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A minor pentatonic scale
Don’t let the word pentatonic scare you off, it just means a five note scale. You will be learning two types of pentatonic scales, one is the minor pentatonic scale and the other will be the major pentatonic scale. Our lessons will be a bit unconventional and won’t follow the instructional guide you buy at the local book or music store. Why? Because you want to learn how to play the guitar and want to learn fast. There’s a good reason why I want you to learn every position of the Am pentatonic scale. The Am pentatonic scale is a basic scale, but really the building block to playing and understanding other scales and playing lead guitar. Also, once you learn to play this scale, playing modes in the key of C major or any other key, will be that much easier. You will be learning guitar modes a bit later down the road. The illustration below, shows all of the A minor pentatonic scale notes on guitar the fret-board. I’m going to show you each position of this scale and break it up a little so it will be easier to visualize.
The first position of the pentatonic minor scale that we’ll learn, will be the A minor pentatonic scale at the root note fret. The A minor pentatonic scale, root note fret, starts at the 5th fret of the Low E string. Look at the illustration above and notice that some of the notes have been outlined. This is what I’m going to call the root note fret. The root note fret is the A note for the A minor pentatonic scale. The B note would be the root note fret for the B minor pentatonic and so on. The illustration below, shows the notes of the A minor pentatonic scale. This is also the root note fret position for the A minor pentatonic scale. The notes are A – C – D – E and G. The root note fret is the most popular position to play. Can you see why? Notice that all the notes line up in the 5th fret. Your 1 finger would never have to go out of position to play the scale in this position.
Look at the image below and notice that your one finger never has to leave the fifth fret. You can really burn up the fret-board using this particular pattern and position. Also notice, the A note is on the 5th fret, Low E string, this is the root note (A). For example, if we moved this complete fingering down 2 frets, to the B note, 7th fret, it would be called the Bm pentatonic, root note fret and you would have the same exact fingering pattern.
The Am pentatonic scale, root note fret, in my opinion, is by far the most important guitar scale to learn. You will use this scale as the building block to other scales and modes. By adding two notes to the pentatonic scale, you can play every mode in the major key. I highly recommend that you learn this pentatonic scale fingering pattern, you will be amazed how the musical doors will begin to open. For those of you who are serious and want to be part of Guitar Secrets, join now, become a Gold Level Member and I will personally answer your questions as we move through the lessons.
Look at the image below. The numbers on the image, 1 through 4, on the fret-board are not a chord, but the fingering pattern you use to play the A minor pentatonic scale at the 5th fret position.
It’s very important that you learn the fingering pattern and should have in the previous lessons. The numbers on the image above, correspond to the numbers below.
1 = Index finger2 = Middle finger3 = Ring finger4 = PinkieT = ThumbBefore you do anything else, you need to memorize the fingering pattern above. Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen and just about everyone else have used this scale in some variation or another to play lead guitar. We will be using this scale for a while to let you become familiar with the guitar fret-board and to build your foundation.Listen to this scale and become accustomed to hearing it. The scale is played from the 5th fret, A note, on the Low E string, down through the scale, to the 8th fret, high E string.
1 = Index finger
2 = Middle finger
3 = Ring finger4 = Pinkie
T = Thumb
Illustrated below, is the tablature to play the A minor pentatonic scale, at the root note fret. The numbers below, are the frets you would play on that particular string. For example, the numbers on the Low E string or Fattest string below, illustrate that you first play the note on the 5th fret, low E string. Then you play the note on the 8th fret, low E string. You play from left to right. If you need additional help, go to the tablature lesson. Listen to me use the pentatonic scale, click
on link below.
Look at the guitar fret-board below and you will notice six strings, Fat E A D G B and E. Each string has 2 numbers, 1 through 4 assigned to them. The assigned numbers, 1 through 4, are the fingers that play these highlighted notes. The 1’s are played with your index finger. The 2’s will be played with your middle finger. The 3’s are played with your ring finger. The 4’s are played with your pinkie.
You need to practice this fingering pattern over and over until you can play it smoothly and without even thinking about it. This will help build strength in your hand and at the same time train your ear to the different sounds of the scale. Just a quick secret. Did you know that once you learn the A minor pentatonic scale in the root note position 5th fret, you can move that same fingering up or down the guitar fret-board to play in different keys?
You should now know the fingering pattern for the A minor pentatonic scale root note fret, 1-4, 1-3, 1-3, 1-3, 1-4, 1-4. After all, you’ve practiced this scale over a hundred times by now and know it is the most popular position to play the Am pentatonic. This position is relatively easy to play, only because the 1 finger never has to leave the 5th fret to play all the notes in this scale.
Eventually, you will learn each of the different positions of the A minor pentatonic scale, hammer-ons, pull offs and bending.
As you learn to play these scales, you will eventually learn how to play over the chords that form these scales. Since this is the Am pentatonic scale, you can play this scale over the Am chord. You can also play it over the Am7 chord and C major and D9 chord. You can also play this scale over root 5 chords. But, in time you will want to use the scales for each chord. For example, G major pentatonic over the G chord, or maybe G Mixolydian, but that will be down the road. When you’re playing over the Am chord, you can play the notes of the Am chord (A C E) and the Am pentatonic scale.
The Am chord is made up of the notes, A, C and E. In the following guitar lessons, I have you starting on a different note in each position of the Am pentatonic scale. But, it is important to memorize the location of the A note, which is the root note for the Am pentatonic scale. In the next position of the Am pentatonic scale, we will be starting on the C note, 8th fret. So far we have covered the guitar fret-board and you should know how many strings are on the guitar. You should know the difference between the high and low E string, which one is larger and the locations. You should know how many frets are on your guitar. Now you should know that there is a scale which is called the pentatonic minor scale. The pentatonic scale has 5 notes. There are other scales which have more notes and we will be covering them soon.Assignments:
- Use theses blank fret-board illustrations to begin to fill in some of the notes of the pentatonic scale.
- Use one illustration below to fill in the notes of the Am pentatonic scale, root note fret only.
- Use one illustration below to fill in the fingers used to play the Am pentatonic scale, root note fret only.
|Three notes have been filled in for you to get started. Fill in the remainder of the notes of the Am pentatonic scale root note fret.|
|Two fingerings have been filled in to get you started. Fill in the rest of the fingerings used for the Am pentatonic scale root note fret.|
- Tune your guitar
- Once you finish this assignment, you will need to review everything covered up to this point.
- You should know or be studying all the notes of the fret board including the Sharps (#).
- You should have each finger number memorized.
- You should be doing the fingering and picking exercises everyday.
- Review the open chords chapter, just get an idea, but don’t worry yet.
- Review the tablature chapter it will be coming up soon.
- Blues rhythm and lead guitar riffs in A minor
- Review the next position of the Am pentatonic scale starting on the C note, 8th fret.
- Have any questions, drop us a line