The Minor Pentatonic Scale | Guitar Lesson with Diagrams
Pentatonic scales are commonly used in all styles of music all over the world. Present in jazz and blues music since their origins, they are the most important scales in jazz music. The minor pentatonic scale is the fifth mode of the major pentatonic scale (there are five different modes). It is the first scale to know for a guitarist who wants to explore the wide world of improvisation because it is easy to remember, easy to play and it sounds very good on a modal tune or a jazz blues (listen to Kenny Burrell or Grant Green). As its name implies, it is made up of five notes ("penta" means "five and tonic means "notes").
As shown in the following table below, the minor pentatonic scale is made up of :
- Minor third
- Fourth (eleventh)
- Minor seventh
|A minor pentatonic scale||A||C||D||E||G|
The minor pentatonic scale has the same notes as the Aeolian mode (also called natural minor scale) except the second and the minor sixth. Here is a comparison between these two scales.
|Minor pentatonic scale||1||x||b3||4||5||x||b7|
The minor pentatonic scale is the relative minor of the major pentatonic scale. It means that the notes are the same.
You can play the minor pentatonic scale over the following chords :
- Minor (m)
- Minor 7th (m7)
- Dominant 7th (7)
- Dominant 7th sharp ninth (7#9)
Minor pentatonic scale | Position # 1
Here is the most used minor pentatonic scale guitar position, it is pretty easy to memorize because of its symmetrical form.
To hear correctly this scale, it is recommended to play this pattern by starting with the root "R". The root is the orange note in the guitar fretboard diagram.
As you can see there are three "roots", three "minor thirds", two "fourth", two "fifths" and two "minor sevenths" in this diagram.
To play the A pentatonic scale using this pattern you have to put your first finger on the sixth string at the fifth fret.
It's important to practice this scale in different keys, just move the root "R" to the desired note keeping the same intervals and fingerings.
Minor pentatonic scale | Position # 2
This is another guitar position of the minor pentatonic scale. The lowest note (b3) is the second lowest note of the previous diagram. Keep in mind that these two positions are interconnected.
To play the A minor pentatonic scale using this pattern starting on the lowest note, put your second finger on the sixth string at the eight fret. What makes that the lowest root "R" will be located on the fourth string at the seventh fret.
Minor pentatonic scale | Position # 3
Minor pentatonic scale boxes
Kenny Burrell | Minor pentatonic jazz blues lick
This is a transcription of Kenny Burrell's guitar solo in "Chitlins con carne" from the album midnight blue. Kenny Burrell played this line over the I of a twelve bar blues in C (Chitlins con carne) . You can take a look at the following link for more Kenny Burrell transcriptions.
You can listen to it in this video.
Soul jazz guitar lick | Bb minor pentatonic
Here is a soul, jazz guitar lick using notes from the Bb minor pentatonic scale. It starts and ends with a perfect fourth (F-Bb). Please note that the Bb pentatonic scale is made up of Bb-Db-Eb-F-Ab.
This lick is taken from the 25 SOUL JAZZ GUITAR LICKS eBOOK. (inclding audio files, backing track and printable PDF)
Using the minor pentatonic scale over a II-V-I progression
This line shows you how to use the E minor pentatonic scale over a II-V-I progression. We will use three scales to play over this sequence, this is a basic approach. E minor pentatonic scale over Em7 (bar 1), A mixolydian mode over A7 (bar 2 ) (Mixolydian mode guitar lesson), D Ionian mode (major scale) over DM7 (Ionian mode guitar lesson).
Printable PDF eBook containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
This downloadable eBook in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation and analysis both for guitar teachers and students.
This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 20 II-V-I jazz guitar lines with tabs and audio files both in major and minor keys
A printable PDF eBook with tabs and standard notation containing five jazz blues guitar studies. Learn how to use arpeggios over a jazz blues progression.
Jazz guitar comping. How to play II-V-I chord progressions on guitar with drop 2, drop 3 chords, rootless and inverted voicings. This method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with analysis, tabs & standard notation.
This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis and scale charts.
You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks with tabs and standard notation in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson.These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
This eBook PDF contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
This printable PDF eBook contains 25 minor jazz guitar licks with tabs, video links, analysis. How to play modes, scales & arpeggios over minor chords.
The tritone substitution is explained through 5 jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video links and backing track links. Printable PDF eBook
Last edited: 12/23/2018