Will a pentatonic box always begin on the sixth string, so it will end on the high E every time?
I'm slightly confused by this question...

The minor pentatonic scale in any given key appears all over the fretboard. If we take the key of A then it's anywhere you can find the notes A, C, D, E, and G. The shapes, while they are absolutely worth knowing and being very comfortable with, are purely incidental. You should start playing where ever has the note that you want to hear.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”

Album.
Legion.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I'm slightly confused by this question...

The minor pentatonic scale in any given key appears all over the fretboard. If we take the key of A then it's anywhere you can find the notes A, C, D, E, and G. The shapes, while they are absolutely worth knowing and being very comfortable with, are purely incidental. You should start playing where ever has the note that you want to hear.

I think the OP is talking practising the scales.

I started pentatonics learning them from string six then work my way up the scale, then down. Once I feel like I've committed them to muscle memory, I start breaking down the habit by trying different things that aren't simply going up and down. It seems redundant and tedious to formulate a habit only to get rid of it later, but it works for me.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I'm slightly confused by this question...

The minor pentatonic scale in any given key appears all over the fretboard. If we take the key of A then it's anywhere you can find the notes A, C, D, E, and G. The shapes, while they are absolutely worth knowing and being very comfortable with, are purely incidental. You should start playing where ever has the note that you want to hear.

Sorry. You gotta watch me, or I will confuse you.
Does this mean that I can start in the middle of the fretboard, play to the high E side, then finish on the low E side?
Quote by chrismendiola
I think the OP is talking practising the scales.

I started pentatonics learning them from string six then work my way up the scale, then down. Once I feel like I've committed them to muscle memory, I start breaking down the habit by trying different things that aren't simply going up and down. It seems redundant and tedious to formulate a habit only to get rid of it later, but it works for me.

Yup, I am talking about practicing the scales.
Yup, I am talking about practicing the scales.

You can pretty much do whatever you want, as long as it helps you memorise the shapes.
To start off, you'll want to go up and down the scale, so I guess generally you'd start on the low E string and go up the high e string then start on the high e string and go down to the low E string.

I think it might be smarter to pay attention to the tonic, 4th and 5th though and work on starting and ending riffs on those notes. That'll give you an idea of how to start using the scale in a musical context, but maybe that would be something to look into after you've got the scale shape down first.
Over 12 frets of the neck, you can break it down into 5 regions by octave (on 6 string guitar, standard tuning). Have a look at a diagram of all pitches on a guitar, and notice where all the E's occur from open string up to fret 11, then see same pattern starts again at fret 12.

In the following order, moving horizontally along the neck, you'll find E on 6th (and 1st) string, then 4th string, then 2nd string, then 5th string, then 3rd string, and all starts again at 12th fret with E on 6th and 1st string. This gives you 5 regions for playing around using some sort of E-based scale, includng the pentatonic. Learn the shapes in these regions, and learn how to navigate horizontally across the regions.

If you do the same thing, starting from F, you'll find this same distribution of ocatves, but it's just moved up one fret from the patternm for E, and so on for F#, G ...

cheers, Jerry
Yeah usually that is how it is practiced but you can do it however you like as long as you remember where all the notes are.
Quote by EyeballPaul
Yeah usually that is how it is practiced but you can do it however you like as long as you remember where all the notes are.

EyeballPaul makes a critical point there. Use the shapes you know to let you find the notes, but use your ear and imagination to decide which order to play them in. Bear in mind there is also a simple m7 arpeggio to be found in the pentatonic (1, b3, 5, b7). Loads of people make sequences from the scale, for more structure to a solo.

e.g. choose start note note, down next, down next, down next, back up one, back up one. This final note becomes start note, and repeat. etc.

A really nice sound is created using m pent along one string.

choose start note. slide down to next but one note in pent. slide back up to the missed out note. That's now your start note. Repeat ... (Only picking the very first note sounds really nice)

Gives a very vocal effect done right.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Oct 18, 2014,
Best way to learn it in my experience was to learn the shape and then jam it over different backing tracks every time i practiced,Same with any scale.Must have played it thousands of times doing that many moons ago,Now my fingers just know.
Quote by chrismendiola
You can pretty much do whatever you want, as long as it helps you memorise the shapes.

I'm at a point now where I'm attempting to jump from one shape to another, trying to increase my autonomy all along the fretboard.
This is difficult for me, unless I do it very slowly.
I've pretty much got the shapes memorized in Am pentatonic, but joining them in a practice technique Steve Stine (Absolute Fretboard Mastery; YT) calls "meandering" is gonna be a slow go. If anybody wants to take a look at this vid so they're more familiar with what I'm going by, feel free. If you think it's "krraAAAPPP"!, I'd love to hear from you. Don't want to be wasting my time.
Visually, I can pick out the shapes. By my "mind's eye"...not so easy.
The best way to practice it is in small clusters from the root to the next octave.

You should do this going left ( i.e. towards the bridge) and right ( going towards the headstock) starting on the root found on each string. For example. learn A Minor pentatonic on the low E starting with your index on the 5th fret low E string and playing up to the octave on the 7th fret D string ( this is the standard pent. box). Then play it starting with your pinky on the 5th fret low E and play the notes going up to the octave on the 2nd fret G string ( this time you're not playing any notes past the 5th fret. Do that starting on each A note on each string and you will have a great functional view for improvising.

This right and left approach is great for chord voicings and any scale or modes as well because it opens up the fretboard.

When you're improvising, smaller clusters are easier to navigate, so avoid three octave mega patterns - they're useless when you're actually trying to invent something on the spot.
Quote by mjones1992
To start off, you'll want to go up and down the scale, so I guess generally you'd start on the low E string and go up the high e string then start on the high e string and go down to the low E string.

I think it might be smarter to pay attention to the tonic, 4th and 5th though and work on starting and ending riffs on those notes. That'll give you an idea of how to start using the scale in a musical context, but maybe that would be something to look into after you've got the scale shape down first.

This ^^^

Another great tip is to sing your scales as you play them. This will fix the sound each note makes in yourghead. People are always mentioning muscle memory but aural memory is more important as far as solos are concerned, both improvising your own and working out other people's.
Quote by reverb66
The best way to practice it is in small clusters from the root to the next octave.

You should do this going left ( i.e. towards the bridge) and right ( going towards the headstock) starting on the root found on each string. For example. learn A Minor pentatonic on the low E starting with your index on the 5th fret low E string and playing up to the octave on the 7th fret D string ( this is the standard pent. box). Then play it starting with your pinky on the 5th fret low E and play the notes going up to the octave on the 2nd fret G string ( this time you're not playing any notes past the 5th fret. Do that starting on each A note on each string and you will have a great functional view for improvising.

This right and left approach is great for chord voicings and any scale or modes as well because it opens up the fretboard.

When you're improvising, smaller clusters are easier to navigate, so avoid three octave mega patterns - they're useless when you're actually trying to invent something on the spot.

Hey,thanks for this instruction. I'm expecting an "Aha!" moment from attempting this, once I can get my hands on my guitar.