Pentatonic scale tricks

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by rudarb, May 11, 2009.

  1. rudarb

    rudarb Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I am use to playing the minor pentatonic in A, and I always use to use those same positions no matter where I was on the neck. I was looking at scales recently and realized that when you go up the neck the scale positions change. This is all really confusing to me, I was never one for theory, I just love to play. Im trying to memorize most of the minor pentatonic positions, but is there an easier way?!
     
  2. Jason

    Jason Senior Member

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    I think the whole point of learning scales/modes is so that you can eventually break out of them, if that makes any sense. So, learning all the scales/theory that you can is one way of opening yourself up and really being able to improvise... Or you could just spend your time using your ears, piddling around with what sounds good and finding your own lines. Only difference is you won't have a technical name for what it is you're playing.... you'll just be playing.
     
  3. fatb0t

    fatb0t Senior Member

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    You should learn the five minor pentatonic boxes. the only way to learn it is to memorize it.
    I learn new scales by taking a metronome and practicing different guitar techniques while learning the new scale. I will alternate pick the scale, play the scale using legato technique, play the scale two notes per string, three notes per string, tapping ect... This way you learn the shapes while honing your skills.

    Learn arpeggios as well.
     
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  4. rudarb

    rudarb Senior Member

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    Okay, this will sound stupid, what are the five minor pentatonic boxes?
     
  5. diceman

    diceman V.I.P. Member

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    It is that same scale, only moved "as a box" up and down the neck.

    If you're playing the A pentatonic (5-8-5-7-5-7-5-7-5-8-5-8) you can play the box below it at (3-5-3-5-2-5-2-5-3-5-3-5).
     
  6. jerryo

    jerryo Senior Member

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  7. rudarb

    rudarb Senior Member

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    Ha, ha, kind of confused, can you explain it better, sorry.
     
  8. River

    River Senior Member

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    These should help. The red dots indicate the root of the scale (Do in Do, Re, Mi...).

    [​IMG]

    In the key of A, Pattern 1 red dots on strings 1 and 6 are at the fifth fret. That Pattern does NOT change when you move up the neck. For instance in the key of C, same pattern but the red dots on 1 and 6 are on the eighth fret, etc.
     
  9. hamp

    hamp Member

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    does the 4th fret of pattern 5 also relate to the 1st fret of pattern 1? Umm, if we are in Amaj then pattern 5 1st fret will actually be the second fret on the neck, right?
     
  10. hamp

    hamp Member

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    Well, in the key of A anyway.
     
  11. cpo

    cpo Senior Member

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    Yes and Yes - if you are looking for the pattern of A MINOR pentatonic. The patterns interlock, so pattern 1 connects to pattern 2 which connects to pattern 3 then 4 then 5 and THEN back to 1...and so on.

    By connect, I mean that they share common notes. So if you look at frets 3 and 4 from pattern one, then look at frets 1 and 2 from pattern two, they are the same. It's those common notes that tie the two patterns together. And that is the same reason 5 connects with 1 again...that last fret of notes is the same as the first fret of notes on pattern 1.

    Although the most examples discuss the MINOR Pentatonic scale, there is a relationship between the major and minor pentatonic scales (by relative position). So when you state Amaj, that is a little different layout than would be for Amin...it starts to get muddy...so make sure you understand the minor patterns first.

    This is a good example of the connecting patterns (or positions or boxes). It's in G.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. cpo

    cpo Senior Member

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    I should add that if you wanted to play just one pattern type, as you sound like you do now, you can move that up and down the fretboard to play the minor pentatonic scale in different keys.

    With knowing all the patterns, and how they interlock, you open yourself up to being able to cover the entire fretboard - while still playing in the same key.

    Right now, if you just play one position (or pattern) in A minor pentatonic...you are basically limited to a span of about 4-5 frets, and going up and down the strings. If you shift right or left with the same pattern, you just changed keys. So if you know position 1 (which is the first I learned) and you play that at fret 5 (string 6), you've got A Minor Pentatonic. If you play that at the 7th fret, your now playing in B minor. Make sense?

    But, if you can interlock patterns, you can start at the 5th fret, move over to the 8th fret, then jump over to the 10th, then the 12th...playing the respective pattern for that position...and never once leave the key of A minor. So you have a lot more options and can span several octaves without just repeating the same pattern at 5 and again at 17.

