Free Online Guitar lessons - Home

Classic Internet Guitar Lessons

These lessons have been floating around the web for years and were not written by the cyberfret staff. Therefore they are offered AS IS with no warranty, no money back guarantee, no technical support, no ads, and no pretty background (just plain gray and text, the way it was back in the old days, AND WE LIKED IT) The author of the material is at the top of each lesson. This is part of the history of guitar lessons on the Internet...

Lesson: 5
Title: The Pentatonic Scale
Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Style: Theory
Instructor: Bill Quinn

	Hello, I'm Bill.  I've thought a lot about the '1st lesson' but the
only thing that really makes sense is to just jump right in.  For those of      
you who know the pentatonic scale - this will surely be a nice review, for
the rest of you, get ready for the 1st step in playing lead.

	The guitar makes learning scales easy!  To most players, a scale is
just a memorized fingering pattern.  Sure, the pattern contains notes, and      
the notes have names, but its still just a pattern.  I will use the term
'pattern' to refer to a set of places (frets) on the guitar neck where you
will find the notes in a scale.

	Here is a pentatonic pattern:

		E ||-----|-----|--O--|-----|-----|--O--|-----|
		B ||-----|-----|--O--|-----|-----|--O--|-----|
		G ||-----|-----|--O--|-----|--O--|-----|-----|
		D ||-----|-----|--O--|-----|--O--|-----|-----|
		A ||-----|-----|--O--|-----|--O--|-----|-----|
		E ||-----|-----|--O--|-----|-----|--O--|-----|

	The picture shows a 'top view' of a right handed neck.  The horizontal
lines are strings and the vertical lines are frets.  The letters to the left
side of the 'neck' are the string names (and tunings).

	The O's are the places to play.  We will soon see that this pattern is 
one of many ways to play a pentatonic scale.  Remember we are really talking
about patterns *NOT* scales.

	Another look at the pattern:

		E ||-----|-----|--1--|-----|-----|--2--|-----|
		B ||-----|-----|--4--|-----|-----|--5--|-----|
		G ||-----|-----|--2--|-----|--3--|-----|-----|
		D ||-----|-----|--5--|-----|--1--|-----|-----|
		A ||-----|-----|--3--|-----|--4--|-----|-----|
		E ||-----|-----|--1--|-----|-----|--2--|-----|

	The numbers represent each unique note in the pattern.  If we start
on the bottom string and play from left to right, we will be playing the notes
(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2).  There are only 5 unique notes!  No duh?
Thats why it's called a PENTA(meaning 5) TONIC(meaning note or tone) pattern.

	Now what?   Well, as most experienced players will tell you, this is 
the pattern to learn.  Although there are *MANY* ways to memorize the notes 
in a pentatonic scale, this is the most common way to do it.

	I will leave you with the following exercises in TAB to help you get
familiar with the given pentatonic pattern.  Next week, we will take a look
at ocatves and more pentatonic fingerings.  In a couple of weeks we will give 
the pattern a good work-out by having a technique/lick lesson.

exercise: (playing the pentatonic scale at the 5th fret)


exercise: (play '3 notes down' then 'back up')


exercise: (skipping strings)


Practice each of these to a metronome at  a tempo that is easy - then work 
the tempo up until you can't play the exercise.  Make note of your highest
tempo at each pratice session and always try to improve!

See ya next week!

Guitar Lesson a Week Maintainers
Editor: Norm Carpenter                           Distributor: Kevin Elphinstone
Lesson Submissions To:         
Mailing List Subscriptions To:
Lessons Archived At:[]:/pub/guitar-lessons

back to the Classic Internet Guitar Lesson Index