I'm currently learning all the patterns of the minor pent scale. But I often see guitarists move up and down the fretboards. Are they using the patterns in their set positions and simply landing on the key they are in?

Also my guitar teacher said that the pattern you play depends on which string you find the root on, is that true? In other words if you find andy note on the A string you use the A Form(pattern)?
Well, they are probably using all the patterns or using the hopscotch method.

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/search.php?s=hopscotch&w=lessons

I don't know about your last question there. I've never really learned patterns, but aren't most scale patterns based on the low E? If they aren't, ignore this part so it doesn't further confuse you.
I have found it useful to not just think of the patterns, but to think of the chord shapes that go with each pattern. Each one of the scale patterns can be associated with one of the chord shapes of the CAGED system. It helps me visualize where you can find chords, root notes, and the differnt intervals. That has made it easier for me to break out of patterns and use the fret board.
Quote by Epac
I'm currently learning all the patterns of the minor pent scale. But I often see guitarists move up and down the fretboards. Are they using the patterns in their set positions and simply landing on the key they are in?

Also my guitar teacher said that the pattern you play depends on which string you find the root on, is that true? In other words if you find andy note on the A string you use the A Form(pattern)?

Guitarists moving up and down the fretboard ARE landing on the right notes of the scale they are playing. For example if the song is in the key of A, and its a "happy" scale i.e the A major scale that they are playing, then when they are going up and down they are playing all the notes of the A major scale.

If you learn the patterns, then you can move the patterns up and down the fretboard or string. For ex, if you learn the first pattern of the pentatonic scale going from the low E to high E, you would start from the 12th fret of the low E and end at the 12th fret of the high E. If you learnt the pattern and say you want to play the first pattern in A instead of E, then all you have to do is repeat the same pattern on the 17th fret of the low E string which is an A and end at the 17th fret of the high E. Am I making sense?

Learn the patterns. Then you can play in any scale you want because the patterns remain the same.

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Quote by meyekal
I have found it useful to not just think of the patterns, but to think of the chord shapes that go with each pattern. Each one of the scale patterns can be associated with one of the chord shapes of the CAGED system. It helps me visualize where you can find chords, root notes, and the differnt intervals. That has made it easier for me to break out of patterns and use the fret board.

Absolutely!
Quote by meyekal
I have found it useful to not just think of the patterns, but to think of the chord shapes that go with each pattern. Each one of the scale patterns can be associated with one of the chord shapes of the CAGED system. It helps me visualize where you can find chords, root notes, and the differnt intervals. That has made it easier for me to break out of patterns and use the fret board.

Say im on the open string shape(my teacher calls it A Form)
0------------3
1------------3
0------------2
0------------2
0------------3
0------------3
the way my teacher was explaining it was that you should use this sytem whenever the note you want to play is on the A string, like if you wanted to play the A scale you would use this pattern but if you wanted to use the D scale and start on the a string you would play these set of notes
5---------8
6---------8
5---------7
5---------7
5---------8
5---------8

Is this correct? to move from fret 1 to 12 would you simply hit the A notes in each Cage(pattern)?

Also are the roots of the scale always on a certain string or are they wherever you find the notes in the particular pattern?
From your post that sounds like a minor pentatonic. Lets ignore minors and just talk about the major pentationic for now. When I talk about chord shapes I am refering to the shape of a bar chord. The shape of the bar chord gets its name from the open chord. For example, an open A looks like this

0
2
2
2
0
X

If I move this shape up and bar the 5th fret, I get the following

5
7
7
7
5
x

That is actually a D major chord. If I move this up two more frets, I get a E major chord

7
9
9
9
7
X

Do you see how the shape of the chord stays the same? Because the open chord is an A, this barre shape is sometimes called an A shape barre chord.

Now lets go back to our open A. What are the components of a major chord? Well, a major chord is is constructed of three notes. For an A major those notes are A, C#, and E. I never think about the actual note names though. I just usually think abot the Intervals. Therefore A, C#, and E become 1 (my tonic), 3, and 5. So lets go back to our open shape A. It looked like this

0
2
2
2
0
X

Well what are the actaul notes that are being played here? I will write them next to the notes now

0 (is an E)
2 (is a C#)
2 ( is an A)
2 (is an E)
0 (is an A)
X (not played)

However, remeber that I never think about the actual notes. I only think about the tonic and its intervals. For major chords that is 1,3,5. For the A major chord it is 1 = A, 3 = C#, and 5 = E. So back to our open chord

0 (is our 5th)
2 ( is our 3rd)
2 ( is our 1 or tonic)
2 (is our 5th)
0 ( is our 1 or tonic)
X (not played)

Now remember when we took this shape up 5 frets to make a D major? Lets do the same thing here, but lets also show the 1,3,5 that every major chord is composed of with it.

