Pentatonic Scale Guitar Patterns

The pentatonic scale is the most important scale to learn on the guitar, and thankfully, the pentatonic scale guitar patterns are also the easiest patterns to learn, because they have the fewest notes!

The pentatonic scale on guitar is also the most versatile scale you’re going to find, because as long as you’re in the right key, it contains no notes that will conflict with any of the chords in the song. This means, essentially, that the pentatonic minor scale is bulletproof. As long as you stay within the pentatonic scale pattern, you can’t play a wrong note. This feature makes it the best scale for beginners to learn, and also makes it endeared by professional musicians.

In a moment we’ll talk about the exact scale pattern that you use to play the pentatonic scale on guitar; however before going there I’d like to invite you to enter your name and email address below, as I’ve got a whole series of guitar lessons (videos) where I’ll teach you not only the pentatonic scale, but a whole bunch of cool things you can do with it.

You’ll learn:

  • The pentatonic scale patterns
  • How to solo in with the pentatonic scale
  • Blues riffs and licks
  • Basic guitar theory to improve your jamming skills
  • And much more…

Simply enter your name and email, and we’ll get started right away!

Alright, I hope you signed up, the lessons are a lot of fun! Now grab your guitar, and let’s go through the pentatonic scale guitar pattern.

Pentatonic Scale for Guitar

Pentatonic Scale GuitarE|—————————–5–7

To play this tab, you can start anyplace you want; however if you want to play the scale through sequentially, start either at the top or the bottom. Now work on this pattern, the next step is to learn some pentatonic licks that come directly out of this scale pattern! If you want to learn more licks, hop on my email list; I’ve got quite a few to teach you!

Improvisation: Feeling Your Way Through the Pentatonic Scales

My first instrument was reed fife, a five holed, side-blown flute. It only played a pentatonic scale, but it had amazing flexibility and it allowed me to do something that I had never done before: speak without words. It was at a Dickensian themed Christmas fair in the city where my grandparents lived. The pipe was made and sold to me by an old head who to me, at the tender age of 8, looked very much like some great sage from one of my beloved fantasies.

He showed me how to find my pulse then told me to play to that, just make sound. I went home and improvised until my eyelids fell from exhaustion and so came to know the musician’s high.

Music is like a language, only even more abstract and visceral. Sounds can provoke very raw emotion in people, as exhibited by different behaviors at different sorts of concerts. These musical sounds are also an excellent way to channel the emotions you experience for which you might not be able to find words, or for which words would be burdensome and weigh down the feeling.

And since you can’t really hit a sour note in a five note scale, there is no better way to test your voice and start improvising than by learning a few pentatonic scale positions on your guitar. At the bottom of the article I’ve put a few positions of the A minor pentatonic. If you don’t feel minor today, find a major pentatonic, they’re all over the web. Run through it until your fingers know it, then clear your head and let the instrument talk. Let the sounds flow up from your gut like in an automatic writing exercise and the tonal gravity will bring you back home when it’s time. You will find that the less you try to find ideas, the more the ideas will find you.



B|————————– 10—13

These are the first three positions of the minor pentatonic scale. The emphasized notes are the tonic note of A. You can see the points where the positions overlap, so after you’ve gotten these down can try creating runs that incorporate all of them with smooth transitions.

Pentatonic Tonic – Lead Blues Licks in 5 Minutes or Less

Everyone wants to play guitar for different reasons and of course has their own ideas about what sorts of sounds they want to make. When I first started playing all I wanted to do was improvise melodic lines, I wanted to make the guitar talk to me. I don’t think I am at all alone in loving the sound of searing lead guitar and the magic of improvisation, and a lot of beginning guitarists are probably dying to play their own leads.

It’s actually really easy to start playing basic leads if you learn a few positions for a pentatonic scale known collectively as ‘the blues boxes’. These are the foundation on which most blues guitar riffs are built, and those of rock guitar as well.

The cool thing about the blues boxes is the very high return on time invested in study. Like any other scale you can learn only one position and then repeat it anywhere on the fret board to play it a different key, but because the scales are pentatonic, the patterns are much simpler and easier to remember and (this is the big one) there are no dissonant intervals. What that last bit means is that no matter what note your finger hits, it’s going to sound okay. This is too cool for words.

It’s like the pentatonic scale has a superpower… you can’t play a wrong note.

Here is one position in A:


After you have gotten down one or two of the positions you can solo away to your favorite songs, and no matter how clumsy you are at first (and don’t worry, time will fix that) you’ll still sound pretty good. And there is no artificial high that even comes close to the feeling of melodic improvisation, it’s a way of letting off some steam, saying something words cannot, and hearing those sounds come out of your own guitar will be like a shot in the arm for your will to study.


Pentatonic Improvisation with the Greats

Guitar has come to be known as the lead instrument of modern music, leaving the rest of the band tragically overlooked, but so it goes.  Great lead guitarists are some of our most celebrated cultural heroes, players like Jerry Garcia, Eric Clapton, and Eddie Van Halen (to list a few of the well known older guys) are iconic and probably more recognizable to most people than a lot of other important historical figures.  So how do they make their instruments talk like they do?  How do players like Jerry and Clapton say so much with so little flash and speed? (both of them can move plenty fast, listen to Cream or the Dead in the 60s) Pentatonic scales are the best place for a beginning guitar player to find their improvisational footing, mainly because they are so hard to foul up and so easy to remember.

