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Guitar Scales 101

Lesson 4:
Minor Pentatonic Scales and
Minor Blues Scales

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Lesson 4 A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fingering 1


Topic 1
Topic 2
Page 1
Page 2 In lesson 2, you got an introduction to major pentatonic scales. Pentatonic scales are five-note
Page 3 scales. The major pentatonic scales consist of scale degrees 1,2,3,5, and 6 of the major scale.

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Course Contents
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Communication
Announcements Minor pentatonic scales are five-note scales that consist of 1, flat (lowered) 3, 4, 5, flat (lowered)
Class list 7. There is no scale degree 2 or 6. Notice that, as with major, these are the scale steps that are
Discussion the half steps.
Chat
Anytime you see minor (and hear minor), a lowered 3 is used. Major has a natural 3 and minor
has a lowered 3.

Let’s create an A minor pentatonic scale, starting from an A major scale.

The third of the A major scale in C#. The flat third is C natural.

Here's the A major scale. Listen and play it.

To transform the A major scale into an A minor pentatonic, we first lower the 3 and the 7, then
we use the formula for a minor pentatonic scale, and play only those notes: 1, b3, 4, 5, b7. Scale
degree 4 in an A major scale is D. The 5 is E and the lowered-7 is G natural (from G#).

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Lesson 4 A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fingering 1


Topic 1
Topic 2
Page 1
Here is the A minor pentatonic in the fifth position. The root is on the sixth string played by the
Page 2
Page 3 first finger.

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Course Contents
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Communication
Announcements Minor pentatonic scales are very useful to beginning improvisers—actually, to all improvisers. The
Class list magic of the minor pentatonic scale is that nearly any series or combinations of notes sound
Discussion musically pleasing, and that gives the improviser great flexibility.
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Lesson 4 A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fingering 1


Topic 1
Topic 2
Page 1
Page 2
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Page 4
Activity 1
Topic 3
Activity 2
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Course Contents
Syllabus Click the image to start the video.
Grades
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Communication Here is an exercise using the A minor pentatonic in the fifth position.
Announcements
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Lesson 4 A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fingering 1


Topic 1
Topic 2
Page 1
The special quality of the minor pentatonic scale is that nearly any series or combination of its
Page 2
notes sound musically pleasing when played against a variety of chords. The pentatonic scale is
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helpful for improvising, and soloing in many styles of music, including jazz, blues, and rock. The
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pentatonic scale represents a great way to get started improvising, because it is easy to hear and
Activity 1
play. When I use this pentatonic fingering in improvising, I usually do not play from the root on
Topic 3
the sixth string. I think of the root from the fourth string (played with the third finger). How you
Activity 2
use the minor pentatonic scale is up to you, the main thing is to use the scale musically.
Topic 4
Activity 3 Since we know that the root is on the sixth string, played by the first finger (or the fourth string,
Topic 5 played by the third finger), move around the fingerboard and play some more minor pentatonic
Activity 4 scales.
Activity 5
Activity 6
Minor Pentatonic Fingering 1
Activity 7
Topic 6
Course Contents
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Grades
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Communication
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Find G minor pentatonic:

Bb minor pentatonic:

C minor pentatonic:

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Note:
To sharp a note, play one fret higher than the original note. To
flat a note, play one fret lower than the original note. When a
note with a sharp is flatted, the note becomes natural. When a
natural note is flatted, the note becomes a flat. When a flat note
is flatted, the note becomes a double-flat.

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