Guitar Pentatonic Scales...the smart (easy) way

Simplifying Pentatonic Scales on the Fretboard: Correlations (Part 3 of 3)

This series on guitar pentatonic scales is divided into 3 sections, of which this is the third and last. If you don't understand something, go back and get the basics right. The first article covers the basics of pentatonic scales. The second article builds on the first, and explains how to actually apply this knowledge in practice, how to play pentatonic scales, on the guitar fretboard. This third article makes learning pentatonic scales on the fretboard super easy... Enjoy!


Correlations...

Things at the end of Section 2 may have seemed a little complicated, but our job at GTiD is to make hard things easy... so hold on!
As it happens, harmonic and melodic fingering patterns are inter-related. This makes it very easy to learn them, through understanding.

Let's take all 4 diagrams, again, in the same order, and put them all together. Take a look at this:

guitar pentatonic scales

Guitar Pentatonic Scales:
The relationships between major and minor harmonic and melodic fingering patterns.

If the relationships between these diagrams are not clear yet, take a look at this:

Correlation 1: Major Harmonic and Minor Melodic

Take the major harmonic fingering pattern and the minor melodic fingering pattern...

pentatonic guitar scales

and...

pentatonic guitar scale patterns

Presto!

These two fingering patterns are the same, except you start on a different note. This should be obvious if we consider that these scales always come in pairs: remember relative major and minor pentatonic scales?

Knowing this allows you to choose where and how you finger depending on whether you want to play chords or melody.

Correlation 2: Minor Harmonic and Major Melodic

Let's now take the minor harmonic fingering pattern and the major melodic fingering pattern...

pentatonic guitar scales

and...

pentatonic guitar scale patterns

Presto!

Again, these two fingering patterns are the same, except you start on a different note (and in this case, a different string). This should be obvious if we consider that these scales always come in pairs: remember relative major and minor pentatonic scales?

Knowing this allows you to choose where and how you finger depending on whether you want to play chords or melody.

To summarize:
guitar pentatonic fingerings

With only 2 patterns, we have learned 2 ways of playing 2 different guitar pentatonic scales (which in the end we realized were the same thing): 2 stones, 4 birds. Cool, huh?!

So what's next?!

Now you have learned and understood the basic patterns behind guitar pentatonic scales. The next step is to find out how they relate to diatonic scales, guitar modes. This will allow you to understand, play, and improvise much more complex melodic patterns.

guitar modes

If you're wondering about the remaining strings...

These patterns -harmonic and melodic fingerings- are the only ones you will find when playing pentatonic scales starting at the root. 2 octave patterns are always composed of these patterns stacked up: the only differences you will find are due to the strings 2 and 3, which are tuned a 3rd appart (instead of a fourth). Understand the principles in this article, and explore them in all string combinations and all over the fretboard: this will free you to improvise in a much more fluid way!!!




In this series on pentatonic scales and the fretboard, we merely scratch the surface of guitar pentatonic scales. There are many more interesting relationships to understand:
fretboard essentials

Other articles on pentatonic scales you may be interested in:

  • Guitar Tuning and the Fretboard: Basic to understand the relationship between pentatonic scales and the guitar

  • Guitar Scales: Section Overview

    1. Scales and Modes from A to Z: section index

    2. Guitar Pentatonic Scales 1, 2, 3

    3. Guitar Modes... the smart (easy) way


    Go back from Guitar Pentatonic Scales to Guitar Scales
    Go back from Guitar Pentatonic Scales to Guitar Theory in Depth



    → Start Fretboard Addicts | guitar theory in depth

    Copyright © 2016, Fretboard Addicts
    fretboardaddicts.com & guitar-theory-in-depth.com
    All rights reserved. Click here to read our privacy policy