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Guitar Scale Mastery

A Review of Guitar Scale Mastery

Learning scales for guitar over the entire fretboard is a lot easier than you think. It will also improve your lead guitar soloing and speed. This is only true if you use a method that you find interesting and easy to use.

Most methods I’ve tried present the scales on the guitar as a patterns of blocks on the neck of the guitar. You memorise one block pattern and then move up the fretboard and learn the next one.

I’ve always struggled to move up and down to different places on the fretboard using this method. It teaches you to move across the strings and you get stuck to one or two places.

So what if you do manage to memorise all the block patterns for a scale. You’ve then got to do it for all the other scales and keys. I learnt the G blues scale from a book years ago. I learnt the first two or three blocks by memory but found it boring to continue.

I’d struggle to change it to a different key. I could just about manage two blocks.

What Guitar Scale Mastery does is to show you how to learn guitar scales one string at a time, and it’s a lot faster and easier than you might think.

Once you’ve learnt where the notes of the scale are all the way up each string, those block patterns you tried to learn before just come naturally.

There’s theory in this, and again it’s set out in such an easy way that you will wonder why you struggled so much before.

There’s also a lot of practical exercises that reinforce your scale training. There’s single string, two string, and three string exercises that will have you playing guitar solos across and up and down the fretboard.

What you eventually get is a feeling for the notes in the scale and it just comes naturally to play them. Learning to play the scale in a different key then becomes so much easier. And you can then use the same techniques to learn a different scale.

What surprised me the most is the first scale you learn, E major. Now that scale has four sharps in it, F sharp, G sharp, C sharp, and D sharp. I listed those straight out of my head. Before, I would have been counting along the frets on the strings and working out the notes.

When I first started learning music theory, the book I was learning from started with the C major scale which has no sharps or flats in it. The G major scales is next which has one sharp in it, F sharp. After that you get bored and give up.

You don’t get bored and give up with Guitar Scale Mastery. It’s fun and interesting to do. It doesn’t matter how many sharps or flats are in a scale, it just becomes natural to play the right notes.

This isn’t for lazy people, it’s a long term training course that benefits you more the longer you do it. It’s recommended that you give up some time to practice each day. If you’re a keen guitar player, you’re already doing this anyway. I’ve found that even if I don’t pick up my guitar for a couple of weeks, I can still play those scales across and along the fretboard with ease. It’s like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to do it.

Guitar Scale Mastery

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Major Scales And Modes Version 3

Major Scales And Modes Software

Major Scales And ModesThis is another update to theMajor Scales And Modes For Guitar Software. This one is Version 3. It’s been completely rewritten and is more compact with a much friendlier user interface. It now also lists the chords that can be played over each key and mode. Although this is an update, you can still keep the earlier version if you like the look of that one too.

As with the previous version, I’m not going into any music theory. There’s no mention of intervals or scale degrees. This software program shows all the notes played on the guitar for all modes of the major scale.

The diagram below shows the first screen when the program has loaded. The top left corner shows the key we are in, in this case C Major. Underneath, it shows the mode C Ionian. Below this is the chords that can be played over this key and mode. For the C Ionian, the chords are C major, C major 7, C major 9, C major 11, and C major 13.

The two columns below the chords are the buttons to select the key and the mode. You select the key Ab, A, Bb, B, C, Db, D, Eb, E, F, F#, or G with the key buttons. You use the mode buttons to select Ionian mode, Dorian mode, Phrygian mode, Lydian mode, Mixolydian mode, Aeolian mode, or Locrian mode for the key you have chosen.

Right at the bottom is the quit button that exits the program.

The right hand side of the screen shows three diagrams. The top one shows all the notes for the key / mode selected up to the twenty fourth fret with the root note highlighted in red. Below that is a diagram showing a three note per string pattern with the root note on the sixth string. The last diagram at the bottom shows a three note per string pattern with the root note on the fifth string.

Major Scales And Modes

In the diagram below, I’ve clicked on the A button. Note that when you select a different key, it always starts in the Ionian mode. You can see that the notes of the A major scale are A, B, C#, D, E, F#, and G#. The chords that can be played over the A Ionian mode are A major, A major 7, A major 9, A major 11, and A major 13. There’s nothing surprising there.

A Major Scale

In the diagram below, I’ve selected the D Lydian mode of the major A scale. You still get the three diagrams showing all the notes and the three note per string patterns with the root notes on the fifth and sixth strings. This time the chords are D major, D major 7, D major 9, D major 9(#11), and D major 13(#11). As you explore the different keys and modes, you will come across some strange sounding chords but the easiest ones are always listed first.

D Lydian

Right Click the link below and select Save As to download Major Scales And Modes For Guitar to your computer. Unzip and run the file and follow the instructions to install it.

Download Major Scales And Modes

I have to thank Scott Collins for his input to the software. We seem to think along the same lines and he preferred the screen layout of this one to the previous version. “It makes it easier for the user to see everything.”

