The Minor Pentatonic Scale
The minor pentatonic scale is THE most important scale you can learn as a guitar player. It is the most used scale in rock and blues and even in genres like jazz.
Almost every solo you could possibly hear in popular rock and metal songs are made from parts of the Minor Pentatonic Scale. Van Halen, Zakk Wylde, Kirk Hammett, you name him and he knows the pentatonic scale.
Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix, arguably one of the most popular rock songs ever, uses the pentatonic scale in its riffs and solos.
This is a pretty simple scale that anybody who has been playing guitar for at least a month can learn. I won’t be getting too in depth with the music theory of these, because as I’ve said in my “Should I learn Music Theory“, you shouldn’t bother with it as a beginner.
This is a pretty simple concept.This picture is showing you from the bottom to the top what notes to play. At the top of the picture is the skinny high E string and at the bottom is the top of the guitar fret board, or the low E string.
Don’t pay attention to the letters right now. Go from the bottom of this picture and you can play the scale.
The minor key that you want to be in is going to be where the A note is. If you want to play in A minor, you’ll start from the 5th fret of the top E string, the fattest string. That is an A note and that is where you’ll start.
Now play three frets away from that, in the case of A minor, you’ll go from playing the 5th fret to the 8th fret. It might be a little stretch but that’s fine, you’ll get used to it.
Then move down a string to the A string and play the same fret as you did on the top e with the first finger. Then you play 2 frets away from that, which would be the 7th fret in the case of A minor.
Do that twice again on the next two strings down. Now do the same formation of picking the 5th fret and then picking three frets away as you did on the top e with the bottom two strings.
Practice this a lot and be able to do this up and down. After you learn this scale you’ll be able to learn the other 4 scale positions of the pentatonic. You can solo if you want to with just this position but it takes a lot of time and practice to be able to hit the right notes in the scale to blend together perfectly
That’s it! You’ve learned the basic pentatonic shape! You’re now ready to start your adventures in soloing.
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