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Pentatonic Minor Scale

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The pentatonic minor scale is one of the easiest scales to learn.

Basics required for this lesson : None
Practice this lesson : None

The 5 positions of the pentatonic minor scale

Let's get straight to the point: there are 5 positions within the pentatonic minor scale.
The pentatonic scale is (as its name suggests) made up of 5 different notes, therefore there are 5 different positions (see all practical details below):


pentatonic minor position #1

pentatonic minor position #2

pentatonic minor position #3

pentatonic minor position #4

pentatonic minor position #5
 

How to read the diagrams

  • The red dots correspond to the keynote, i.e the main note on which your scale is based. This is what sets the atmosphere to the scale,
  • All positions match with one another, i.e the notes located at the right end of each position are the same as those found at the left end of the next position (and after the 5th position we set out again on the first, which gives I - II - III - IV - V - I - II - III, etc),
  • You must play with one finger per fret,
  • Each position is played string by string, from top to bottom,
  • It is complusory to work slowly in the beginning!
  • Using a metronome is highly recommended (if you don’t have one, go to our toolbox on tabs4acoustic.com on the right).

How to play a pentatonic scale - See an example

In order to get things clear, there's nothing like a practical example. So, let’s consider (randomly) the pentatonic minor scale of oeA”.
You will find below how you should play the first position: the tab notes correspond to the notes for the position, and the numbers on the top correspond to the fingers to use on each note (1 = index, 2 = middle, 3 = ring, 4 = little finger):

 

  1  4  1  3  1  3  1  3  1  4  1  4-------------------------------5--8---------------
-------------------------5--8---------------------
-------------------5--7---------------------------
-------------5--7---------------------------------
-------5--7---------------------------------------
-5--8---------------------------------------------


and so on for the next positions:
 

  2  4   1  4   1  4   1  3  2  4   2  4
-----------------------------------8--10----------
----------------------------8--10-----------------
----------------------7--9------------------------
---------------7--10------------------------------
--------7--10-------------------------------------
-8--10--------------------------------------------
  1   3   1   3   1   3   1  4   1   4   1   3
----------------------------------------10--12----
--------------------------------10--13------------
-------------------------9--12--------------------
-----------------10--12---------------------------
---------10--12-----------------------------------
-10--12-------------------------------------------
  1   4   1   4   1   3   1   3   2   4   1   4
-----------------------------------------12--15---
---------------------------------13--15-----------
-------------------------12--14-------------------
-----------------12--14---------------------------
---------12--15-----------------------------------
-12--15-------------------------------------------
  2   4   1   4   1   4   1   4   2   4   2   4
-----------------------------------------15--17---
---------------------------------15--17-----------
-------------------------14--17-------------------
-----------------14--17---------------------------
---------15--17-----------------------------------
-15--17-------------------------------------------


 

The fretboard


In a nutshell, here is what happens along the fretboard:

Am pentatonic minor
 

Location of the 1st position for each scale:

C : 8
C# : 9
D : 10
D# : 11
E : 0
F : 1
F# : 2
G : 3
G# : 4
A : 5
A# : 6
B : 7
 

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