He also suggested adding the chords. “Also, are you adding in associated chord voicings for the modes?  It might help people to have triad or 7th chords to play the chords over.  I hate to offer suggestions to add extra work, but as a teacher I get questions all the time like, “So I have this Phrygian thing.  What do I do with it?”  So having some guide posts might help as well. “

“Are you thinking about incorporating Melodic or Harmonic minor in or releasing them individually?”

and

“You may want to add a 1-string scale if you add anything graphically.  The big graphics can be useful – but beginning players might find it overwhelming.  Having a 1 string option gives them something they can manage.”

I’m hoping to add the minor scales and single string patterns to later updates.

Just in case you don’t know who Scott Collins is, he is an extremely talented guitarist and prolific writer of guitar articles. My software will show you the notes that make up the scales but Scott will show you how to use them.

A car mechanic doesn’t learn how repair engines by looking at pictures of the parts. He has to know what each part does and how it works. The same goes for guitar scales. Learning a scale is of no use to you unless you know how to use it.

Scott has his own website at Guitarchitecture. Check out his articles and lessons. Definitely make sure you check out his PDF Ebooks. He has these ebooks priced ridiculously low. The ebook bundles are great value for money. If you prefer real books that you can hold, he has those too.

Scott also writes regularly for Guitar-Muse and recently did an interview with Steve Vai here:

Interview With Steve Vai – The Story Of Light

I’m hoping that Scott can write me a few lines here in the future about guitar playing and scales, all subject to his hectic workload.


There are some bugs in the program. Firstly, when you first load the software, you might see the buttons down the left hand side of the screen first and then have to wait for a few seconds before the text and images load. Once loaded, the program is quite responsive and the screen updates fairly quickly when a button is pressed.

Secondly, the menu items at the top. The only item under file that works is the Quit item and works the same as pressing the quit button at the bottom of the screen. Under the Edit menu, the About item works but has no useful purpose. The Register item will show a register screen but does nothing.

I plan to completely rewrite the program again to show the melodic and harmonic minor scales as well as the major scales. I might also add single string scale patterns.

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Major Scales And Modes Version 2

Major Scales And Modes Software For Guitar

UPDATE

There’s an updated version of this software here:

Major Scales And Modes For Guitar

Apart from being completely rewritten, the new version now shows the chords that can be played over each mode in each key.

Major Scales And Modes SoftwareI’m not going to explain any music theory here about the major scales and modes. If you need some theory, you can get that from Major Scales And Modes. I explained there the notes that make up the major scales and how the different modes work.

This software is an updated version to the one on that page. The previous version just showed all the notes on the fretboard for the major scales and the modes in every key. What that software didn’t show was any scale patterns, it was left to you to work them out for yourself.

This version splits the diagrams horizontally with the original diagram showing all the notes on the fretboard for that key and mode at the top. The lower two diagrams show two three note per string patterns for that mode. One has the root note on the sixth string, the other one has the root note on the fifth string.

You can see from the diagram below that the opening screen for this version is pretty much identical to the previous one. In fact, the only difference is for the F#/Gb major scale. Here, I’ve shown the notes as F# G# A# B C# D# E# instead of Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F.  While both are correct, F# is more common than Gb. Note that E# is the same as F and Cb the same as B.

Major Scales And Modes Software

The diagram below shows that I’ve double clicked and opened up the F major scale as before. Same as before, it shows all the notes of the F Ionian mode with the root note F highlighted in red. This time though, the lower left diagram shows a three note per string F Ionian pattern with the root note on the sixth string, and the lower right with the root note on the fifth string.

Major Scales And Modes Software

Along the top of the screen you can see the tabs for Ionian mode, Dorian mode, Phrygian mode, Lydian mode, Mixolydian mode, Aeolian mode, and Locrian mode. The diagram below shows that I’ve clicked on the Bb Lydian mode.

Major Scales And Modes Software

This is a Microsoft Windows software program and requires at least Windows 2000 to work, ie Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7. Right Click the link below and select Save As to download Major Scales And Modes For Guitar to your computer. Unzip and run the file and follow the instructions to install it. If you’re upgrading from the previous version, it will uninstall the old version before it installs the new one.

Download Major Scales And Modes Software

If you’re upgrading from the earlier version and the lower images are missing as shown below;

Major Scales And Modes

Here is the fix:

Download this file – majorscales.bkp

Open up the program, click Tools, and then Restore, as shown in the diagram below.

Follow the instructions to restore the majorscales.bkp file you just downloaded and the images should appear.

Major Scales And Modes Software

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Major Scales And Modes

What Is The Major Scale On The Guitar

UPDATE

There’s an updated version of this software here:

Major Scales And Modes For Guitar

The new version now shows two three note per string patterns for each scale and mode. One pattern has the root note on the sixth string, the other one has the root note on the fifth string.

Major Scales And Modes SoftwareI’m going to try and keep this simple and the music theory to a minimum. These are the twelve notes on the guitar over two octaves:

A A#/Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb E F F#/Gb G G#/Ab A A#/Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb E F F#/Gb G G#/Ab

The sequence of notes for a major scale is:

whole whole half whole whole whole half

Where whole is a whole tone, or two frets, or two notes, eg from C to D.

Half is a half tone, or one fret, or one note, eg from C to C#/Db.

