Are You Doing Your Minor Pentatonic Scale Wrong?

Published December 22, 2020 38 Views

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The A minor pentatonic, in the 5th hand position, is illustrated here, but the concepts can be applied everywhere else.

If you are like some guitar students, you were taught to do the minor pentatonic with 2 notes per string.

LowE5-8, A5-7, D5-7, G5-7, B5-8, HighE5-8

This works pretty good for coordinating “the count” with the up-pick and down-pick, and the balanced feel of fretting each string twice before moving to the next string.

However, a problem with doing the minor pentatonic this way is that you end (resolve) on a minor 3rd instead of ending (resolving) on a root note.

So while that high minor 3rd is technically part of the minor pentatonic scale, you probably don’t want to end your scale on that note.

To play this scale “more correctly” (in my opinion), and to resolve on the root note, simply do not play the very last note of the scale. (HighE8)

However when you don’t play that last note, the scale winds up having an odd number of notes, which can mess up your picking patterns, and doesn’t sound quite right.

So to solve this problem, simply break this two octave scale into its two respective octaves.

Then, start the scale as you normally would, on the lowest A note (LowE5), and end on the middle A note (D7). Play the middle A note TWICE. The first time resolves the lower part of the scale, and the second time starts the higher part of the scale.

Plus, by playing the middle A twice, it emphasizes that you are playing an A scale.

On the way back down the scale, just reverse everything, but instead of starting on the high minor 3rd (HighE8, above the root!) as you probably have been doing, start on the high A (HighE5), and walk down to the middle root A (D7) and play that root note twice, before moving on down and resolving on the low A (LowE5)

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