Cyberfret.com: Guitar Improvisation: Targeting the root of A minor pentatonic
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Targeting the root of the
A minor pentatonic
by Shawn Bradshaw

In this lesson you will learn an important concept that you will continually revisit as your improvisational journey continues. What you learn here can be applied to other scales and notes.

Targeting

Targeting means that you are going to focus your attention (and ear) on one note, playing other notes in the scale as embellishments of the targeted note.

Of course the first scale that you are going to be use is (surprise) A minor pentatonic. Play the scale chart to the right at the 5th fret. All of the squares are the root of the scale (A) Memorize the scale and the location of every A.

see scale primer for how to read this chart

A minor pentatonic

A minor pentatonic scale chart

In this exercise you are "targeting" All of the A notes using the next note in the scale above the root. The numbers that are circled are A. Play each measure by itself, and listen to the sound. They all have the same basic sound since they are the same notes, just in different octaves. Try improvising with just these sets of notes. Make sure that you are emphasizing the A note (hold it for longer, and end your phrase on it). You are practicing this to train you fingers and your ear to recognize this sound.

targeting A tablature

Next you are targeting the A from a scale step below.

targeting A tablature

Here you are targeting from 2 scale tones above the A.

targeting A tablature
targeting A tablature

Finally you are targeting from 2 scale tones below.

targeting A tablature
targeting A tablature

 

Normally when you think of the A minor pentatonic scale you think of A as the bottom note, with 4 other notes above it.
A better way to organize this scale in your head is to thing of A as the center note, with 2 notes above it and 2 notes below it



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