Language is an abstract thing.  Sounds make up words, which represent physical things or ideas.  These abstractions can cause powerful emotional reactions, we learn this as kids when we start to tease and call people nasty names (and more tangibly when we ourselves are called nasty names), or even just shouting for our parents’ attention.  We also learn the cathartic value of a good swear word.  The stubbed toe seems to hurt less with a good “darn it!” (keeping it in kid speak, adults have a much broader palette of colorful vulgarities).

Music is the same way, except the meanings attached are very primal.  Think about Bach’s Toccata Fugue of great fame: it’s been intimidating people for centuries with its dark grandiosity.  Never a word to it, but it has said things to people.

The legendary Captain Beefheart told one of his guitarists to think of his guitar as a conjuring stick, a conduit through which he would channel the spirit world, not something he commanded and played.  Charlie Parker (not a guitarist, but he makes a good point here) said you need to “learn all the changes, then forget them”.  You don’t thumb through a mental dictionary and grammar book while constructing a sentence, you simply have the thought then speak.

Study your pentatonic positions and play them until you can find them blindfolded and drunk (don’t worry if you’re not fast yet), then put on a record or a jam track and do some conjuring, just don’t think about it too much.  Like a Zen archer, just let the music make itself and you’ll be amazed at what comes out of your axe.  The quick success with pentatonic scales will inspire you to expand your vocabulary further and see what else you have to say.

Pentatonic Ninja – Japanese Pentatonic Scales

Pentatonic scales are significant in almost every musical tradition, but in some they play a more central role than others.  No clearer example of this springs to mind than Japanese music, which is based on pentatonic scales with just a few auxiliary tones.

Traditional Japanese music uses basically two types of scales.  Both are essentially pentatonic but one makes uses of auxiliary notes while the other confines itself to five.  The first has three modes used interchangeably, the second is relegated to sacred music and has male mode: ryu, and a female mode: ritsu.  And they have attached to each of the five tones, five elemental natures: fire, metal, wood, water, and earth.

These scales sound exotic to western ears and are interesting anyway, but the fact that they work so well  when played with western motifs makes them really exciting territory for adventurous players.  Adding the occasional riff in a Japanese scale can really add a whole new dimension to a solo.

These scales are fairly easy to remember as the patterns they make on the fret board are always the same, just in different combinations.  Here are two different Japanese scales from the same position, both with A as the root note:

E| —–5-7-8

These scales are also very similar to pentatonic scales used in Indonesia and other parts of Asia, making them very versatile if applied well.  Once you get the scale down, just playing straight through a couple of times is bound to jumpstart your creative mind; there are so many really cool ways to sneak in this sort of sound, and it definitely makes a welcome break to the same old blues riffs.

Pentatonic Scales: What are they, and why should I care?

Pentatonic scales are common throughout most musical styles from all around the world, showing up all of the world in tunes as disparate as the Japanese national anthem, ‘Skye Boat Song’ from Scotland, and ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, which needs no introduction.  For a guitarist of any level a strong command of the pentatonic scales is essential, and they are particularly useful when you’re ready to start soloing.

A pentatonic scale is basically a scale composed of 5 notes instead of 7, pretty simple.  There are two kinds of pentatonic scale: with semi tones (hemitonic) and without semi tones (anhemitonic).  A semi tone is a half step from a whole tone, moving up one fret on the fret board.  So in an anhemitonic scale no two notes would be side by side on the fret board.

One aspect of anhemitonic pentatonic scales that should be of particular interest to the budding musician is that all of the notes in such a scale are complimentary.  No matter how you play them, individually or put them together, they will not clash. Because of this close relationship, the same scale can be played in accompaniment to any chord within that key without sounding out of place. Basically with an understanding of some pentatonic scales you can start jamming along with your favorite tunes pretty quickly.

Pentatonic scales that are hemitonic are also very common.  The pentatonic blues scale is made “blue” by flatting the 3rd and 5th notes, they are known as ‘the blue notes’.  This flatted fifth is the backbone of a great deal of blues, jazz, and rock guitar improvisation.

Many Japanese scales are also hemitonic, which gives them that particularly haunting quality that always tickles the ears.

Pick a few cool sounding pentatonic scales and practice until you can run through them while working on your taxes.  You’ll open a whole new set of paints to color your music with.

You Can Learn To Read Guitar Sheet Music

You Can Learn To Read Guitar Sheet Music

When you learn to read guitar sheet music it will be vital in expanding your guitar playing skills. Playing by ear will only get you so far and I am here to help take it to the next step. I will show you some basic tips and tricks to help you learn to read guitar sheet music and hopefully that will make you a better and more versatile guitar player.

I will now give you a list that will show you it is not hard to learn to read guitar sheet music.

