Posted by Mike Cramer on 10:42 AM

Pentatonic scales are 5 note scales that should be in every guitar player's vocabulary. The two most common pentatonic scales are the major and minor variety. However, any combination of 5 notes could be considered a pentatonic scale.

Pentatonic Box Shapes

Guitar players often learn pentatonic box shapes. These shapes are incredibly useful and easy to learn, but one problem many guitarists face is getting stuck in these boxes. Because they are stuck viewing the neck through boxes, they have a difficult time connecting these shapes, thus creating a complete picture of the fingerboard.

One String Pentatonic Scales

To break out of the box I'm going to suggest another way to learn/practice your pentatonic scales. Play these scales on one string. That's right, one string, this is great way to start moving up the neck. You also benefit from seeing, and feeling, the intervals in the scale.

Download the Handout

The handout provided with this post presents the G minor pentatonic on each string. Practice this scale one string at a time. Fingerings have not been provided, I encourage you to experiment with various fingerings for the scale.

Practice Tips

  • Play slowly and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the scale.
  • Improvise with the scale. Create your own backing tracks to jam along with. A G blues progression would work great, or simply record a G minor chord vamp to play along with.
  • Once you get the hang of soloing on one string, try two strings. These two strings don't have to be right next to each other, in fact, two non-adjacent strings could yield some interesting results!
  • Have fun with the scale!

Do you need a program to easily create background tracks? Then look no further. Check out Band In A Box. It's easy to create fun practice tracks.

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