The Minor Pentatonic Scale

This article is going to go in depth of the minor pentatonic scale, how to play it, and all five of its positions.

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Ok folks! This is my first attempt in making a lesson so please bear with me. In this lesson I have kept the absolute beginner in mind. The minor pentatonic scale is very important to learn since it is used in basically every genre of music, and a lot of the time is the main scale to solo in. So anyways, let's cut to the chase shall we. Penta means five and tonic, of course, means tone. So this is a five tone scale. Wow! only five should be easy!? Well it is once you get used to it, but unless your IQ is 300 you should have to practice. Ok first we will look at the scale in its first position. For the sake of argument we'll use G since it seems like all the other lessons use A. I'm showing you no matter what key it's in ultimately it is exactly the same pattern. Minor Pentatonic in G 1st Pos.
------------------------------(3)-6-----------
-------------------------3-6------------------
--------------------3-5-----------------------
--------------3--(5)--------------------------
--------3--5----------------------------------
--(3)-6---------------------------------------
Ok easy enough? Let me clear a few things up before we continue. The notes in parentheses are the root notes. In other words since this scale is in G the notes in parentheses are the...you guessed it G notes! Some of you may be looking at this going "Dude wait a minute a second ago you said there were five notes in this scale I see twelve!" Well there may be twelve PLAYED NOTES but there are only FIVE DIFFERENT NOTES. If you noticed every five notes you're back at the root note right? So there the notes would start to repeat. The notes in this scale are G,A#,C,D,F. After F it goes right back to G. Let me give you a moment to soak all that in.....Ok time's up! Now I showed you the pentatonic scale in one position, so it's time we get back to that and I show you the scale in the second position. This is the really cool part to do, because the positions are like puzzle pieces let me show you what I mean. Minor Pentatonic in G 2nd Pos.
--------------------------6-8-----------------
--------------------6-(8)---------------------
----------------5-7---------------------------
---------(5)-8--------------------------------
-----5-8--------------------------------------
-6-8------------------------------------------
Do you see what I mean about the positions going together like a puzzle? Well incase you don't let me explain. So take this time to scroll back up to look at the first position. Let's take the low E string as an example, just because I don't feel like writing out the whole scale again. Minor Pentatonic in G 1st Pos.
E-3-6---------------------
Minor Pentatonic in G 2nd Pos.
E-6-8---------------------
Here's the fun! Minor Pentatonic in G 1st AND 2nd Pos.
E-3-6-8-------------------
Now do you understand what I mean? If you combine two positions the last note of the second position will just become the third note on the first position. I know this can be very confusing, but if you have anymore questions feel free to send me a message privately and I will take the time to make sure you fully understand what I am saying. Anyways back to the lesson. Like I said earlier there are five positions to this scale, and every single position works like a puzzle (I've said that one a lot haven't I?) It's just an expression I saw in another lesson a while back and it seemed to stick with me. Well here's the third position, try to see if you can stick this one with the second position if you can. Minor Pentatonic in G 3rd Pos.
---------------------------------8-10--------
--------------------------(8)-11-------------
--------------------7-10---------------------
--------------8-10---------------------------
------8-(10)---------------------------------
-8-10----------------------------------------
I hope this is getting easier for you guys. I'm going to go straight to the fourth and fifth positions now and do my explaining later. Minor Pentatonic in G 4th Pos.
------------------------------------10-13------
------------------------------11-13------------
----------------------10-(12)------------------
----------------10-12--------------------------
-------(10)-13---------------------------------
-10-13-----------------------------------------
Minor Pentatonic in G 5th Pos.
-----------------------------------13-(15)-------
-----------------------------13-15---------------
---------------------(12)-15---------------------
---------------12-15-----------------------------
---------13-15-----------------------------------
-13-(15)-----------------------------------------
Ok! There you have it the pentatonic scale in all five of it's positions. I want you to know that this is just one key but the pattern is exactly the same in every key just move up or down the neck to where you want to start. If you moved up 2 frets from where I started and played exactly the same thing 2 frets higher you would be playing the A Minor Pentatonic Scale, 2 more frets would be B, and so on. B and E however do not have sharps so after those two you would only need to move up 1 fret to get to the next key. What I want you to do is practice the first position until you can do it without thinking, then add the second position to that until you memorize it, then add the third, and so on until you know the whole scale. I also want you to not only play this in G but try to do this in every scale. Like I said before if you have any questions about this at all feel free to send me a private message and I will be more than happy to make sure you fully understand whatever it is you need help with, don't be afraid to ask questions, because I understand this can be confusing at first. Also, this is my first lesson, but if I think I've helped anybody at all I may do more because I've had a good time putting this together. Until then if you want to go farther and I haven't created another lesson yet I highly recommend you look up some of JoshUrban's articles, they are extremely helpful and he is a very nice guy. Thank You in advance for the good reviews, or criticisms...I guess. Til we meet again! Bye!