Using this formula, the notes of the C Major scale are:

C D E F G A B C

The notes of the G Major scale are:

G A B C D E F# G

What Are The Modes Of The Major Scale

Very simply, the different modes of a major scale are the same but starting on a different note of that scale. Following are the modes of the C Major scale:

C Ionian Mode

C D E F G A B C

D Dorian Mode

D E F G A B C D

E Phrygian Mode

E F G A B C D E

F Lydian Mode

F G A B C D E F

G Mixolydian Mode

G A B C D E F G

A Aeolian Mode

A B C D E F G A

B Locrian Mode

B C D E F G A B

We’ll now do the same wth the G Major scale to reinforce this:

G Ionian Mode

G A B C D E F# G

A Dorian Mode

A B C D E F# G A

B Phrygian Mode

B C D E F# G A B

C Lydian Mode

C D E F# G A B C

D Mixolydian Mode

D E F# G A B C D

E Aeolian Mode

E F# G A B C D E

F# Locrian Mode

F# G A B C D E F#

Major Scales And Modes Software For Guitar

This software is similar to my other Guitar Scales Software except it shows the major scales and modes instead of the major and minor pentatonic and blues scales. The diagram below shows the opening screen.

Major Scales And Modes Software

This alone shows quite a few things. Firstly, you can pick a key in the first column and instantly see the notes of the major scale in that key.

E.g., the notes of the A Major scale are A B C# D E F# and G#.

Secondly, the can instantly see the starting note for any mode in any key.

E.g., B Major scale Lydian mode starts with E so the notes are E F# G# A# B C# and D#.

You can pick any mode and find the notes in that mode.

E.g., A Lydian. Go across the top to Lydian and then go down to A. We can see that this mode is in the key of E and the notes are A B C# D# E F# and G#.

Finally, you can find what scale you can play a chord over. A little theory here, a major chord uses the first, third, and fifth notes of its major scale. The C Major chord would then use the notes C E and G. If you look along each row you can see that the C chord can be used in the key of F (C Mixolydian) and G (C Lydian), apart from the obvious C Major scale.

Double click on the scale you want to look at. The diagram below shows that I’ve opened up the F Major scale.

Major Scales And Modes Software

You will find the root note F is highlighted in red. Along the top of the screen are the tabs for the seven modes. Below I’ve selected Lydian. The notes are the same but this time Bb is highlighted in red as the root note.

Major Scales And Modes Software

Unlike the previous Guitar Scales Software, I’ve not shown any boxes or patterns. This is because, with seven notes in the scale, there are a number of possible patterns. You can try out different combinations and see what works best for you. Below are two possible combinations of the F Major scale over two octaves.

F Major Scale

F Major Scale

This is a Microsoft Windows software program and requires at least Windows 2000 to work, ie Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7. Right Click the link below and select Save As to download Major Scales And Modes For Guitar to your computer. Unzip and run the file and follow the instructions to install it.

 

Download Major Scales And Modes Software

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Guitar Scales Software

Why Learn Guitar Scales?

Guitar Scales SoftwareI’ve covered this in my previous post Why Learn Guitar Scales? but I’ll quickly list the advantages again.

Practicing guitar scales improves:

  • finger strength
  • co-ordination
  • overall technique
  • playing speed
  • ability to improvise and play riffs and solos

How To Practice Guitar Scales

Again, I’ve covered how to practice scales in my Metronome post. Pick a scale you want to practice and set the metronome to a slow speed, say 60 BPM. Once you can play the scale over without any mistakes, increase the speed and do the same again.

Guitar Scales Software

This is different to my previous Ebooks;

This combines all the previous separate Ebooks into one software program. The program has diagrams showing all the notes of the major and minor pentatonic and major and minor blues scales in every key including the sharp and flat keys. It also has diagrams showing each box position for each scale including the boxes an octave lower and higher than the root position. There’s no theory involved, just easy pictures to use to practice your scales.

This is a Microsoft Windows software program and requires at least Windows 2000 to work, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7. Right Click the link below and select Save As to download the file to your computer. Unzip and run the file and follow the instructions to install it.

Download Guitar Scales Software

Once you’ve installed the software, run it and it should look like the following:

Guitar Scales Software

Click once on one of the icons on the left to select a scale; Minor Pentatonic, Major Pentatonic, Minor Blues, or Major Blues. Double click in the right hand pane to select which key you want.

Guitar Scales Software

Here, I’ve selected the C Minor Blues Scale. The first diagram shows all the notes of the scale. Clicking the tabs towards the top of the screen shows the individual boxes of the scale. In the diagram below, you can see I’ve selected the first box with the root note C at the eighth fret.

Guitar Scales Software

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Major Blues Scale Ebook

Play The Major Blues Scale In Any Key

You should now know the difference between the Minor Blues Scale and the Minor Pentatonic Scale if you’ve read the other articles on this site.

The diagram below shows the first box of the E Minor Pentatonic scale.

E Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

E Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

And this diagram shows the first box of the E Minor Blues scale with the added flat 5th notes.

E Minor Blues Scale First Box

E Minor Blues Scale First Box

As with the minor scales, the major blues scale is the same as its pentatonic version with the blue notes added. The relationship between the major and minor blues box patterns is also the same as with the major and minor pentatonic box patterns.

