Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.
Minor pentatonic scales constitute an important part of the guitar scales. As a beginner, you should know well about this scale to improve your skills. Minor pentatonic scales are quite easy to play, as they comprise of five notes (hence names ‘pentatonic’) that are usually located on the strings in repeating patterns. Hence, you won’t face many troubles learning these scales.
Minor pentatonic scales are common in rock, blues,and other solo performing styles.In this article, we will guide you comprehensively about the minor pentatonic guitar scale.
Minor Pentatonic Scale Tab
Now, to play a D minor pentatonic scale, you can simply follow this pattern. Nonetheless, make sure you employ designated fingers for playing notes on various strings.
So, to follow this tab, you will use for the first finger to play the note on the 5th fret on string E. Then, with your fourth finger, you play the 8th fret on the same string. Now move to the string A and play the 5th and 8th frets similarly. Next, you’ll jump to the D string, where you will play the 5th fret with your first finger, and then the 7th fret with your third finger. Likewise, you will play the notes on the same frets on string G too. On string B, there would be a slight change in the pattern, as you will now play the 6th fret with your second finger, and the 8th fret with your fourth finger. Then again, on the last string, you will play the notes on the 5th and 8th frets. This is how you go upwards on the D minor scale.
If you want to complete the scale by coming down, you will repeat the pattern from the higher E string to the lower E string whilst playing the same frets with the same designated fingers. You will notice how the notes go up and down as you complete the scale.
Minor Pentatonic Scale Formula
Now, to make a C minor pentatonic scale, you will lower the notes E and B, that is, the third and the seventh. While you skip the second and the sixth note. Now you will have the five notes for a C minor pentatonic scale, like this:
So now, to play a C minor pentatonic note, the C minor pentatonic tab would look like this:
So now, you will begin playing the C minor pentatonic scale from the 8th fret on the E lower string. You can then move on to the other notes by following this tab. Try to practice it a few times before moving to another minor pentatonic scale. Nonetheless, if you have learned the formula to create a minor pentatonic scale, and you know the major scales, then it won’t be difficult for you.
A Minor Pentatonic Scale Notes
Once you have the notes, you can easily find out how to play them on guitar. In case of an A minor pentatonic scale, the pattern might look similar to that of a C minor pentatonic scale to you. However, the difference lies in the location of the root notes or the fret from where you begin playing a scale. For instance, the pattern shared in the above minor pentatonic scale tab for a C minor pentatonic scale applies while playing the notes from the 8th fret. However, in case you want to play an A minor pentatonic scale, you will begin the notes from the 5th fret.
So, an A minor pentatonic scale tab would be,
You will now simply play the first note on the 5th fret on the lower E string, then the second note will be played on the 8th fret. Keep in mind the designated fingers’ concept to play the scale with ease. As you move the strings, you will be playing an A minor pentatonic scale.
The A minor pentatonic scale is also called as ACDEG, based on the notes it comprises to create the scale. In fact, if you remember this short name ACDEG, and the formula of lowering the third and the seventh note, you won’t have to struggle much to learn this scale.
Minor Pentatonic Scale Bass
If your bass guitar has frets on it, that’s fine. You can begin playing the A minor pentatonic scale bass right away from the 5th fret, in the same manner as you do for a usual guitar. However, if your bass guitar is fretless, then the inlaid markers will guide you about the correct pitch.
You can also try other innovative patterns on a bass guitar, instead of the regular up and down manner. The best part in case of minor pentatonic scales is that you have no wrong notes, so whatever you play sounds good. At first, you should follow the simple up and down pattern to become a little familiar with the minor pentatonic bass scale. Once you get used to, you can try other patterns and improve your skills.
Minor Pentatonic Scale Guitar
There is no limit on your creativity over here. To make yourself familiar with almost all scales, you can first memorize the five patterns that all minor pentatonic scales follow. Once you learn these patterns, you can apply them to different positions on your guitar and enjoy the notes being played. Unknowingly, you will also touch the patterns of various scales, which you can learn later. These five patterns of notes are shown below.
Throughout the guitar, these patterns will repeatedly appear to make different minor pentatonic scales. The red dots show the root notes for these scales.
Minor Pentatonic Scale Pdf
Minor Pentatonic Scale Positions
Position 1: This is one of the most played positions of notes for various minor pentatonic scales. In case of an A minor pentatonic scale, the root note is located on the lower E string on the 5th fret that you will play with your first finger. Then, the second note is on the same string, 8th fret, played by your fourth finger. Then, the next note is played on the string A with your third finger, and so on.
Position 2: This pattern of notes has its root on the 7th fret on the D string. Then the second note appears skipping two frets on the 10th fret on the same string. This pattern is quite different from the position 1 as it does not have that same repetition as in the position 1. Here, the following string has its notes on the 7th and 9th fret, followed by the notes on 8th and 10th fret on the B string. Though it’s a bit tricky, you will certainly enjoy playing these notes.
Position 3: This position has its root notes on the 10th fret on the higher B string and the 12th fret on the A string. Notice how different this position appears from the first two.
Position 4: Here, the root notes are on the 12th fret on the lower E string, and on the 14th fret on the G string. This position is somewhat easy to learn too. Yet, while holding your guitar, you might have to adjust your fingers first as you would be playing towards the end of the guitar’s neck.
Position 5: Position 5 is also quite simple as the position 1. It is played on the top of the guitar’s neck, so it’s good that you don’t have much diversity in the notes over here. The root notes lie on the 5th fret on the lower E string, 2nd fret on the G string, then again on the 5th fret on the higher E string.
If you look at all these minor pentatonic scale positions, you will notice how nicely they cover the entire neck of the guitar, linking all the patterns.
Minor Pentatonic Scale Piano
Now, these five notes can be easily played on the five white keys as denoted in the image below.
This is quite similar to the C major pentatonic scale that goes like CDEGA. Just a little change in the order and you get a new scale. This is how playing pentatonic scales on a piano is relatively easier.
Minor pentatonic scales have been one of the favorites for the beginners as they are easy to learn, short in notes, and have a lot of diversity. The range of five different patterns gives a margin to the new players to practice their skills without the fear of playing a bad note.
We hope this comprehensive guide will certainly help you learn these scales. We advise you to practice all the patterns of a particular scale first, before moving on to the next. This will help you to learn and memorize, as well as improve your guitar skills.