Tranposing The Minor Pentatonic Scale To A

In this study you’ll be working with the sound, theory and 5 logical, succesive positions of the A Minor Pentatonic Scale. To begin with, play the animation below to memorize the names of the notes in the A Minor Pentatonic Scale and also of course, get the sound in your ears.

To firm up your grasp of Minor Pentatonic Scale theory use chart below as you copy the spellings and formulas in your music notebook.

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

As usual, we’ll take the ‘jump right in’ approach by improvising with and visualizing all the members of the A Minor Pentatonic Scale on the guitar. As the animation plays remember to construct your new skill set slowly. Start out with going immeiately to the Root Note of every new scale pattern and composing a short but melodic phrase which should contain no more than 3 or 4 notes. Try to play your creations in each new scale shape. Repeat this process until you have several long, interesting melodic ideas you can easily play in any position.

The Five Positions Of A Minor Pentatonic…

Open Position…

As with all previous scales and keys the A Minor Pentatonic scale has been illustrated and arranged into a series of play along/ ear training exercises. Treat each of the exercises as a tune or favorite song, getting the (1) sound in your head, (2) the shape and location of the scale in your minds’ eye and (3) the feeling of gliding across the scale in your fingers.

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Second Position…
The A Minor Pentatonic Scale in the second position is of particular importance because of the Root Note on string six, one of the most important and meaningful Root Notes in the modern system of guitar playing. All fingering indications are merely suggestions, the first fingwr shift below makes the scale seem fast and comfortable.

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Fifth Position…
The A Minor Pentatonic Scale played in position five represents the favorite and best known pattern for the scale in this key. The String Six Root Note is one of the guitars’ little organizers and the boxy fingering pattern make it easy to play hot licks.

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Seventh Position…
The next pattern in the systematic expanding of the A Minor Pentatonic Scale is in the Seventh Positon. Try thinking of this scale as being connected to or as being the ‘upper extention’ the previous and most favored scale shape.

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Tenth Position…
This fingering pattern is of particular importance because of the Root Note on String Five, another physical point of organization to this or any key. The suggested fingering is desigened to be easy and comfortable, even at fast tempos

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Twelfth Position…
The Twelfth Position and the Open Position are of course, the same pattern. This scale pattern is considered the Root Five A Minor Pentatonic Scale and serves as one of your ‘first line of defense’ fingering patterns. As you play and regularly this and all scale exercises, remember to play along with the recorded examples, playing in perfect unison with them.

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Expansion Exercises…

scx20st1pWhen in a soloing or riffing situation requiring A Minor Pentatonic, you’ll quite often find yourself needing to use or wanting to use the Root Six fingering pattern found in Fifth Postion. The diagram at right shows this all important Root Six fingering pattern with the addition of the notes immediately below the lowest notes and a the notes immediately above the higher notes in the main or ‘first line of defense’ pattern. Althought these notes are indeed parts of other fingering patterns its important that you learn to think of these notes as the upper and lower extentions of the Root Six fingering pattern. This type of thinking will prevent you from becoming stuck or feeling trapped in the well worn and used Root Six Minor Pentatonic box pattern that most guitar players favor and find easy to play in. This favorite status and ease of over use will undoubtedly become a rut in your playing if you don’t learn to stretch beyond the comfort zone of the fingering patterns and melodically explore other areas of the neck you may not be so comfortable in. After all, who knows whats out there? Use the play along exercises below to become comfortable with shifting between fingering patterns (changing positions) while creating melodic and tuneful A Minor Pentatonic improvisations.

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