2 Pentatonic Guitar Scales

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Does the Pentatonic Guitar Scales scare you? Not to worry you already know them and don’t know it. How do I know that? Thats Easy Let Me Show You.

Watch Video First!  Before you read the rest of this article.
This little music lesson is going to blow your mind.

But who’s teaching this lesson  you ask?  Well he just happens to be one of the finest music educators of our time.  Lets find out!


The Power Of The Pentatonic Scale


Did you notice that without a word Bobby McFerrin taught everyone to play music using their voice to produce this scale and the whole audience got it right away. All he did was tap into the musical code that we all have within us and demonstrate that our brains are hard-wired for music.

For those of you who would like to know more on this subject Bobby McFerrin’s long time friend “musician-scientist” Daniel Levitin wrote a book called “This Is Your Brain on Music“. You can find it at Amazon.

If you like to read like I do then you’ll find this a fascinating read. I’m not making anything on this but rather just recommending and passing along a good book for you. Check it out!

I told you I knew something about you that you didn’t know about yourself!
Here’s what else I know.

Practice rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise. But first you need to know what to practice. So lets get hopping Skippy 🙂


First Some Basics

All guitarists use scales to play melodies, solos, riffs, and bass lines. Scales are a series of musical notes played in an ascending or descending manner on the fretboard. There are several different types of scales that a guitarist can resort to including the “major scale”, the “melodic minor”, and the “harmonic minor”, but the most common, the easiest and the simplest to finger and pick is the “pentatonic scale”.

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Major Pentatonic Scale -Shapes

A five note or five tone scale (“penta” means five and “tonic” means tone), the pentatonic scale produces two types of tonalities – a major one and a minor one, depending on how the musician decides to use it.

Basically a group of notes that sound really good together, the pentatonic scales are great for songwriting and soloing, especially blues, pop, rock and classic rock music.

The major pentatonic scale essentially just means that it is a “major five-note scale”. The minor pentatonic scales means the same, as it also is a “minor five-note scale.”

As I iterated earlier this is the simplest scale to learn. And for beginner guitarists it’s where most guitar teachers will start you off.  So in my humblest opinion you need to know and get all the information you can on how to play the pentatonic scale on your guitar. As it most certainly won’t be the only scale you learn, but will defiantly be the one you fall back on all of your career.


What They Really Are

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C Major

The major pentatonic guitar scale is similar to the major diatonic scale, just without the fourth and seventh notes. So the C major pentatonic scale will consist of the notes C, D, E, G, and A.

Usually played over major chords, the major pentatonic can be heard in rock as well as country tunes.

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C Minor

The minor pentatonic guitar scale, on the other hand, is very similar to the natural minor scale (but without the second and the sixth note). So the C minor pentatonic will consist of C, Eb, F, G and Bb.

Commonly used in rock lead guitar riffs and soloing, the minor pentatonic is usually played over chord progressions that start with a minor chord.


Pick Your Favorite Artist – Pretty Sure They Use it Too

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Lead Guitarist of Metallica

A favorite of many musicians from Kirk Hammett to Jimmy Page,  Jimi Hendrix known for his outrageous electric guitar playing is known to have used this scale more than any other.

But that’s not the only reason why you need to know how to play it. The pentatonic scale as I pointed out is made up of only five notes per octave which means that it provides a very small margin for error.

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Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin

It’s also faster to change from a higher to a lower position on the fret board or vice versa.

It works well with techniques like pull offs and hammer ons and are great for developing technique.

Therefore, they play an extremely important role in your development as a guitar player.

 

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Jimmy Hendrix

These guitar scales are a part of every beginner guitarists’ bag of tricks. So make sure that you spend some time getting them right.

Learn them well and you will be rewarded for the rest of your guitar playing days.


Wrapping This Up

If you find that this still eludes you then you should consider lessons of some kind. More than just learning them you need to know “the why, where and how”. You can find 10 Free Lessons on my Teachers Page, there also you should be able to learn the Pentatonic Guitar Scales.

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If you have a comment or can add to this discussion, you can do so in the Comments below.

Also if you believe this could help someone else, Share It on all your Social Media.

Thanks

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10 thoughts on “2 Pentatonic Guitar Scales

  1. Forrest

    Marcus,
    That video was awesome. It certainly makes it easier to understand when placed in a visual context like that. At what point would you suggest starting to practice pull offs and hammer ons?

    Reply
    1. Markus Post author

      Hey Forrest its good to see you again. Wasn’t that amazing how everyone learned the pentatonic scale so fast without a word spoken?
      I’ve come across different schools of thought, on when students should learn these techniques. But for the most part these are more for intermediate students.
      In my own trying way back when lol, I believe I had been studying for a little over one year. Then I was introduced to the very basics of these techniques.
      Just my thoughts on it anyway. Look forward to you coming back and see us Forrest until then.

      Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  2. Travis

    I dont how many times I have tried to learn the guitar. In fact when I took guitar lessons I don’t remember my teacher ever talking about this.

    I will have to get that book you recommend since my youngest is wanting to learn now. This might help us both. Thank You!

    Reply
    1. Markus Post author

      Hey Travis good to see you. I don’t know how long you had been taking lessons but you would have started to learn a scale immediately.
      However your teacher would not have told you that, because at first what your learning is the names of the notes on the open strings.
      Then the notes in the first 5 frets. In essence you would have been learning the C Major Scale in the 1st position.
      Like I said it would have been more important to learn the names of the notes first, then down the line the teacher would have told you what you were doing.
      There is a total of 5 positions on the fretboard this scale is played on, its just a little bit to much early on for new students to grasp.
      Pick up that guitar and lets get after it again, if you need some direction come on back and I will help the best I can. See you then.

      Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  3. Nate

    Hey Markus – totally true about pentatonic scales being an important piece of weaponry for any guitarist.

    I love playing the blues and the minor pentatonic of course works great with blues leads – as well as rock leads and a lot of others.

    I remember when my mate first showed me the pentatonic when we were jamming and it changed my guitaring ability forever very quickly.

    Thanks for sharing – you’re giving away a great secret here!

    Reply
    1. Markus Post author

      Nate my good man hows it going? Good to see you here again, your becoming a staple to this show here and thats a good thing for the readers here.
      Yea the minor pentatonic can surly give a blues song that sad lowly feeling it needs, if in fact the song is calling for that.
      Sshh, their not suppose to know its the secret:). That being said, new students still need to learn the Major and Minor pentatonic scale the proper way.

      I like to let new players know that when learning these techniques it always best to stick to one teacher, as it avoids them picking up bad habits with all the free stuff on Youtube.
      Free can be good but one needs to stay with that teacher till they have learned all they can and then move on. And there are some very good teachers to choose from.
      The same goes for the paid lessons (which I’m more of an advocate of) find one stay with him. In this way one don’t learn as many bad habits in my opinion.
      I have a few of them myself to this day, that haunt me from time to time.

      Well thats enough of my ranting Nate! I do appreciate you stopping in and I look forward to your next visit.

      Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  4. Mark

    What a great post. I have long wished I would have learned to play when I was younger. I am in my 50’s now, suppose it is to late?

    Reply
    1. Markus Post author

      Hello Mark, thanks I especially like sharing with everyone the video, kinda proving the point that everyone already knows the pentatonic scale.
      The tricky part comes when trying to teach one to play it.
      Its never to late to start playing guitar, without having any other ambitions like performing or recording it can be very comforting to just play at home.
      If you ever change your mind come back see me and I’ll see if I can give you some pointers.

      Thanks 🙂

      Reply

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