Blues Guitar Lesson: the Minor Pentatonic Scale

Published: 02nd July 2010
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Minor Pentatonic Scale

In this blues guitar lesson we'll be looking at the most popular guitar scale in blues and rock music, the minor pentatonic guitar scale. It is comprised of five notes ("penta" is Latin for five) and can be played in five different forms. While we will not be learning all five forms of the minor pentatonic scale in this blues guitar lesson, we will investigate position 1, the most common.

For you music theorists, the notes of the minor pentatonic scale are root, b3, #4, 5 and b7. For instance, if you were soloing over an e chord using the minor pentatonic the notes would be E, G, A, B and D. Now I know that sounds simple but these five notes and the nearly infinite ways of combining them account for some of the most remarkable blues and rock guitar solos in history.

"Crossroads" is a great example and much of the guitar solos in the Eagles' "Hotel California" are in the minor pentatonic. As is most of the guitar work by such legendary bands as The Allman Brothers, Credence Clearwater Revival, the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

This blues guitar lesson should whet your appetite for learning the minor pentatonic guitar scale. But I've been holding back and I know it; just trying to build the anticipation, I guess. And as I realize most of you are visual learners, I will now present a graphic of the minor pentatonic:








Anchor point

"But wait!" you say. "You said the minor pentatonic was only 5 notes and you've diagramed 10!"

That is both observant and true. But beginning with the note on the third fret of the forth (D) string the notes begin to repeat themselves.

You may begin using this scale to solo over a specific key simply by anchoring it on the fret on the sixth string that corresponds to the key you'll be playing in. For example; if the song is in the key of A you would anchor on the fifth fret; the key of G on the third, and so on.

This blues guitar lesson should get you really amped up to learn more about soloing over the minor pentatonic scale. Look for more blues guitar lessons to delve deeper into this iconic set of notes at Electric Guitar Lessons .Com.

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