Aug 06 2015

The Pentatonic Minor Scale

By: Frank Macri

Posted in: Guitar Scales


The Minor Pentatonic scale is one of the most commonly used scales in Rock, Blues, Country and Jazz music. The name “Pentatonic” can be defined as five tones. “Penta” means five and “tonic” refers to tone. The intervals that make up the pentatonic minor scale are:

1               b3                         4                      5                b7

Root    Minor Third    Perfect Fourth    Perfect Fifth     Minor Seventh

For example, an A Minor Pentatonic Scale would contain the following notes:

A                C                         D                      E                G

There are 5 positions that make up the pentatonic minor scale. This will allow you to play the same notes all over the fretboard without any limitations.

Position one starts on the root note  A” (root highlighted in red)


Position two starts on the second note (b3) of the scale “C


Position three starts on the third note (P4) of the scale “D


Position four starts on the fourth note (P5) of the scale “E


Position five starts on the fifth note (b7) of the scale “G

Important notes when practicing:

  • Practice the positions slowly paying particular attention to your technique. Always use your fingertips and never bar your finger at any point while practicing these positions.
  • Alternate your picking when playing through each position.
  • Memorize the positions one at a time. It’s much easier to learn each position one at a time versus running through all five positions then starting again at the top.
  • Once you have the pentatonic minor positions memorized in A, make sure to practice them in all keys so you have them at your fingertips no matter what key you’re playing in.
  • It is important to keep in mind that we are playing the same set of notes. We are just playing them at different locations on the fretboard and in different octaves.

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