You can take your minor blues scale and move it three frets down towards the head of the guitar and you then have your major blues scale. The G major blues scale is the same as the E minor blues scale.

Or, take the box patterns and move them down one position so that the first note of the second box is played at the root note or first position and you have your major blues scales.

The following diagrams show the fifth, first, and second boxes of the G minor blues scale.

G Minor Blues Scale Fifth Box - One Octave Lower

G Minor Blues Scale Fifth Box – One Octave Lower

G Minor Blues Scale First Box

G Minor Blues Scale First Box

G Minor Blues Scale Second Box

G Minor Blues Scale Second Box

The following diagrams show the fifth, first, and second major blues scale box patterns on guitar fretboard for the G major blues scale. Note how it is identical to the E minor blues scale.

G Major Blues Scale Fifth Box - One Octave Lower

G Major Blues Scale Fifth Box – One Octave Lower

G Major Blues Scale First Box

G Major Blues Scale First Box

G Major Blues Scale Second Box

G Major Blues Scale Second Box

Major Blues Scales EbookI’m not going to show you how to play all the boxes in different keys. You should be able to work them out now or you can download this free ebook. There’s no music theory involved, it’s just a handy quick reference guide that shows you all the notes on each string on the fretboard for the major blues scales in every key including the sharps and flats.

This is a Windows based program, sorry Mac users, that should work on any computer that has Windows 95 or above and Internet Explorer 4 or above. Just right click the link below and select save as to download to your computer, unzip and run the file, and follow the instructions to install it on your computer.

Download Major Blues Scales Ebook

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Minor Blues Scale Ebook

Play The Minor Blues Scale In Any Key

Minor Blues Scales Ebook
I you’ve read my article Minor Blues Scale, you should know how to play the minor blues scale box patterns on guitar in the key of E. You should also be aware of the difference between the minor pentatonic scales and the blues guitar scales. Also, you already know about the blue notes, or flat 5th notes.

This free ebook is a handy quick reference guide that shows all the notes and box patterns on guitar fretboard for the minor blues scale in every key including the sharps and flats. It’s not a theory textbook but it will help you to learn the minor blues scales as long as you practice them.

If you need to put together a 12 bar blues riff or solo in a particular key, just click on the button for that key in the ebook and you will see all the notes on the fretboard and all the box patterns, including the ones one octave higher than the root notes and the box patterns below the root notes for the minor blues scale in that key.

This is a Windows based program, sorry Mac users, that should work on any computer that has Windows 95 or above and Internet Explorer 4 or above. Just right click the link below and select save as to download to your computer, unzip and run the file, and follow the instructions to install it on your computer.

 Download Minor Blues Scales Ebook

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Major Pentatonic Scale Ebook

Play The Major Pentatonic Scale In Any Key

Major Pentatonic Scales Ebook

This ebook is similar to the Minor Pentatonic Scales Ebook except it shows all the notes and all the boxes for the major pentatonic scales in every key.

Again, there’s no theory involved. There’s no talk of tones and half tones or steps and half steps.

The major pentatonic scale seems to be less commonly used or learnt than the minor pentatonics one but still has its uses to good effect, especially when the two scales are used together. Most of the rock guitar or lead guitar courses teach you the minor pentatonic scale from the start and don’t even mention the major scale.

So, if you need to put a solo or riff together in a particular key, this ebook will show you the notes and boxes. It shows all five positions, including the ones an octave above and an octave below the root note. It shows them for the sharp and flat keys as well, such as Bb, Eb, F#, etc.

This is a Windows based program, sorry Mac users, that should work on any computer that has Windows 95 or above and Internet Explorer 4 or above. Just right click the link below and select save as to download to your computer, unzip and run the file, and follow the instructions to install it on your computer.

 

Download Major Pentatonic Scales Ebook

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Minor Pentatonic Scale Ebook

Play The Minor Pentatonic Scale In Any Key

Minor Pentatonic Scales EbookYou should be able to learn the five box patterns of the minor pentatonic scale from my other articles. What you might have trouble with is memorizing all the patterns in different keys. You’ll probably learn them in a couple of the commonly used keys.

You should be able to play the first box in any key because it starts at the root note on the sixth string, and you know all the notes of the sixth string now don’t you. The second box is easy too because it starts where the first box ends. The fifth box one octave lower ends where the first box starts so that’s not too bad either.

What do you do with all the other boxes if you’re playing in an unfamiliar key? What do you do if you’ve got to put together a solo in a key like F#, Ab, Eb, or some other less common key? How do you move up and down the fretboard in a key you’re not familiar with?

This is where this free ebook comes in. It shows you all the boxes of the minor pentatonic scale in every key including the sharps and flats. It doesn’t include any theory at all. It’s just a handy reference guide. Just pick the key you want and it will show you all the boxes and notes for the minor pentatonic scale for that key.

This is a Windows based program, sorry Mac users, that should work on any computer that has Windows 95 or above and Internet Explorer 4 or above. Just right click the link below and select save as to download to your computer, unzip and run the file, and follow the instructions to install it on your computer.

