Minor Pentatonic Scales


These scales are commonly known as BLUES SCALES but they are really MINOR PENTATONIC SCALES. Think of it this way; PENTA- as in pentagon, as a five sided shape. PENTATONIC as in a five note scale. This scale is taken from the minor scale and only uses the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, & 7th notes from that scale.

Minor Scale 1 T 2 s 3 T 4 T 5 s 6 T 7 T 8
Minor Pentatonic Scale 1 T 1/2 3 T 4 T 5 T 1/2 7 T 8


Out of the 3 types of scales you will learn (Major, Minor & Pentatonic) the most important for soloing is the pentatonic, then the minor & major. You can easily play up and down the 1st pentatonic scale over the correct chord structure and it will sound like a simple solo. Most solos will use the 1st scale, but practice all 5 to the same level if you want to be competent with improvising.

The following lessons show the 5 minor pentatonic shapes you have to be familiar with. You will also learn the "Major Pentatonic Scales". These are the same shapes, the only difference is the root notes (represented by the black notes in each scale).

5 Pentatonic Scale Shapes


You can start the scale from any fret you like. I recommend using the starting points below because the pentatonic scales span over 12 frets. For example; if you play an A pentatonic scale starting from the 5th fret it will get difficult to place your fingers on the fretboard as you move further up the neck as some acoustic or nylon string guitars are not cutaway.

Recommended starting positions for the pentatonic scales on your guitar.

ELECTRIC GUITARS: (cutaway) All patterns will start from these positions if you play this scale in the key of A (5th Fret). ACOUSTIC GUITARS: (non cutaway) All patterns will start from these positions if you play this scale in the key of F (1st Fret).
1st Pattern 5th Fret 1st Pattern 1st Fret
2nd Pattern 8th Fret 2nd Pattern 4th Fret
3rd Pattern 10th Fret 3rd Pattern 6th Fret
4th Pattern 12th Fret 4th Pattern 8th Fret
5th Pattern 15th Fret 5th Pattern 11th Fret