Minor Pentatonic Scale Patterns

Minor PentatonicOne of the most commonly used scales in popular music today is the pentatonic scale which is a scale made up of 5 notes. Interestingly, the name originates from the Greek word “penta” which stands for five.

Now, minor pentatonic scales are often associated with rock guitar solos and lead guitar playing. That’s why they are my favorite type of scales. Despite its cool sounding name, pentatonic scales are the easiest to besides the major and minor scales.

Before we continue with the lesson, you need to read and fully understand the tutorial about minor scales first. The rationale behind this is that the minor pentatonic scale is based on the natural minor scale.

Basically, the 2nd and 6th notes are removed from the natural minor in order to create the minor pentatonic scale. As a result, the pentatonic scale consists of notes which are at least 2 semitones apart.

Comparing the Natural Minor And Minor Pentatonic

A Natural Minor

a minor table

A Minor Pentatonic

a minor pentatonic table

A Minor Pentatonic

Like the natural minor scales which can be derived from a formula, the minor pentatonic also follows a pre-determined formula. I know some people prefer to memorize the scale using fretboard patterns instead of remembering formulas while others remember it by the shapes. You should use either one that works for you and the method you are most comfortable with.

Shapes of the Pentatonic Scale on the Fretboard

Similar to the major scale patterns, pentatonic scale patterns can be found across the entire guitar fretboard too. In summary, there are 5 main patterns across the fretboard that I encourage you to memorize.

Also, we are adopting a “2 notes per string system” when it comes to minor pentatonic fingerings. If you are totally new, I would recommend starting with Patterns 1 and Patterns 3 as they have relatively easier fingerings.

Minor Pentatonic Scale Pattern 1

A Minor Pentatonic Pattern 1

Minor Pentatonic Scale Pattern 2

A Minor Pentatonic Pattern 2

Minor Pentatonic Scale Pattern 3

A Minor Pentatonic Pattern 3

Minor Pentatonic Scale Pattern 4

A Minor Pentatonic Pattern 4

Minor Pentatonic Scale Pattern 5

A Minor Pentatonic Pattern 5

Simple Exercise to Help You Learn the Fingerings

A Minor Pentatonic Exercise

Download .gtp5 or .mp3 file ( Right-click Save Target as… )

Once you get the hang of playing the patterns, you should try using them to improvise or play simple fills the next time you head to a jam session. I guarantee that you will be amazed by the number of licks and riffs that can be generated with your newfound knowledge.

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