Guitar Lesson 11

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Using 5 positions of the pentatonic scale
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Learning guitar tablature and playing lead and rhythm guitar with the A minor pentatonic scale.

In this lesson we will work with the rhythm using the Am, F and G chords. This exercise plays 5 different positions of the Am pentatonic scale. Look at the illustration below. This is the first part of the exercise. It has been written in guitar tab. By now, you should be familiar with tablature, if not, please go back and review.

Am penatonic tablature and lead guitar

This is the beginning part of our exercise. This is played at the root note fret. I didn’t intend for this exercise to have much of a melodic sound, but just an exercise.

Look at the illustration above. The numbers at the bottom of the image represent the suggested fingering to play the first part of our exercise. I know that the sound files take a long time to load, but they do help everyone learn how to play.  Now you need to listen to the exercise, playing the complete exercise and then listen to the first part that has been separated to make learning easier. As our lessons advance, the leads will become more melodic and add some tonal quality. But for now, we have to learn what is going on with these pentatonic scales. Believe me, I would like to open up.

I would like to stick something in here before we move on. This may seem confusing, but eventually things will become clearer. The rhythm we are using for these exercises are Am, F and G chord. Now, you may have noticed that the F chord or note is no where to be found in the Am pentatonic scale. It may be a good time to tell everyone that the Am pentatonic scale has the same exact notes as the C Major pentatonic scale. The C Major pentatonic scale has the notes C, D, E, G and A. The Am pentatonic scale is developed from the Aeolian mode and the C major pentatonic is developed from the Ionian mode. Although they have the same notes, they do have different chord structures. We will learn more about the chord structure in later lessons.

The Am pentatonic scale has the notes A, C, D, E and G. Every Major scale has a relative or natural minor scale. The reason I have been explaining the Key of C major and the Am pentatonic scale is for this very reason. Once you learn the key of C Major and the modes and the Am pentatonic scale, you will be on your way to playing great guitar without even thinking about it. 

notes and chords of the key of C major

The rhythm we are using comes out of the key of C major. We are using the Am, F and G chords. Look to the left and find those chords in the outer circle. This illustration shows all of the chords of the Key of C major. Each section has the notes that make up each chord as well. The Am chord is made up of the A, C and E notes.

Am, F and G is popular progression for the Am scale.

It would be  i, bVI, bVII progression in the am scale. Am scale is:

Am, B dim, C, Dm, Em, F, G

Check out chord formulas real quick and return here.

A minor pentatonic and lead guitar

This is played starting at the 5th fret, high E string. Now listen to the complete exercise.

Learning tabluter using the A minor penatonic scale

This is the tablature for the first part. Practice this until you can play it smooth. Listen to each note being played and begin to train your ear to each sound.

Back to the rhythm, Am F and G. The key of C major has the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B and C. The chords would be C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am B dim and C. So, by knowing these notes and chords of C major you can write your song with these chords. I have chose the Am, F and G right out of the Key of C major. Since Am is the natural minor to the key of C major, playing the Am pentatonic scale over the chords of the key of C major would rock. Eventually, we will add two notes to the Am pentatonic scale. The two notes are the F and B. These are the two notes out of the key of C major omitted from the Am pentatonic scale. The pentatonic scale, is only a 5 note scale. Once those two extra notes are added, we would be playing modes. That was just a little information I thought you should think about. In the lessons a head of us, we will go into this in more detail. By the way, the last little lick on this exercise was played with the two extra notes added. Could you tell it was a little more melodic?

Assignments:

  • Practice this exercise in all the positions of Am pentatonic.

  • Use this rhythm to play lead using the Am pentatonic scale. Place your windows media playing on continuous and each time the rhythm starts, play at a different position. Start at the root note fret and just play each note.

  • Practice the open position guitar chords.

  • Practice the root 6 bar chords in every position along the Low E string.

  • Practice the root 5 bar chords along the A string.

  • Practice the Am pentatonic scale starting on the C note 8th fret and use over the rhythm.

  • Practice the hammer-ons, pull-offs and bending and use them over this rhythm.

  • Practice triplets and use them over the rhythm.

  • Listen to the original song we will be learning and building on. The chords are Am, F and G.

  • Listen to our slow song beefed up a little for the electric guitar. This is played in Am pentatonic, root note fret. The root note fret is the 5th fret for Am pentatonic.

Good Luck,

Guitar Secrets

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