Finding the right material
learn to read guitar sheet music

Most guitar books will have some basic sheet music and songs in the front pages that are designed to help you learn to read guitar sheet music quickly. Once you have basic guitar knowledge it is relatively easy to learn to read guitar sheet music. Start in small sections, one chord at a time. Use your guitar and play the chord out loud until you know it sounds correct.

Setting your self up

You will need to be in a small quite room where you will not be distracted by anything when you learn to read guitar sheet music. The only way to know when you get it right is if it sounds right and it can be difficult do that if you have screaming kids in the room with you or loud street noise outside. Concentration is key and this will make it easier to learn how to read guitar sheet music. If you are distracted you may find a whole day can be wasted trying to focus.

Getting started

Remember what I said, be free from distraction! I cannot stress that enough. Now you’re alone and it’s quiet, find a music book with sheet music, try to pick something easy but also try to pick something you are familiar with. It makes it much easier to learn to read guitar sheet music if you are familiar with the tune. Make sure you are confident with one piece before you move on to the next.

Continue practicing

Continue to practice as much as you can, you will find that the better you get the more you will practice. When you enjoy something you will generally apply more time to it. Trying to learn to read guitar sheet music is easy as long as you practice! Once you have mastered reading sheet music then you can attempt to write you own music and that is where the real fun begins! It is essential to make sure you are confident or you will only have to go back and learn to read guitar sheet music all over again.

To Learn Guitar, You Must Love To Practice

To Learn Guitar, You Must Love To Practice

There are few people in the world that can pick up a skill immediately and become a master without taking the time to practice. We generally consider these people to be geniuses or prodigies. For the rest of us, mastering a new skill takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. It also takes a lot of dedication because sometimes the time lag between starting and becoming proficient can seem entirely too long.

When it comes to learning how to play a musical instrument, practice is unbelievably vital. There is very little chance that the first time you pick up a cello or sit at a piano that you will be able to make a sound that even resembles music. But with a little time and effort, and the right instruction, you soon find that your practicing has paid off. This is true whether you play a classical instrument or want to learn guitar.

learn guitar

There is an old adage in the music community that you play the way that you practice. Essentially, this truism means that if you are lazy and sloppy when you practice then you will look lazy and sloppy when you perform. Regardless of what instrument you are trying to master, you need to practice effectively and actively. That is why practicing while you try to learn guitar is vital to your progress.

Of course there is much more to successful practicing than just sitting with your instrument and playing. In order to practice effectively you must sit down with a plan and have a structure to your session. Practicing should be goal oriented and lesson specific. Without a solid practice structure you will not be able to efficiently make progress. In fact, the benefits of practicing have nothing to do with the quantity of time and everything to do with the quality of planning.

Another key component to effective practicing is having the desire to play. If you are dreading your practice time, then it would be a good idea to re-evaluate your strategy. You will likely find that the program from which you are learning is not capturing your attention well enough, or that your practice strategy is lacking the excitement you need. Instead of allowing your motivation to lag, you should reevaluate and try to learn guitar through a new and more dynamic program.

If you are looking for more information on how to practice smarter rather than harder then check out the book The Art of Practicing. This instructional manual provides in-depth information and a step by step guide to the ultimate practice strategy. There is simply no better way to learn guitar. This learning system, as well as a selection of great essential tools, are available at

You Can Learn To Play Music On Guitar

When you learn to play music on guitar it is one of the most rewarding things you can learn. It can be used at a variety of occasions and can also be used to make money when you become experienced. I will try to show you some simple steps to learn to play music on guitar, but it requires a lot of patience and even more practice.

learn to play music on guitarYou have to remember there is no easy way out you have to practice or you won’t perfect the things you have learned. Try not to get frustrated if it does not come to you straight away because it will develop over time.

Reference Material

There is a wide range of reference materials available in book and video form. These are all available on the internet. Classes are also a great way to learn to play music on guitar. In the first few pages of most guitar books there is always a short riff, and easy song’s try. Start with them and practice those for a while until you are confident enough to continue.


When it comes to buying a guitar go to a music shop and pick them up and hold them try to choose one that feels comfortable and if you still can’t decide talk to the shop assistant and see if they have any tips and tricks for picking the right guitar. Don’t be fooled by the price tag most of the cheap guitars are fine to begin with. When you first learn to play music on guitar you will not need a fancy guitar as most of the features will go unused and will only get in the way. However as you improve you may want to upgrade in small stages to suit your level of experience.

Classes and community lessons

There is a wide range of classes to learn to play music on guitar. Some classes are free or require a small donation. However most have a fee attached to cover the costs of teachers and equipment. When you participate in a free class, these are generally just as good as a paid class. All classes will help you with basics when you are learning to play guitar. The best thing about classes is the hands on approach to learning; there is nothing better than having someone give you first hand knowledge on how to do something.

Practice makes perfect

There is no such thing as too much practice when you decide to learn to play music on guitar, but you need to spread that practice out. Don’t burn yourself out to the point where you stop enjoying playing. Always remember that it’s about having fun and the second it stops becoming fun don’t do it anymore. There is no point pushing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.

Always remember that when you learn to play music o guitar it’s not just for you it’s for everyone one else to enjoy as well so don’t be afraid to share your new talent with your friends and family.