The following is an example of how to play an F minor pentatonic scale. Refer to the sound clip as well as the graphic to see how it is played. There are other formations, but this is a very popular one. This is a great scale to play for a song that is in the key of G#.
The following is an example of how to play an E minor pentatonic scale. Refer to the sound clip as well as the graphic to see how it is played. There are other formations, but this is a very popular one. This is a great scale to play for a song that is in the key of G.
This exercise is going to use the G minor pentatonic scale with a downward climbing picking pattern. This picking pattern has quite a few string changes that helps to build the speed of switching strings as well as quickens the finger placement. This is an all around great exercise for building multiple facets of your technique. Play this often and all over on the neck!
Exercise A: Play the G minor pentatonic scale high to low starting on the 8th fret of the high E string. Below, you can see the notes involved in this scale. Use alternate picking through the whole scale. Since there are two notes on each string, each string will be a down stroke and then an up stroke.
Exercise B: Play the same notes, but now we are going to mix up the pattern we play. See the numbers next to the notes in the diagram below? That is the order you will pick the notes. You will start on fret 8 of the high E string then eventually make it to fret 3 of the low E string. Altogether, you will pick 30 times. Listen to the example and play with the order of the fingering showin in the graphic. Make sure to use alternate picking through the whole exercise! Also, start slow and build up your speed as you are able to do it without mistakes.
This exercise will introduce you to a major pentatonic scale as well as guide you in playing a scale to get you moving around on the neck a bit. You will need to play this slowly at first, but the goal is to increase your speed while still playing it correctly. We are only going to play this scale upwards right now.
Exercise A: Play the E Major Pentatonic Scale up until fret 6 on the D string. Play these notes alternating your picking, up and down stroke. The fingering to use is listed below. When you go from the F# to the G# as the final step, slide your ring finger up from fret 4 to 6.
E string – Fret 0
E string – Fret 2 – Index finger
E string – Fret 4 – Ring finger
A string – Fret 2 – Index finger
A string – Fret 4 – Ring finger
D string – Fret 2 – Index finger
D string – Fret 4 – Ring finger
D string – Fret 6 – Slide from fret 4 with your ring finger up to fret 6
We are going to explore another scale today. This one is the major scale and is used quite often in music. Many of the concepts within music theory are based very heavily on the Major scale. You can read more about the major scale in a music theory lesson, but for the purpose of this exercise we are just going to use it to practice “climbing” up the nect of the guitar and playing in multiple different positions.
A scale is just a progression of notes and to play guitar well, you must learn scales! Scales are not very exciting to learn, but when you focus your time on them you won’t even believe how fast you begin playing better and playing more consistently, not to mention having more fun!
Today’s scale is a major scale and we are going to play the whole progression of notes on one string so you can begin to notice the gaps that create the scale. You’ll see by the number of frets moved up for each note, that it is not always an even spacing. For a major scale on guitar, it is as follows:
Starting note, up 2 frets, up 2, up 1, up 2, up 2, up 2, up 1 (ending note is the same as the first, also is 12 frets higher)
You can play any major scale on guitar just by using the pattern above. For the sake of this lesson, we are going to play the major scales associated with each of the open strings – E, A, D, G, and B (well, and E again on the high string). The frets we will play on each string are as follows:
0, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12
Exercise A: Play the fret pattern listed above on each string of the guitar. Just play each note once and with a downstroke so you can focus on your finger placement. Reference the lists below to see what notes you are actually playing on each string. After you have played through it enough to feel comfortable, then continue playing through it and saying the note names (# sign is pronounced “sharp”…I don’t want someone to catch you calling it “pound” because they will laugh!).
E string notes: E F# G# A B C# D# E
A string notes: A B C# D E F# G# A
D string notes: D E F# G A B C# D
G string notes: G A B C D E F# G
B string notes: B C# D# E F# G# A# B
E string: The high E is the same as the low E!
That’s it. But wait…what fingers to use to play? Here is what you should do:
Fret 0: um…no finger here
Fret 2: Index
Fret 4: Middle
Fret 5: Ring
Fret 7: Index
Fret 9: Middle
Fret 11: Ring
Fret 12: Pinky
Also, don’t think you are just playing upwards. Play the scale upward and downward each time. Both directions should utilize the same fingers listed above. Here are the sound clips of each scale if you are interested:
E Major Low: SingleStringMajorELow.mp3
A Major: SingleStringMajorA.mp3
D Major: SingleStringMajorD.mp3
G Major: SingleStringMajorG.mp3
B Major: SingleStringMajorB.mp3
E Major High: SingleStringMajorEHigh.mp3
Today we are going to use the notes of an E Minor Pentatonic scale to get you moving around a bit more and have something a little more fun for you. Today will be a little bit more complicated because it will require a little bit more thought, especially for a beginning guitar player.
I’m not going to explain here what a E Minor Pentatonic scale is or how to build one or what notes it has from the E minor scale. I will however tell you where to put your fingers and which strings to play. Each string in this scale is played twice…once open and once with your finger on a specific fret.
Here are the notes you will play starting with the low E string:
- E string open
- E string 3rd fret
- A string open
- A string 2nd fret
- D string open
- D string 2nd fret
- G string open
- G string 2nd fret
- B string open
- B string 3rd fret
- E string open
- E string 3rd fret
So, like I said, it’s nothing too complicated but you need to make sure to think about where you are playing. Here are two examples of picking patterns we will do with this scale. Both patterns should be played with different stroke types: down, up and alternating. Play each slow enough to play without any mistakes. Its important to make sure your finger is always firmly planted on a fret before plucking the string.
Exercise A: Slow picking from low to high, then back down
Exercise B: Double speed picking from low to high, then back down. Play each note twice before moving onto the next note.
Play that repeatedly, and as you are able to, increasingly faster. Remember consistency on the notes!