Pentatonic Scale Applications
by Rovan Deon

From Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page), Pink Floyd, Allman Brothers, to BB King the pentatonic scales have been used more times than we can ever imagine. We can truly say what is good for them must indeed be great for us. Let’s face it the Pentatonic Scale is one of the most important and widely used scales to learn, that is, if you are planning to learn to solo and improvise in real music situations with confidence and massive results. One of the beauties of the pentatonic scale is her ever ending forgiveness. You can play almost any note and it will sound inherently right at home. Perhaps it because of its extraction from the major scale that this scale lends itself to sound, well, amazing.

The pentatonic scale is a five note scale (the term Penta actually derives from Greek language meaning 5 and tonic meaning tone). From a theory point of view, this scale is made specifically of the root1-b3-4-5-b7. By omitting two of the notes from the major scale the pentatonic scale becomes finger friendly as it lies across the fret board.

This is a first in a series of lessons regarding the magic of the pentatonic scale. We will begin our first lesson with looking at the first pattern that most guitarists learn along with some additional ideas for those of you who are looking for alternatives to expressing this sound with different fingerings. This will begin to take us into the realm of discovering the notes on a single string and branching out with 3 notes per string patterns. This lesson will also include the fingering for 7 string guitar, as well as implementing our first arpeggio that secretly lies under your fingers for more dynamic solo options.

As I will suggest in all future lessons, in order to yield great results, remember to always practice with a metronome, incorporate some sort of timer, tune your guitar (never play out of tune), record your progress, transfer what you have learned into a musical context, but most importantly start to improvise!

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Signed: The Duke 


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