I know a pentatonic scale…..

So you know a pentatonic scale, well most people know the minor pentatonic scale in one position.  You may be familiar with it.  In my life as a guitar teacher, usually when asked , students will play the minor pentatonic at either the 5th or 12th position using what I refer to as the E shape.   This seems to be the first scale shape that most people learn. It’s pretty simple, easy to remember and quite effective for straight ahead simple licks.

So what should you learn next to expand your knowledge? Well there are a variety of directions you can take, some of which I am going to outline here.

pent to nat min

We can take the shape we already know an add essentially 2 more notes.   This gives us a natural minor scale, sometimes referred to as the Aeolian scale or relative minor.  The notes that have been added are a 2nd scale degree and a b6th.  The next thing for you to do is to play this scale and get used to these new tones and how they sound in relation to the scale you were using before.

How to do that?  Get a backing track and play the scale over it, repeatedly.  You need to feel this scale as much as you have for the pentatonic.  Try playing your normal pentatonic licks and adding in these new notes.   This will take some adjusting and practising, but it is ultimately satisfying.

So once you have done this and feel comfortable about it, well guess what you have actually learnt the fingering for a major scale.  ( I snuck that one in and you didn’t even know you were learning it).

The Major scale derived from the pattern you were just playing is just a simple case of moving the root along.  Where it says b3 make that the root.  So start from the note of G for the E minor scale and C for the A minor..  Now have a listen to it.  Have a really good listen.

More to come…

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~ by Geoff Lea Guitar on September 24, 2012.

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