Super Lesson...

This GUITARU.com Super Lesson is a micro course in the mechanics and application of the minor pentatonic and minor blues scales. There are 3 links containing sound files, graphics, instruction and animations equivalent to many complete books you may own or days upon days of guitar school. It doesn't matter if you learn the material in the space of a day, week or month.

Music Theory: Minor Pentatonic Scales...

In the previous lesson, we studied the flexible, poweful and forgiving Minor Pentatonic Scale, the cornerstone of modern Rock, Metal and Blues lead guitar playing. In this lesson you'll continue to learn about these all critical and essential scales by learning to play them in 5 logical and successive positions, giving you complete freedom and total neck coverage. We'll start out in the Key Of "E". Again, all music theory is based on the Major scale.

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The scale formulas for the Minor scale and Minor Pentatonic scale are a little confusing use the table below to memorize the information. If you are a hard worker, copy the formulas and spellings in your music writing book:

scale degrees
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
1
E Major Scale
E F# G# A B
C#
D#
E
scale degrees
1
2
b3
4
5
b6
b7
1
E Minor Scale
E
F#
G
A
B
C
D
E
E Minor Pentatonic Scale
E
G
A
B
D
E

Key Of E -The Rock & Blues Key...

No doubt about it, The Key Of E and Rock guitar go together love and marriage, or maybe a horse and carriage. In any event Key Of E is abosolutely and definately one of guitar playings favorite and also most interesting and exciting keys. The diagrams below show you your first line of thinking when it comes to playing E Minor Pentatonic Box Patterns.

Guided Practice......
Well known bends and soloing figures derived from the Minor Pentatonic Scale help to stylistically define Rock, Pop, Metal and Blues soloing techniques.
5 Position Pentatonics....
The diagram above shows you your 'first line of defense' thinking for the E Minor Pentatonic Scale: finding the "E" Root Note on the strings 6 and 5 and playing off of the Root 6 fingering pattern and the Root 5 fingering pattern. Of course, we dont want to limit ourselves to playing only two scale patternswhen there are 5 Minor Pentatonic Box Patterns known and used by professional and experienced guitarists. Let's take the dive right in approach and get our eyes and fingers use to 5 shapes of E Minor Pentatonic by working with the animation just below.
Play Along....
The animation at left show every note in the E Minor Pentatonic Scale. This will enable you to think of these scales just as you were taught to think of other scales: in five positions.Use the animation to practice visualizing and improvising within the 5 positions. As you begin, focus on the Root Note for each new position, playing that note with a good beat and then adding a few of the neighboring tones.While praticing, work toward the goal of memorizing the 5 patterns and creating more complex and longer improvisations.
Training Exercises For The 5 Positions....
Below are a series of ear training and visualization exercises specially designed and voiced to:
  • Get the sound of the scale in your ears.
  • Get the visual shape of the scale pattern in your mind's eye.
  • Get the physical feeling of playing scale passsages in your fingers.

Open Position, Twelfth Position...
The first exercise below shows the E Minor Pentatonic Scale in the Open Position, most players would think of this scale pattern as the first choice or "the main one" when thinking in terms Minor Pentatonic Scales. As usual, practice the exercises until you can play in perfect sync with the recordings.
Second Position...
The next logical scale pattern is often thought of as the upper extention of the first choice ("the main one" ) illustrated immediately above. The all important "E" Root Note located on string 6 is included in the diagram for your reference.
Fifth Position...
To review, the large white numbers in the scale diagrams are the ther to suggest fingerings. As pentatonic scale patterns only contain two notes per string the operative term here is suggested fingerings meaning that are number of fast and efficient ways to play the scale patterns the suggested fingering presented here is only one of those ways.
Seventh Position...
The E Minor Pentatonic Scale in the Seventh Position has its' Root Note on the fifth string. This makes it a Root Five scale shape and as such should be one of your first thoughts when thinking E Minor Pentatonic. This type of Root Five and Root Five thinking is what we call the 'first line of defense'.
Tenth Position...
The fingering pattern in the tenth position also contains the all important "E" Root Note located on string 6, one of the first things an experienced guitarist thinks of when thinking "E". Again, the play along exercises are designed and arranged to help your eyes, ears and fingers to gain control over the scale patterns -practice in time with the recordings.
Play Along The Connections... When thinking of scales, to many players, the most important note in any key is the Root Note of that key found on String Six. It simply serves as a point of orginazation and reference. In the case of the Minor Pentatonic Scale is the Root Note of the most known, main and favorite Box Pattern. In order to increase your range and mobility when soloing, think of the fingering patterns which precede and follow the "main, favorite pattern" as being the rear extention and the upper extention of the scale. Below you'll find 3 play along exercises which will give you space to work out playing ideas using the main Box pattern and its extentions.
Guided Practice......
Open this link visualization and ear training exercises studies involving transposing the 5 positions of Minor Pentatonic Scale to the Key of A.
Guided Practice......
Open this link visualization and ear training exercises studies involving transposing the 5 positions of Minor Pentatonic Scale to the Key of G.
Conclusion......

This lesson has been about firming up your grasp of the essential and extremely useful Minor Pentatonic box patterns through various ear training, play along and visualizaton exercises. As with the Major Scale and Natural Minor Scale we've studied Minor Pentatonic Scale in the 5 seccessive and interconnected positions currently in use by todays' top professionals and experienced players the world over.