    Hopefully that didn't confuse you more! :)
     
  13. Big John

    Big John tastes like chicken V.I.P. Member

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    Add chord visualization to your tool bag. In this approach, you mentally 'see' the chord on the neck, and then let the fingers do their thing. If you don't know any moveable chords, nevermind.
     
  14. hamp

    hamp Member

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    thanks, good info
     
  15. st.bede

    st.bede V.I.P. Member

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    no easy way.....(is the dark side of the force stronger?...no, faster, easier, more seductive...but beware for once you venture down the dark side forever will your destiny be entwined with it...or something like that)

    one of my jazz teachers, said that he used the pentatonics to play out and it worked the best for him...I agree, those scales can be utilized in a manifold of ways...ie: your time will not be wasted practicing pentatonics

    there are a number of different ways to see the fretboard as a whole....I suggest both chord "orbits" and the modes. Both work in different ways but achieve similar results (throw in some arps and you have it made)
     
  16. rudarb

    rudarb Senior Member

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    Great tips, thanks guys!
     
  17. djlogan33

    djlogan33 Senior Member

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    =============================================
    The five minor pentatonic shapes/boxes, stay the same shape in all keys as they move up or down the neck.
    I personally use only three of the five (1, 3 and 5).
    With those three, because the five shapes overlap each other, I am playing all the notes in all five shapes.

    See the attached pictures that I made for myself, when I was learning the minor pentatonic scales.

    The 1st picture shows the A-minor Pentatonic scale and how each box overlaps the another and repeat on the neck.

    The 2nd picture shows the A-minor pentatonic scale again showing the three shapes/boxes that I use.
    It shows that the 1st & 5th boxes two places on the neck and the 3rd box one place on the neck.
    In the key of A-minor, I can play five different places/ shapes on the neck.
    The last neck on the 2nd sheet, shows the 2-3 scale in A-minor that uses pieces of all the boxes.

    Once you learn the shapes/boxes and their relationship to each other, you can play these shapes/boxes, up and down the neck in all keys.
    You can play pieces of each shape/box, improvise and make up your own licks.
    This is what I enjoy the most.

    I have watched and listened to many famous guitarist and some of their best leads are played differently every time they play them, because they are mixing up pentatonic scale (improvising).

    I have more detail pictures that I have made of these shapes in a single key.

    Let me know if you would like to see them.:D
     

    Attached Files:

  18. SaM HiLL

    SaM HiLL Junior Member

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    Once you learn all of the boxed scale positions and the various fingerings in a particular key, learn to play the scale on each string from the nut to the last fret. Stop on each note and identify which boxed position(s) are within reach, and you will soon begin to break out of the "playing the boxes" habit so many guitarist fall into.

    Playing linearly like this also adds depth and dimension to your playing you can't get any other way.
     
  19. refin

    refin V.I.P. Member

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    I like adding the b5------6th fret of A string,8th fret of G string,or the same on the 4th fret of the B string.If I use the latter,I don't use the 8th fret of the B,because I'm playing in the other direction.


    -------------------------------------------------------5---8----------
    ------------------------------------------4---5---8-------------------
    ------------------------------5---7---8-------------------------------
    ---------------------5---7--------------------------------------------
    --------5---6---7-----------------------------------------------------
    5---8-----------------------------------------------------------------
     
  20. SaM HiLL

    SaM HiLL Junior Member

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    I would also like to add that once you learn all 5 patterns for the minor pentatonic, you have also learned the patterns for the relative major pentatonic scales. They are exactly the same starting three frets lower.

    For example, if you are playing the boxed pattern in the key of A at the fifth fret, just slide that whole pattern down three frets and you are playing the major pentatonic in A. The root note is still on the sixth string fifth fret, you're just playing it with your pinky now (at least you should be). The F# note under your index finger is just an octave lower than the 5th scale degree and quite useful as a lead in note.

    The notes you can bend vary somewhat and there are other differences I won't go into, but many of the same licks you play in the minor pentatonic will work in the major pentatonic, but they sound different because while it is the same pattern, it isn't the same notes. You get a lot of bang for your buck utilizing this.

    Now here's what's cool..if you slide up to the next position of the major pentatonic, you land smack dab in the middle of the minor pentatonic based at the fifth fret. This a staple of all of the great pentatonic players from B.B. to Page to Clapton. It's like having chocolate and vanilla swirled ice cream, and if it doesn't instantly add more flavor to your playing, I'll kiss your...well, maybe not that, but if it doesn't, perhaps you should consider taking up another hobby. ;oP
     

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