5 (is our 5th)
7 ( is our 3rd)
7 ( is our 1, or tonic)
7 (is our 5th)
5 ( is our 1, or tonic)
X (not played)

Remeber this a different chord, it is the D major. The 1,3,5 are still part of this chord, but the underlying notes have changed because you are playing a different chord.

Play the E major and you find the same thing

7 (is our 5th)
9 ( is our 3rd)
9 ( is our 1, or tonic)
9 (is our 5th)
7 ( is our 1, or tonic)
X (not played)

Go ahead and look up the notes for these if you like. However the thing to remeber is that the chords have changed, but the shape and the position of the 1,3,5 have not.

Now back to scales. A specific scale is really just a collection of of certain notes. Those notes are determined by the tonic. Remember our tonic is our 1 note. In A major our 1 (or tonic) is A. In D major our 1(or tonic) would be D, and in E major our 1 would be E. The major pentatonic scale is composed of 5 notes. Those notes are the 1 (or tonic), the 2nd, the 3rd, the 5th, and the 6th. Well guess what, for the barre chord shape we are looking at, we already know where some of those other notes are. Lets go back to our D major chord at the 5th fret

5
7
7
7
5
X

Lets expand this to also show the 1,3,5s

5th fret (our 5th)- | ------------- | ---------------------- |
---------------------- | ------------- | --- 7 (our 3rd)---- |
---------------------- | ------------- | --- 7 (our 1)------- |
---------------------- | ------------- | --- 7 (our 5th)------|
5th fret (our 1)-----| -------------- | -----------------------
----------------------- | -------------- | ---------------------- |

Do you see our D major chord there with its 1,3,5

Well now let me show you one of the patterns for the D major pentonic at the 5th fret

|--------|---- 5 -----| -------- | ------7-----|
|--------|---- 5 -----| -------- | ------7-----|
|---4---|--- --------| -------- | ------7-----|
|---4 ---|--- --------| -------- | ------7-----|
|---------|-----5-----| -------- | ------7-----|
|--------|---- 5 -----| -------- | ------7-----|

Lets go ahead and put our 1,3,5s in for D major

|--------|---- 5 (our 5th) -----| -------- | ------7----------------|
|--------|---- 5 -----------------| -------- | ------7(our 3rd)-----|
|---4---|--- --------------------| -------- | ------7 (our 1st)-----|
|---4 ---|--- --------------------| -------- | ------7 (our 5th)-----|
|---------|-----5 (our 1st)-----| -------- | ------7-----------------|
|--------|---- 5 -----------------| -------- | ------7----------------|

Do you see how are barre chord fits into that shape? Remember a pentatonic is compsed of 5 notes which are the 1,2,3,5,6. Well we can fill the rest of this shape with those notes

|------------------|---- 5 (our 5th) -----| -------- | ------7 (a 6th)-------|
|------------------|---- 5 (a 2nd) ------| -------- | ------7(our 3rd)-----|
|---4 (a 6th)---|--- --------------------| -------- | ------7 (our 1st)-----|
|---4 (a 3rd) ---|--- --------------------| -------- | ------7 (our 5th)-----|
|------------------|-----5 (our 1st)-----| -------- | ------7 (a 2nd)-------|
|-----------------|---- 5 (a 5th)-------| -------- | ------7 (a 6th)---------|

Now remember we also looked at the E major chord at the 7th fret

7
9
9
9
7
X

Well lets change what we are playing to an E major pentatonic. And see that at the 7th fret it is the exact same shape. the notes under our 1,3,5 have changed. But that is because we our now doing the E major pentatonic scale

|--------|---- 7 (our 5th) -----| -------- | ------9----------------|
|--------|---- 7 -----------------| -------- | ------9(our 3rd)-----|
|---6---|--- --------------------| -------- | ------9 (our 1st)-----|
|-- 6 ---|--- --------------------| -------- | ------9 (our 5th)-----|
|---------|-----7 (our 1st)-----| -------- | ------9-----------------|
|--------|---- 7 -----------------| -------- | ------9----------------|

Do you see how it is the same shape. How our tonic, 3rd, and 5th have moved because we are doing E major Pentatonic. Otherwise, thing are the same. Fill in the rest of this diagram with the 2nd and 6s.

Now, try and put up the chord shape and scale for C major starting at the 3rd fret.

I don't have time right now to try and explain this more. It is kind of tough without an easier graphics tool. I guess this is a start in learning how chords and patterns go together. You can do the same thing with other chord shapes.
Last edited by meyekal at Sep 8, 2006,