Download Minor Pentatonic Scales Ebook

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Minor Blues Scale

What’s The Difference Between Blues Scales And Pentatonics Scales?

Very simply put, the difference is just one note. The blues scale has one extra note added to the pentatonic one. This extra note is the flat 5th or blue note. As with the pentatonic scales, the blues scale has both minor and major versions. The minor blues scale is probably the most commonly learnt of the two.

We’ll start off with the minor blues scale, more specifically the E Minor blues scale. Below is the first blues scale box pattern of the E Minor blues scale with the root note being the open sixth, low E, string. Compare this to the E Minor pentatonic scale.

e |------------------------------------------------0---3---|
B |----------------------------------------0---3-----------|
G |----------------------------0---2---3-------------------|
D |--------------------0---2-------------------------------|
A |--------0---1---2---------------------------------------|
E |0---3---------------------------------------------------|

And this is the fretboard diagram for the first of the blues scale box patterns:

E Minor Blues Scale First Box

E Minor Blues Scale First Box

Second box tab:

e |------------------------------------------------3---5---|
B |----------------------------------------3---5-----------|
G |----------------------------2---3---4-------------------|
D |--------------------2---5-------------------------------|
A |------------2---5---------------------------------------|
E |3---5---6-----------------------------------------------|

Second box fretboard diagram:

E Minor Blues Scale Second Box

E Minor Blues Scale Second Box

Third box tab:

e |------------------------------------------------5---6---7---|
B |----------------------------------------5---8---------------|
G |--------------------------------4---7-----------------------|
D |--------------------5---7---8-------------------------------|
A |------------5---7-------------------------------------------|
E |5---6---7---------------------------------------------------|

Third box fretboard diagram:

E Minor Blues Scale Third Box

E Minor Blues Scale Third Box

Fourth box tab:

e |---------------------------------------------------7---10---|
B |-------------------------------------8---10---11------------|
G |-----------------------------7---9--------------------------|
D |-----------------7---8---9----------------------------------|
A |--------7---10----------------------------------------------|
E |7---10------------------------------------------------------|

Fourth box fretboard diagram:

E Minor Blues Scale Fourth Box

E Minor Blues Scale Fourth Box

Fifth box tab:

e |---------------------------------------------------------10---12---|
B |------------------------------------------10---11---12-------------|
G |----------------------------------9---12---------------------------|
D |-------------------------9---12------------------------------------|
A |----------10---12---13---------------------------------------------|
E |10---12------------------------------------------------------------|

Fifth box fretboard diagram:

E Minor Blues Scale Fifth Box

E Minor Blues Scale Fifth Box

After the fifth box, it starts again at the first box one octave higher:

e |--------------------------------------------12---15---|
B |------------------------------------12---15-----------|
G |--------------------------12---14---------------------|
D |------------------12---14-----------------------------|
A |--------12---14---------------------------------------|
E |12---15-----------------------------------------------|

And here’s the fretboard diagram:

E Minor Blues Scale First Box - One Octave Higher

E Minor Blues Scale First Box – One Octave Higher

Finally, this diagram shows all the notes of the E Minor blues scale up to fret 24 on the guitar fretboard:

E Minor Blues Scale - All Notes

E Minor Blues Scale – All Notes

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Why Learn Guitar Scales?

How Learning Scales On The Guitar Can Make You A Better Guitar Player

One very basic reason is that practicing guitar scales helps to improve finger strength and co-ordination and your overall technique. Learning guitar scales will also improve your playing speed and help you to improvise and play riffs and solos. Many guitar solos you hear are formed from them.

If you just want to be a rhythm guitarist in a group playing covers of other group’s songs, you probably don’t need to bother with scales. Even if you’re the lead guitarist in the same band, you might get by without learning scales, just learn the songs from tabs.

If you know your scales, when you perform with a group of musicians, and they tell you the song is played in a particular key, you’ll know which notes to play and be able to jam along with them.

If you understand just the standard major and minor scales, you can understand how to form chords, produce melodies, and harmony parts, as well as lead parts and solos, and not hit a note that sounds out of tune. Here’s one tip, there’s no difference between the major scale and the minor scale, they just start at a different position on the neck of the guitar.

A lot of people just starting to learn guitar want to learn rock guitar. The main scale for this is the minor pentatonic scale. Again, the major pentatonic scale is exactly the same but is just played in a different position.

You will find that guitarists that haven’t learnt scales, actually play scales but just don’t realise it. They have picked them up from learning songs. If they had made the decision to learn them, their knowledge and ability would have been so much better.

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Minor Pentatonic Scale

What Are The Notes Of The Pentatonic Minor Scale

There are two types of pentatonic scales, major and minor pentatonic. The minor pentatonic scale is the most commonly learnt of the guitar scales, especially by people learning lead guitar or rock guitar and is the one covered in this lesson. Actually, the major pentatonic scales and the minor pentatonic scales are the same, they’re just played in a different place.

