How To Use the Guitar Pentatonic Scale

CMC here. Today’s lesson is on the guitar pentatonic scale.

The Pentatonic scale is to rock and roll, what airplanes, cars, the internet and Movies are to modern civilization; something so ubiquitous as to create chaos if it weren’t there. Hey maybe that’s why punks weren’t into it.


It’s really cool and fun to use. Eventually you really should know this stuff. It will make you feel like Bach or something and it’s not hard to do at all. Back was in fact, one of the first to figure all this stuff out.

So get to work and lets get to work: Here’s a little tidbit to get you started:

The major and minor scales might be music-theory norms, but they seem a bit scholarly when used over chords. For rock you’ll want to learn to play the pentatonic scale, which seriously ups your melodic material.

Although the scale isn’t the only one around for lead guitarists, it’s the most popular and easiest to learn. The coolness of this scale is that it sounds awesome over every chord change in a key, and you can begin to rock it out pretty quick.

As the word shows, (Pent =5) this scale has five notes, two notes less than the normal seven-note major and minor scales, -this creates a more open and less linear sound. The scale is also less obvious or clear; a good thing, because it means that it’s harder to play sour notes — note’s that, although they’re within the key, might not fit right over any given chord in a progression. This scale uses the most universal notes.

I would advise learning the A minor pentatonic first. It can easily be used as a lead scale over chord progressions in A minor, A blues and C major. I would define blues as a specific six-note scale as well as a chord progression. It’s also rad over an A major and C blues. Pretty cool-you should try it!

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