All You Need to Know About the Pentatonic Scale – Blues Guitar Lesson w/ Claude Johnson

This is an excerpt from “How to Play Smokin’ Blues” course. GET it HERE:

Hey, what’s going on this is Claude Johnson with Guitar Control, in this video lesson; I will show you, what you need to know about “Pentatonic Scale”. In the beginning of this video, I talked about the major scale and we use it to find different degrees in the progression, but there’s another scale which is really important called the pentatonic scale, and penta which means five in Latin, so pentatonic is a five notes.

Check the image above to follow the chords and tabs.

Let me just show you the key of e, here’s one pattern, we’re going to start up, way up here in the 12th fret and it would sound like this. Basically this is the 12th fret to 15th, and then the next string 12th to 14th, again 12 to 14 again, 12 to 14, and then the highest two strings 12 to 15.

Pentatonic scale is important when you’re playing lead guitar, but it’s also important to create riffs for your rhythms. Let’s talk a little bit more about the scale itself, just like the major scale you can move it up and down and you’ll have the same interval pattern. This is the space between the notes, here you have three frets between the first two notes called a minor third interval, and then the next one, just a whole step and then another minor third, or you played here and one more whole step.

There’s a complete scale plus, an octave you have one, two, three, four, five, and the octave. So the notes in e pentatonic are e, g, a, b, and d, and then when you get here it repeats. So there’s your octave that’s like your second octave, you can play it using the open strings; this is a little bit different than this shape because instead of playing, there’s no fret just open.

This kind of version differs a little bit, there’s Five Basic Boxes:

The First One, remember if I say I’m in the key of a, where would I find that box? Well let’s just think, here was e, and the root was on the low e string, so where’s our a? It’s on the fifth fret so we can play it here. A lot of guitarists sometimes complain that they know when they learn scales, just playing them and it sounds like a scale. So the point isn’t just to go up and down the scale, these are just collection of notes and you can use them like I said in league guitar, we’ll have a whole section on that, but we can also use them in our riffs, anyway getting back to the boxes here’s the first box, the next shape is going to be like this, that’s third fret, fifth, second to fifth, second to fifth, second to fourth, and then third to fifth, third to fifth.

Now there’s different ways you could finger this, for example you could start this one off with your first and third finger, or you could also start off with your middle and pinky, so you’re in position for the next one, then up here again. You can play with these fingers, or you could just shift up like this.

I would recommend processing it both ways as far as how this pattern is derived, again it’s just the same notes the e, g, a, b, and d, here’s your g, here’s you’re a, b, d, e, g, and just keeps repeating a, b, d, e, g, a. Make sure to subscribe on our YouTube Channel and we’ll see you on our next video lessons, thanks for watching.

How to play your favorite songs from the 60's & 70's on the guitar


This free course expires in:


Get 2 hours of FREE Guitar Lessons.