The scale can be played in five positions on the guitar fretboard forming five box patterns. We’ll start off with the E Minor pentatonic scale. I’m not going to go into any theory about how this scale works, I’m just going to show you the notes in it. The first pentatonic box is shown in the tab below with root note on the open low e string.

e |----------------|----------------|--------0---3---|
B |----------------|----------------|0---3-----------|
G |----------------|--------0---2---|----------------|
D |----------------|0---2-----------|----------------|
A |--------0---2---|----------------|----------------|
E |0---3-----------|----------------|----------------|

This is the fretboard diagram for the first box:

E Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

E Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

 

This tab shows the second box:

e |----------------|----------------|--------3---5---|
B |----------------|----------------|3---5-----------|
G |----------------|--------2---4---|----------------|
D |----------------|2---5-----------|----------------|
A |--------2---5---|----------------|----------------|
E |3---5-----------|----------------|----------------|

And the diagram for the second box:

E Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

E Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

 

Third box tab:

e |----------------|----------------|--------5---7---|
B |----------------|----------------|5---8-----------|
G |----------------|--------4---7---|----------------|
D |----------------|5---7-----------|----------------|
A |--------5---7---|----------------|----------------|
E |5---7-----------|----------------|----------------|

Third box diagram:

E Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

E Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

 

Fourth box tab:

e |-----------------|----------------|--------7---10---|
B |-----------------|----------------|8---10-----------|
G |-----------------|--------7---9---|-----------------|
D |-----------------|7---9-----------|-----------------|
A |--------7---10---|----------------|-----------------|
E |7---10-----------|----------------|-----------------|

Fourth box diagram:

E Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

E Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

 

Fifth Box Tab:

e |-----------------|------------------|--------10---12---|
B |-----------------|------------------|10---12-----------|
G |------------------|--------9---12---|------------------|
D |------------------|9---12-----------|------------------|
A |--------10---12---|-----------------|------------------|
E |10---12-----------|-----------------|------------------|

Fifth box diagram:

E Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

E Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

 

After the fifth box, it starts again at the first box, same notes but one octave higher:

e |------------------|------------------|--------12---15---|
B |------------------|------------------|12---15-----------|
G |------------------|--------12---14---|------------------|
D |------------------|12---14-----------|------------------|
A |--------12---14---|------------------|------------------|
E |12---15-----------|------------------|------------------|

And this is the fretboard diagram:

E Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box - One Octave Higher

E Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box – One Octave Higher

 

Finally, this diagram shows all the notes of the E Minor pentatonic scale right up to fret 24:

E Minor Pentatonic Scale - All Notes

E Minor Pentatonic Scale – All Notes

 

You should start to practice playing this scale in the different positions with a metronome. Play single notes per beat, two notes per beat, and three notes per beat. Practice going up and down the scale and increase the speed when you are ready.

I’ll show you the minor pentatonic scale in different keys in another lesson and what to do when you start in a higher key and run out of fretboard to fit all the boxes in.

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G Minor Pentatonic Scale

Minor Pentatonic Scales Part 2 – G Pentatonic Minor Scale

If you’ve practiced playing the E Minor pentatonic scale in the previous lesson, Minor Pentatonic Scale, you should be starting to get familiar with it. What I’m going to do now is very quickly show you the G Minor pentatonic scale. I’ll show you the tabs and fretboard diagrams for the five positions.

This is the first pentatonic box with the root note, G, on the third fret of the sixth string:

e |----------------|----------------|--------3---6---|
B |----------------|----------------|3---6-----------|
G |----------------|--------3---5---|----------------|
D |----------------|3---5-----------|----------------|
A |--------3---5---|----------------|----------------|
E |3---6-----------|----------------|----------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

Second box:

e |----------------|----------------|--------6---8---|
B |----------------|----------------|6---8-----------|
G |----------------|--------5---7---|----------------|
D |----------------|5---8-----------|----------------|
A |--------5---8---|----------------|----------------|
E |6---8-----------|----------------|----------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

Third box:

e |-----------------|-----------------|--------8---10---|
B |-----------------|-----------------|8---11-----------|
G |-----------------|--------7---10---|-----------------|
D |-----------------|8---10-----------|-----------------|
A |--------8---10---|-----------------|-----------------|
E |8---10-----------|-----------------|-----------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

Fourth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------10---13---|
B |------------------|------------------|11---13-----------|
G |------------------|--------10---12---|------------------|
D |------------------|10---12-----------|------------------|
A |--------10---13---|------------------|------------------|
E |10---13-----------|------------------|------------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

Fifth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------13---15---|
B |------------------|------------------|13---15-----------|
G |------------------|--------12---15---|------------------|
D |------------------|12---15-----------|------------------|
A |--------13---15---|------------------|------------------|
E |13---15-----------|------------------|------------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

After the fifth box, it repeats again from the first box an octave higher:

e |------------------|------------------|--------15---15---|
B |------------------|------------------|15---18-----------|
G |------------------|--------15---17---|------------------|
D |------------------|15---17-----------|------------------|
A |--------15---17---|------------------|------------------|
E |15---18-----------|------------------|------------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box - One Octave Higher

G Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box – One Octave Higher

If you’re wondering what happens below the first box at fret three, it repeats backwards, i.e., the fifth box one octave lower. This is what happens when you start in a higher key and run out of fretboard to fit all the patterns in:

e |----------------|----------------|--------0---3---|
B |----------------|----------------|0---3-----------|
G |----------------|--------0---2---|----------------|
D |----------------|0---2-----------|----------------|
A |--------0---2---|----------------|----------------|
E |0---3-----------|----------------|----------------|

