This lesson will be about how to make and play the minor pentatonic scale. This is a really important lesson for guitar players because the minor pentatonic scale is used quite often on the guitar in all different styles of music. We will be in the key of G minor for this lesson. We have provided you with the scale diagram, tab and notation for the G minor pentatonic scale.
If you know your G minor scale, making your G minor pentatonic scale is very easy.
The G minor scale is spelled G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb, and F. The definition of a pentatonic scale is simply any scale with five notes in it. In order to make our G minor scale into a G minor pentatonic scale, we need to take two notes out. Those two notes are the 2nd and 6th notes of the G minor scale. Let’s spell the G minor scale again but leave out the 2nd and 6th note. G, Bb, C, D and F. That leaves us with a G minor pentatonic scale. If this seems a little complicated for you just focus on learning the shape of the minor pentatonic scale for now.
Now it is time to learn the most common shape for the minor pentatonic scale. Remember to keep your hands relaxed and use alternate picking throughout the entire scale. We will be playing a G minor pentatonic scale starting with a downstroke on a G note on the 3rd fret of the 6th string with the 1st finger. Now play the 6th fret of the 6th string with your 4th finger. Play the 3rd fret of the 5th string with your 1st finger and the 5th fret of the 5th string with your 3rd finger. Repeat this pattern on the 4th and 3rd strings. The last two strings have the same pattern as the very first string. Play the 3rd fret of the 2nd string with your 1st finger and the 6th fret of the 2nd string with your 4th finger. Repeat this pattern on the 1st string.
Try to be aware of the fingerings for the scale. The fingerings presented on the scale diagram are more suggestions than rules. There are a lot of great players out there that don’t use their 4th finger at all when playing this scale shape. Practice this scale going up and coming down. Don’t forget to use a metronome and start out slowly. Once you have the shape memorized and can play it cleanly and in time, increase the speed of the metronome a bit.
Make sure to keep your fingers in a good fretting position right behind the frets and your thumb behind the fretboard on the back of the neck.
Try moving this scale around all over the fretboard. Just remember that the root of the scale will be the lowest note on the 6th string. For example, if you started the scale on the 5th fret of the 6th string you would be playing an A minor pentatonic scale.
Have fun with this scale and practice it quite often. You can use this with just about any song that is in a minor key or any blues song. Every one from Metallica to B.B.King uses the minor pentatonic scale and it always sounds great.