Guitar Lesson – Scales Part 3: Pentatonic Scales

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F Pentatonic - Shape 3

Pentatonic Scales

Welcome, friends, back to Guitar-Muse lessons.  Today we conquer the beast that is the world renowned Pentatonic scale.  The better you are with this scale the more worth your weight in gold you will be.

We’ve got more lessons on scales and chords listed at the bottom of this article.

A pentatonic scale is described most simply as a scale that has 5 notes per octave. It is one of the most common scales and is used in a multitude of musical styles, such as Jazz, Rock, Metal, and many many more ethnic styles of music.

The name pentatonic describes what the scale consists of, pretty plainly. “Penta” means five, and “Tonic” means tones. Guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and many more use this type of scale quite extensively. Let’s dive into the video for a little more information.


Learning The Scales

As mentioned in the video the Minor Pentatonic scale includes the same notes as the Minor scale with the exception of the 2nd and 6th being removed.

The odd thing is that because these two intervals are removed makes this scale even more accessible to multiple situations.

The absence of those two intervals makes the scale a root, a Minor 3rd, Perfect 4th, Perfect 5th, and a Minor 7th.

It’s easy to come across a progression where those intervals will naturally feel at home.  For example in my demonstration the backing track is almost entirely G Minor chords.  By extension 3/5 of the scale is all arpeggiation, so there are only two intervals that can offer any kind of outside tension.

The Pentatonic Scale In Chart Form

Click any image to enlarge

F Pentatonic - Shape 1
F Pentatonic – Shape 1
F Pentatonic - Shape 2
F Pentatonic – Shape 2
F Pentatonic - Shape 3
F Pentatonic – Shape 3
F Pentatonic - Shape 4
F Pentatonic – Shape 4
E Pentatonic - Shape 5
E Pentatonic – Shape 5

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Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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