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box - One Octave Lower

G Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box – One Octave Lower

Finally, this is the fretboard diagram for all of the notes on the guitar in the G Minor pentatonic scale:

G Minor Pentatonic Scale - All Notes

G Minor Pentatonic Scale – All Notes

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A Minor Pentatonic Scale

Minor Pentatonic Scales Part 3 – A Pentatonic Minor Scale

If you’ve been practising the E Minor and G Minor pentatonic scales from the previous lessons, you should know them quite well now. I’m not going to show you all the scales, you should be able to work them out for yourself now. What I am going to do is quickly show you the tabs and fretboard diagrams for the A Minor pentatonic scale.

This is the first pentatonic box with the root note, A, on the fifth fret of the sixth string:

e |----------------|----------------|--------5---8---|
B |----------------|----------------|5---8-----------|
G |----------------|--------5---7---|----------------|
D |----------------|5---7-----------|----------------|
A |--------5---7---|----------------|----------------|
E |5---8-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box

Second pattern:

e |-----------------|-----------------|--------8---10---|
B |-----------------|-----------------|8---10-----------|
G |-----------------|--------7---9----|-----------------|
D |-----------------|7---10-----------|-----------------|
A |--------7---10---|-----------------|-----------------|
E |8---10-----------|-----------------|-----------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Second Box

Third position:

e |------------------|------------------|--------10---12---|
B |------------------|------------------|10---13-----------|
G |------------------|---------9---12---|------------------|
D |------------------|10---12-----------|------------------|
A |--------10---12---|------------------|------------------|
E |10---12-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Third Box

Fourth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------12---15---|
B |------------------|------------------|13---15-----------|
G |------------------|--------12---14---|------------------|
D |------------------|12---14-----------|------------------|
A |--------12---15---|------------------|------------------|
E |12---15-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

Last of the five patterns, the fifth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------15---17---|
B |------------------|------------------|15---17-----------|
G |------------------|--------14---17---|------------------|
D |------------------|14---17-----------|------------------|
A |--------15---17---|------------------|------------------|
E |15---17-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

First box, one octave higher:

e |------------------|------------------|--------17---20---|
B |------------------|------------------|17---20-----------|
G |------------------|--------17---19---|------------------|
D |------------------|17---19-----------|------------------|
A |--------17---19---|------------------|------------------|
E |17---20-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box - One Octave Higher

A Minor Pentatonic Scale First Box – One Octave Higher

Fourth box, one octave lower:

e |----------------|----------------|--------0---3---|
B |----------------|----------------|1---3-----------|
G |----------------|--------0---2---|----------------|
D |----------------|0---2-----------|----------------|
A |--------0---3---|----------------|----------------|
E |0---3-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box - One Octave Lower

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box – One Octave Lower

Fifth box, one octave lower:

e |----------------|----------------|--------3---5---|
B |----------------|----------------|3---5-----------|
G |----------------|--------2---5---|----------------|
D |----------------|2---5-----------|----------------|
A |--------3---5---|----------------|----------------|
E |3---5-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box - One Octave Lower

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box – One Octave Lower

Finally, the last of the diagrams shows all of the notes on the guitar for the A Minor pentatonic scale:

A Minor Pentatonic Scale - All Notes

A Minor Pentatonic Scale – All Notes

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Major Pentatonic Scale

What’s The Difference Between Major And Minor Pentatonics Scales

Very simply put, the difference between the major pentatonic and the minor pentatonic scales is three frets. You can take the notes of your minor scale and move it down the fret board three frets towards the head of the guitar and you then have your major scale in the same key.

Or, take the minor scale three frets lower and that becomes your major scale. Eg, the G major pentatonic scale is the same as the E minor pentatonic scale.

One last method you can use to work out the notes of a major pentatonic scale is to take the second box of the minor pentatonic scale and move it to the root note and it becomes the first box of the major pentatonic scale.

It’s much easier to explain with diagrams. The diagram below shows all the notes on the fretboard for the G Major pentatonic scale. Compare this to the one for E Minor pentatonic scale and you will see that it is exactly the same.

G Major Pentatonic Scale - All Notes

G Major Pentatonic Scale – All Notes

This is the tab and diagram for the fifth position, one octave lower, of the G Major pentatonic scale. Notice that it’s the same as the first shape of the E Minor pentatonic scale. It’s also the first shape of the G Minor pentatonic scale moved down the fretboard by three frets:

e |----------------|----------------|--------0---3---|
B |----------------|----------------|0---3-----------|
G |----------------|--------0---2---|----------------|
D |----------------|0---2-----------|----------------|
A |--------0---2---|----------------|----------------|
E |0---3-----------|----------------|----------------|
G Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box - One Octave Lower

G Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box – One Octave Lower

First box pattern of the G Major pentatonic with the root note, G, on the third fret of the sixth string:

e |----------------|----------------|--------3---5---|
B |----------------|----------------|3---5-----------|
G |----------------|--------2---4---|----------------|
D |----------------|2---5-----------|----------------|
A |--------2---5---|----------------|----------------|
E |3---5-----------|----------------|----------------|
G Major Pentatonic Scale First Box

