The Pentatonic Scale
Five notes that rock!
In this exercise you will practice the pentatonic scale - the prefix "penta" comes from the greek word for five, which means that the scale only has five notes. It's one of the most used scales in all sorts of styles of music, and it's easy to master and use. Here are the fretboard diagrams for 5 positions of the A minor (and C major) pentatonic scales on the neck. The notes in blue are the root notes (only A is marked as a root note to avoid confusion, even though C major and A minor pentatonic scales both have the same tones, they just start at different notes).
You will notice that all the patterns only have two notes per string which makes them easy to learn, especially with some practice. Which is what you'll be doing now!
Pattern 5, groups of 3
In this exercise you will play groups of three notes ascending and descending on the fifth pattern. The fretboard diagram and the tabs are to help you learn the exercise and the scale, but you must not rely on it, learn the pattern by heart!
Unlike other pentatonic patterns this one spans five frets instead of four. Start playing with your second finger (middle finger) and stretch your fourth finger (pinky) when you reach the 13th fret on the 2nd string. To help you the tablature for the fifth pattern includes fingerings. They are written above the staves (1 - index, 2 - middle, 3 - ring, 4 - pinky).
- Whenever you play these pentatonic exercises remember to use alternate picking. The downstrokes and upstrokes are provided for you in the tabs, stick to them!
- Only increase the tempo on the metronome when you are completely comfortable with the playing speed.
- The main aim of these exercises is to learn all the patterns and become comfortable with them. Focus on this first, and later on the speed of the playing.