24 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Phe4rTheGod
    I'm growing very tired of minor pentatonic scale lessons...just copy paste from now on...it's all the same...
    strumyourface29
    Phe4rTheGod : Why do children always run to that quote? And who's arguing? I hate when people post about what opinion someone else made...if you like it great, if not then simply shut the f*ck up...easy enough. Telling people to just keep their opinion to themselves while posting 5+ comments about your own opinions makes no sense deusch rocket. These cats are just tryin to help, if they don't help you don't read them. Thats whats easy enough.
    Briar30
    Hey ZeGuitarist, I liked the lesson. Don't listen to people like Phe4rTheGod. It was a good column, an you should definitely make more of them.
    barfrog
    great lesson... anyone who thinks theyre something special by critising, jog on
    Philly080
    Minor Pentatonic in G 2nd postition as stated in the article would really be Minor Pentatonic in G 6th position, since the low E string begins on the 6th fret. Same with the rest of the postions, and every 'guitar position' for that matter.
    eisaac
    Phe4rTheGod wrote: I'm growing very tired of minor pentatonic scale lessons...just copy paste from now on...it's all the same...
    Fuck that is a useful comment jeppers, cut the guy some slack
    Phe4rTheGod
    Why do children always run to that quote? And who's arguing? I hate when people post about what opinion someone else made...if you like it great, if not then simply shut the f*ck up...easy enough...
    BodaciousBob
    ZeGuitarist & Phe4rTheGod, It's been said before and i'll say it again, just in case you missed the memo. Arguing on the internet is like running in the special olympics even if you win, you are still retarded.
    ZeGuitarist
    Phe4rTheGod wrote: Hey ZeG...cut out some of your ego...I don't care what you say... I read them hoping it's not the exact same thing I've read before...
    :/ Sorry, I guess you know best.
    billhrsn
    Good lesson for someone who doesn't normally lurk on music fora. I teach youngsters guitar and bass, and another point of view is helpful, especially if no profanity is used in the lesson.
    Progdream
    Thank u so much! ive looked at others and this is the only one i could actually understand!!! Thank You!!
    Phe4rTheGod
    Hey ZeG...cut out some of your ego...I don't care what you say... I read them hoping it's not the exact same thing I've read before...
    ZeGuitarist
    Phe4rTheGod wrote: I'm growing very tired of minor pentatonic scale lessons...just copy paste from now on...it's all the same...
    I say you cut him some slack as well. You like my UGG, don't you? Well, it doesn't exactly cover any new information either... It can be helpful to have the same thing explained by different people in different ways. So, kudos...
    Zappanator
    Well then just quit reading them. I tried to explain this one in more depth than the others I saw.
    Phe4rTheGod wrote: I'm growing very tired of minor pentatonic scale lessons...just copy paste from now on...it's all the same...
    Phe4rTheGod
    Great, next thing you know we'll just start cutting all the people that post the same sh*t some slack...then we can all start playing the same thing...you're an idiot...and that is why people like you should have a license to play a guitar...