A Comprehensive Pentatonic Formula

author: DiabolusMusica5 date: 07/22/2011 category: guitar scales and modes

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All right, here we go... So when you get down to it...more than 80% of modern music one hears is simple pentatonics. This is true not only of guitar music, but also for voice, piano, wind instruments, ect. So without further adeu, I give you the most efficient (and easiest) way to learn the Major/minor pentatonic scale for the entire fret board in any key. 1.) A "Pentatonic" scale means a scale with FIVE TONES. 2.) A Major Pentatonic scale is a Major scale WITHOUT scale degrees 4 & 7 3.) A Minor Pentatonic scale is a minor scale WITHOUT scale degrees 2 & 6 4.) Each Major Pentatonic scale has what is called a RELATIVE minor scale (For example C Major Pentatonic is relative to a minor Pentatonic) 5.) There are 5 and only 5 "Pentatonic Boxes" that once learned will enable you to improvise/play in any Major/minor Key. For the Minor Boxes I will add the b5th so that you will know the all minor blues scales to ---THESE WILL BE denoted by a "B" 6.) In order to add an extra dimension to pentatonic playing,(and prevent it from sounding repetetive) I highly recommend that your study of pentatonics NOT be limited to the 5 boxes, I will give you a movable 3-Octave Blues scale formula that works for all tonal centers. These patterns are cyclic-meaning that they progress up to 5, and then continue further up the neck, by starting the cycle over on a pattern 1. Major Pentatonic-Pattern 1 Box
R=Root
-has Roots on 2nd and 5th strings TWO frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
|-O-|-0-|-0-|-0-|---|-0-| Base fret row (the fret that is named
                                         in reference to hand  
|---|---|---|---|-R-|---|                  position) 
 
|---|---|-0-|-0-|---|---|
 
|-0-|-R-|---|---|-0-|-0-|
Major Pentatonic-Pattern 2 Box
R=Root
-has Roots on 3rd and 5th strings TWO frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
|---|---|-0-|-0-|---|---| 
 
|-0-|-R-|---|---|-0-|-0-|
 
|---|---|---|---|---|---|
 
|-0-|-0-|-0-|-R-|-0-|-0-|
Major Pentatonic-Pattern 3 Box
R=Root
-has Roots on 1rst, 3rd and 6th strings THREE frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
|-O-|-0-|-0-|-R-|-0-|-0-|  
 
|---|---|---|---|---|---|
 
|---|-0-|-0-|-0-|---|---|
 
|-R-|---|---|---|-0-|-R-|
Major Pentatonic-Pattern 4 Box
R=Root
-has Roots on 1rst, 4rth and 6th strings TWO frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
|---|-0-|-0-|-0-|---|---| 
 
|-R-|---|---|---|-0-|-R-|
 
|---|---|---|-0-|---|---|
 
|-0-|-0-|-R-|---|-0-|-0-|
Major Pentatonic-Pattern 5 Box
R=Root
-has Roots on 2nd and 4th strings THREE frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
              0     
|-O-|-0-|-R-|---|-0-|-0-| 
 
|---|---|---|---|---|---|
 
|-0-|-0-|-0-|-0-|---|-0-|
 
|---|---|---|---|-R-|---|
Minor Pentatonic-Pattern 1 Box (Its the same as Major pattern #5)
R=Root
-has Roots on 2nd and 5th strings TWO frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
              0     
|-O-|-0-|-0-|---|-R-|-0-| 
 
|-B-|---|---|---|---|-B-|
 
|-0-|-R-|-0-|-0-|---|-0-|
 
|---|---|-B-|---|-0-|---|
Minor Pentatonic-Pattern 2 Box (Its the same as Major Pattern #1)
R=Root
-has Roots on 3nd and 5th strings TWO frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
|-O-|-R-|-0-|-0-|---|-0-| 
                                         
|---|---|-B-|---|-0-|---|                  
 
|---|---|-0-|-R-|---|---|
 
|-0-|-0-|---|---|-0-|-0-|
Minor Pentatonic-Pattern 3 Box (Its the same as Major Pattern #2)
R=Root
-has Roots on 1rst, 3rd, and 6th strings THREE frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
|---|---|-0-|-R-|---|---| 
 
|-0-|-0-|---|---|-0-|-0-|
 
|---|---|---|---|-B-|---|
 
|-R-|-0-|-0-|-0-|-0-|-R-|
Minor Pentatonic-Pattern 4 (Its the same as Major Pattern #3)
R=Root
-has Roots on 1rst, 4th and 6th strings TWO frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
|-R-|-0-|-0-|-0-|-0-|-R-|  
 
|---|-B-|---|---|---|---|
 
|---|-0-|-R-|-0-|---|---|
 
|-0-|---|---|-B-|-0-|-0-|
Minor Pentatonic-Pattern 5 Box (Its the same as Major Pattern #4)
R=Root
-has Roots on 2nd and 4th strings THREE frets apart
  E   A   D   G   B   E   <----- String names
 
|---|-0-|-R-|-0-|---|---| 
 
|-0-|---|---|-B-|-0-|-0-|
 
|---|---|---|-0-|---|---|
 
|-0-|-0-|-0-|---|-R-|-0-|
The Movable 3 Octave Blues Scale -I include /marks to let you know that before u sound the note which is to the immediate right of the /, that you must shift hand position.
e|----------------------8/10-11-12/15-17-15-------------------------------|
B|------------------8-10------------------17-16-15------------------------|
G|-----------5/7-8-9-----------------------------17/14-12-----------------|
D|--------5-7-------------------------------------------14-13-12/10-------|
A|---5-6-7--------------------------------------------------------12-10---|
E|5-8------------------------------------------------------continued-below|
I couldn't cram the Last five notes on b/c of sizing issues, they are E|12-11-10-/8-5-| You can move this 3 octave blues scale to start on any fret on the fat E-string. Hope all this lesson helps (-: ~Nick Jacquet
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