by dusso1967
ok cool and just another question... say i want to play along with a song and add some of the pentatonic scale i just learned...how can i know in which key i should be playing?

i never understood that concept and cant seem to find the answer on the web.

Thanks!

If the song is in G (major or minor) 9 times out of 10 you'd use the G minor pentatonic scale, the major pentatonic is used more in some jazz and most country in major keys.

for example:

[size="3"]|G   |G   |G   |G   |C   |C   |G   |G   |D7  |C   |G   |D7  |[/SIZE]

In this simple twelve bar blues you could use the notes in the G minor pentatonic scale.
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Last edited by Pastafarian96 at Oct 16, 2014,
#5
Quote by dusso1967
ok cool and just another question... say i want to play along with a song and add some of the pentatonic scale i just learned...how can i know in which key i should be playing?

i never understood that concept and cant seem to find the answer on the web.

Thanks!


I can't really explain it in helpful terms. I just find a note that is in tune, then find the pentatonic intervals (either 2 or 3 semitones) that surround it that are also in tune. Working backwards from those intervals gives me the key. For example, the notes E and G only occur in two pentatonic scales, Am/C or Em/G. If a B also fits well the key is likely Em/G, but if a C fits well then the key is likely Am/C. This ii then confirmed for all the other notes in the two scales.
#6
You've already identified what you need to do. You should strive to play all shapes in all keys. Using something like Band in a Box or iRealb are very good for this. You could set up a backing track of a single static chord, say Am or A7, and use spent shape 1. Then change it to Bbm/Bb7 and repeat. Continue this for all twelve locations then repeat for shape two, etc.

To make it more challenging you could set up a backing track that goes through all twelve keys in a random order - so you have to quickly find each location.

Harder still, play over the random keys but staying in one area of the fretboard. This means changing the shape instead of moving the same shape up the fretboard.
#7
Quote by Tony Done
I can't really explain it in helpful terms. I just find a note that is in tune, then find the pentatonic intervals (either 2 or 3 semitones) that surround it that are also in tune. Working backwards from those intervals gives me the key. For example, the notes E and G only occur in two pentatonic scales, Am/C or Em/G. If a B also fits well the key is likely Em/G, but if a C fits well then the key is likely Am/C. This ii then confirmed for all the other notes in the two scales.


Only works to a certain point since in an given minor key you can use the same pentatonic shape from the 1, 4, and 5, and all the notes in the shape will be in key.
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#8
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Only works to a certain point since in an given minor key you can use the same pentatonic shape from the 1, 4, and 5, and all the notes in the shape will be in key.


That's true. My approach is more holistic than I make it sound, but I do always identify pentatonic scales before chords to find the key - and I would quickly know if I had the wrong 1,4 and 5 chords.
#9
Allow me to offer my $0.02. First, should you learn all the notes of the fretboard? Absolutely. Knowing where every note is can be extremely helpful not just for writing your own music, but learning others' music and also learning music theory (which I highly recommend you learn). There are many way to do this. Some people prefer to learn one string at a time, others prefer one fret at a time. Personally, I like a free program called fretboard warrior. It helped me learn the notes initially. And another great exercise is to say the notes that you are playing. Particularly in as weird a pattern as you can come up with. So just pick a bunch of frets on various strings and say what notes you're playing.

Next, what is the best way to learn pentatonic scales? Some people like the boxed shapes, and they are really convenient, but they're not the best way to look at the scales. They help you get used to how the scale sounds, but not much else. In fact, they can often be more of a hindrance than a benefit. Many people who just learn the boxes get stuck in them and have trouble moving around the fretboard. So instead, I like to look at them as a series of notes and intervals. Memorize the interval pattern and the notes of the fretboard and you're set. With time you will be able to freely without having to think.

Lastly, how do you know which key to play in? A good rule of thumb is to look at the last note or chord of a song. Most songs will finish on the root of the scale. Ending a song on a different note tends to make a song sound unfinished. But there are also exceptions to this. And there are also several songs that change the key during the song. Sometimes, multiple times. For those issues, you kind of have to just try to find what sounds good.
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