Guitar Pentatonic Scales... the smart (easy) way
Harmonic and Melodic Fingerings (Part 2 of 3)
This series on guitar pentatonic scales is divided into 3 sections, of which this is the second. If you don't understand something, go back and get the basics right. The first article covers the basics of pentatonic scales. This article builds on the first, and explains how to actually apply this knowledge in practice, how to play pentatonic scales, on the guitar fretboard. The third article makes learning pentatonic scales on the fretboard super easy... Enjoy!
Guitar Pentatonic Scales: 2 ways
If you don't stretch your fingers beyond one finger per fret, you have two basic ways of playing any pentatonic scale on the fretboard.
Example of a Harmonic Fingering Pattern,
we call this a Harmonic Fingering:
You will notice that all three notes in the three major triad are on separate strings, which makes it possible to play them all at once.
Example of a Melodic Fingering Pattern,
as an arpeggio, we call it a Melodic Fingering:
You will notice that the 3rd and the 5th of the C Major triad are on a single string. This makes it impossible to play all three notes at once...
This principle holds true for all guitar pentatonic scales, which means we have 2 scales (major and minor) and 2 ways of playing each (harmonic and melodic fingerings) for a total of 4 fingering patterns.
These are the two basic ways of playing Major Pentatonic Scales on guitar:
These are the two ways of playing Minor Pentatonic Scales on guitar:
Click here to carry on to Part 3: Guitar Pentatonic Scales, the smart way: Correlations
In this series on pentatonic scales and the fretboard, we merely scratch the surface. There are many more interesting relationships to understand:
Other articles on pentatonic scales you may be interested in:
Guitar Scales: Section OverviewGuitar Modes... the smart (easy) way
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