Whether you're playing blues, rock, country, hip hop, or jazz - the minor pentatonic scale is going to be a helpful tool for you to have at your disposal.
This is a foundational pattern that appears in many styles of music from around the world, and opens the door for learning new techniques and improving your guitar playing skills.
In minor keys, the minor pentatonic scale is going to be your best bet for improvisation most of the time - at least as a starting point.
For many styles of music, these patterns make up 80-90% of the material you need for playing solos.
Once you have your pentatonic shapes down cold, they will also give you a framework you can use to easily learn your other minor scales on top of.
The major pentatonic scales are an important building block for playing melodies and improvising solos on the guitar.
These patterns are important for all styles of music, and especially helpful when you’re learning to play jazz guitar.
These scales can be a helpful go-to source for material when you are improvising on a major blues progression, or with other progressions that stick mostly to a major key.
To get the most out of this lesson, you’ll want to know the notes along each of the guitar strings. If you’re not comfortable with that yet, click here to get started.
If you’re in a hurry to get these scales under your fingers and playable, don’t worry! I’ll include a fretboard map here to show you what you need to know.
The pentatonic scales are helpful for a couple of reasons:
The whole reason we learn scales and patterns is that they are used in songs and riffs that we hear every day.
By learning your scales and being able to use them musically, you can make it easier for you to learn riffs or melodies that you want to learn.
Let’s look at the riff from Born Of A Broken Man by Rage Against The Machine:
This is an important scale pattern for improvising and playing melodies to jazz standards.
Many melodies use the major scale in some way shape or form as a foundation.
While melodies will likely have notes that don’t fit this pattern exactly, it can serve as a template to keep yourself organized when you play.
Pentatonic scales are an essential skill for any guitar player.
They are almost always a good first bet when playing a guitar solo, and are an essential building block for becoming a complete guitar player.
This is the second part in a series of lessons on the major and minor pentatonic scales for guitar.
If you haven’t caught the lesson on 6th string pentatonic scales yet, click here.
Once you’re comfortable using your major and minor Pentatonic scales starting on the 6th string, it’s a good idea to learn a new scale pattern.
Learning the pentatonic scales on the 5th string will give you new options for playing in different keys, and because the finger pattern is different these new scale shapes will help you develop new musical ideas.
Jazz improvisation for guitar often becomes more complicated than it really needs to be.
For some students, even learning how to improvise along with a blues progression can be a difficult thing to do.
Both students and teachers dive deep into the theory aspect of soloing, and get stuck thinking about what they are going to play instead of using their ears and creating interesting melodies.
One reason for this is that traditional theory doesn’t apply to the blues in a literal way, so students have to learn the theory in traditional terms, and then learn all of the exceptions that apply to the blues.
This way, you end up having to learn, unlearn, and relearn your theory - just to play a blues solo on the blues. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this complicated.
Imagine being able to play a great sounding solo next time you’re jamming with another guitar player, or playing along with a backing track.
Believe it or not, you don’t need to study advanced improvisation techniques to get going.
You just need to learn one or two simple scales, and you’re ready to get started!
For a guitar player, pentatonic scales are an important tool you need to have at your disposal.
In almost any style of music you want to play, major and minor pentatonic scales are going to be your go-to scale pattern for improvisation and playing guitar solos.
Learning your major and minor pentatonic scales will give you the tools necessary to improvise in both major and minor keys with confidence - whether you are jamming with your friends or taking a solo in jazz band.
A solid foundation with your major and minor pentatonic scales will also make it easier for you to learn other scale forms later on - like major and natural minor scales.
In this lesson you will learn how to play the major and minor pentatonic scales starting on the 6th string. We will look at suggested finger patterns and learn the scale tone numbers for both of these scales.
You will also start to see how you can move these scale patterns around the neck, so you can improvise in any major or minor key with confidence.
Scales can be intimidating for a lot of beginners learning to play guitar.
In this beginners guitar lesson I'll show you a simple scale pattern that's easy, fun to play, and sounds good.
Scales are an important skill for anyone learning to play guitar, whether you're just starting out or you've been playing for years.
Scales are how we write and play melodies or guitar solos, help build your finger coordination, and get your left and right hands working together.
By learning to play your G major pentatonic scale, you will be able to play melodies and improvise guitar solos in the key of G, and build a foundation of technique that will let you learn other scales as time goes on.
In this lesson, we will cover 2 different directions for playing the G major pentatonic scale on the first 3 strings of your guitar:
As I was getting into jazz guitar, learning scales was an obstacle for me. I knew a couple of scale positions, but had no logical way to get from point A to point B.
After some searching, I took a lesson with a great jazz guitarist in the Seattle area.
He showed me a system of 5 scale shapes that would help me organize my lines so I didn’t have to jump around the neck so much as I played.
I practiced the patterns and exercises, and got pretty good at them. However, it was still hard for me to use them as I played songs.
I would still revert back to old habits because I didn’t really understand how to apply the scale patterns to playing songs.
Over the years, I figured it out - after lots of practice, research, and experimentation. But at the time, it left me with the question: what are these scale patterns good for anyway?
Click below to learn more.
Why should you learn your pentatonic scales?
Pentatonic scales are an important part of learning to improvise when you play jazz guitar. If you've been looking for jazz guitar lessons online, you have probably found a ton of different (and complicated looking) lessons on pentatonic scales.
Luckily if you use the right approach, you will be able to use pentatonic scales as a foundation for improvising in your jazz guitar playing. These patterns will also provide a stepping stone to easily learning other scale patterns, so be sure to put the time in to learn pentatonic scales now!
Why do people struggle with pentatonic scales?
One problem I encounter regularly with students is that they don't really understand how pentatonic scales work, or how to use them to improve their guitar playing. Even students who seem to know the fingering patterns have difficulty putting them to use when they are improvising.
The issue is that the way most people learn their pentatonic scales doesn't give them a clear way to apply them to songs, differentiate between major and minor, or play in all 12 keys. Luckily there is a simple solution that will help you learn your major and minor pentatonic scales and immediately apply them to your jazz guitar playing.
How will pentatonic scales improve your guitar playing?
No matter what style of music you want to play, it is going to be important for you to understand how to use pentatonic scales. You can find these sounds in a wide variety of music from different cultures around the world.
With a solid understanding of the pentatonic scales you will be able to use them to improvise when playing jazz guitar, and it will be easier for you to explore playing in other styles as well.
Not only are pentatonic scales an important tool for jazz guitar improvisation, the finger patterns used in your major and minor pentatonic scales will also provide you with a framework that you can build other scales and modes upon.
When you are comfortable with your pentatonic scales, it will be an easy step to start playing the major and natural minor scales.