Friday, July 30, 2010

Guitar Pentatonic Scales Add Spice to Your Playing

You've heard these scales all your life. Whether it's in rock, blues or jazz, country or folk music. The famous guitar solo in "Stairway to Heaven" is constructed from the "A minor" pentatonic scale. If you've ever heard Japanese or Chinese folk music, it comes from pentatonic scales. Although in truth, music doesn't come from "scales". Click here to learn more about scales and where they come from. Only if you're interested...otherwise, stay here and play your guitar :-)

Why the complicated name guitar pentatonic scales?

It's actually simple. The "penta" just means in a pentagram has 5 sides. The "tonic" is another way to say "tones". So, it's a 5 tone scale. There are actually many 5 tone scales we could use in music. In this lesson, we stick with the important basics...major and minor. More importantly, these are guitar pentatonic scales which means you'll be able to use them with the basic guitar chords you already know.

The E Minor Pentatonic traditionally the first pentatonic scale that guitarists learn. It's the easiest to finger, and it directly relates to the guitar chords you already know. It just so happens to be the same group of notes that make up a G major pentatonic scale. How can that be? You'll need to memorize the guitar scale charts and study the free guitar lesson video below. Then practice the exercises I give you. If you do that, your questions will be answered...if you're paying attention :-)

Important Tips:
The guitar scale diagrams above read exactly like the guitar neck you know and love ;-) The horizontal line at the bottom of the image represents your low E string. The empty circles behind the nut mean to play an open string. If you still find this confusing after watching the video, I recommend clicking on to the "Beginners" button at the top of this page to the left. There are some excellent free beginner guitar lessons listed there to get you started on the right foot ;-)

Still with me? OK...

How to Practice these Guitar Pentatonic Scales

Start by watching the online guitar lessons video. Watch it again ;-)

Look at the charts above. Then click here to get your free printable guitar fretboard sheets and print some out. If you're out of ink, get a ruler and make your own.

Copy directly off the charts above if need be. Draw the guitar pentatonic scale shapes onto the paper. This helps you to memorize them 10x faster. Trust me...if you're tempted to skip this step, you'll be shortchanging yourself.

Now play them on your guitar getting the best sound you can. Remember to take it slowly. Take the time to get it right.

Do this every day for 5 days. It'll take you 15-20 minutes.

Congratulations. You've "graduated" to a new level. Good work :-)

What Do You Do Now?

Great question! Now you're ready to start using these guitar pentatonic scales to make music. That's what it's all about. If you want to learn what you can do with pentatonic scales on an acoustic guitar, go to guitar chord lessons. If you're on electric guitar, check out the free lead guitar lessons for some great ideas. Both these segments include online guitar lesson videos.

Thanks again for joining me and allowing me to play a part in inspiring you to keep dusting off your guitar :-)


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