G Major Pentatonic Scale First Box

Second box of the five patterns:

e |----------------|----------------|--------5---7---|
B |----------------|----------------|5---8-----------|
G |----------------|--------4---7---|----------------|
D |----------------|5---7-----------|----------------|
A |--------5---7---|----------------|----------------|
E |5---7-----------|----------------|----------------|
G Major Pentatonic Scale Second Box

G Major Pentatonic Scale Second Box

Third box of the five positions:

e |-----------------|----------------|--------7---10---|
B |-----------------|----------------|8---10-----------|
G |-----------------|--------7---9---|-----------------|
D |-----------------|7---9-----------|-----------------|
A |--------7---10---|----------------|-----------------|
E |7---10-----------|----------------|-----------------|
G Major Pentatonic Scale Third Box

G Major Pentatonic Scale Third Box

Fourth box:

e |-----------------|------------------|--------10---12---|
B |-----------------|------------------|10---12-----------|
G |------------------|--------9---12---|------------------|
D |------------------|9---12-----------|------------------|
A |--------10---12---|-----------------|------------------|
E |10---12-----------|-----------------|------------------|
G Major Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

G Major Pentatonic Scale Fourth Box

Fifth of the five boxes:

e |------------------|------------------|--------12---15---|
B |------------------|------------------|12---15-----------|
G |------------------|--------12---14---|------------------|
D |------------------|12---14-----------|------------------|
A |--------12---14---|------------------|------------------|
E |12---15-----------|------------------|------------------|
G Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

G Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

The last of the tabs and scale diagrams shows the first box one octave higher:

e |------------------|------------------|--------15---17---|
B |------------------|------------------|15---17-----------|
G |------------------|--------14---16---|------------------|
D |------------------|14---17-----------|------------------|
A |--------14---17---|------------------|------------------|
E |15---17-----------|------------------|------------------|
G Major Pentatonic Scale First Box - One Octave Higher

G Major Pentatonic Scale First Box – One Octave Higher

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A Major Pentatonic Scale

Major Pentatonic Scales Part 2 – A Major Pentatonic Scale

If you’ve read the first article G Major Pentatonic Scale, I don’t need to explain the difference between major and minor pentatonics scales and moving the minor scale three frets down the fret board. I’m just going to quickly show you the scale diagrams and tabs for the A Major pentatonic scale.

Fifth pattern one octave lower:

e |----------------|----------------|--------2---5---|
B |----------------|----------------|2---5-----------|
G |----------------|--------2---4---|----------------|
D |----------------|2---4-----------|----------------|
A |--------2---4---|----------------|----------------|
E |2---5-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box - One Octave Lower

A Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box – One Octave Lower

First position with the root note, A, on the fifth fret of the sixth string:

e |----------------|----------------|--------5---7---|
B |----------------|----------------|5---7-----------|
G |----------------|--------4---6---|----------------|
D |----------------|4---7-----------|----------------|
A |--------4---7---|----------------|----------------|
E |5---7-----------|----------------|----------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale First Box

A Major Pentatonic Scale First Box

Second of the five positions:

e |----------------|----------------|--------7---9----|
B |----------------|----------------|7---10-----------|
G |----------------|--------6---9---|-----------------|
D |----------------|7---9-----------|-----------------|
A |--------7---9---|----------------|-----------------|
E |7---9-----------|----------------|-----------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale Second Box

A Major Pentatonic Scale Second Box

Third of the five patterns:

e |-----------------|-----------------|---------9---12---|
B |-----------------|-----------------|10---12-----------|
G |-----------------|--------9---11---|------------------|
D |-----------------|9---11-----------|------------------|
A |--------9---12---|-----------------|------------------|
E |9---12-----------|-----------------|------------------|

A Major Pentatonic Third Box

A Major Pentatonic Third Box

Fourth box:

e |------------------|------------------|--------12---14---|
B |------------------|------------------|12---14-----------|
G |------------------|--------11---14---|------------------|
D |------------------|11---14-----------|------------------|
A |--------12---14---|------------------|------------------|
E |12---14-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Major Pentatonic Fourth Box

A Major Pentatonic Fourth Box

Fifth box of the five boxes:

e |------------------|------------------|--------14---17---|
B |------------------|------------------|14---17-----------|
G |------------------|--------14---16---|------------------|
D |------------------|14---16-----------|------------------|
A |--------14---16---|------------------|------------------|
E |14---17-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

A Major Pentatonic Scale Fifth Box

First box repeated one octave higher:

e |------------------|------------------|--------17---19---|
B |------------------|------------------|17---19-----------|
G |------------------|--------16---18---|------------------|
D |------------------|16---19-----------|------------------|
A |--------16---19---|------------------|------------------|
E |17---19-----------|------------------|------------------|

A Major Pentatonic Scale First Box - One Octave Higher

A Major Pentatonic Scale First Box – One Octave Higher

Finally, the diagram showing all the notes:

A Major Pentatonic Scale - All Notes

A Major Pentatonic Scale – All Notes