Basic Pentatonic Patterns

I've talked to a lot of people who's main complaint is "I can't get out of playing the same scale pattern." After a little more probing, I discover that they are totally familiar with the root pentatonic minor pattern, (like A pentatonic minor at the 5th fret) but don't know what else
to do with it.

Here's a lesson that you will want to make sure that you don't lose! Print it out and stick it in your guitar case.

I have always been an advocate of knowing what to play, anywhere on the neck.

For those of you who are sick and tired of playing A pentatonic minor at the 5th fret or E pentatonic minor at the 12th fret, here is the tab for these scales covering the entire fretboard.

Learn them, live them, breath them, eat them, sleep them.

Knowing all of these patterns will greatly enhance your playing and open up new tonal possibilities that you may have never heard before.

Does Carlos Santana know these patterns? I'll let YOU answer that one.

Here they are.

Tablature Legend

A C D etc. are the notes.
1 4 1 etc. suggested fingering

A Pentatonic minor Pattern 1 (A C D E G)

 A  C  D  E  G  A  C  D  E  G  A  C
 1  4  1  3  1  3  1  3  1  4  1  4
-------------------------------5--8---------------
-------------------------5--8---------------------
-------------------5--7---------------------------
-------------5--7---------------------------------
-------5--7---------------------------------------
-5--8---------------------------------------------
(also starts at 17th fret)

A Pentatonic minor Pattern 2 (C D E G A)

 C  D   E  G   A  C   D  E  G  A   C  D
 2  4   1  4   1  4   1  3  2  4   2  4
-----------------------------------8--10----------
----------------------------8--10-----------------
----------------------7--9------------------------
---------------7--10------------------------------
--------7--10-------------------------------------
-8--10--------------------------------------------
(also starts at 20th fret)

A Pentatonic minor Pattern 3 (D E G A C)

 D   E   G   A   C   D   E  G   A   C   D   E
 1   3   1   3   1   3   1  4   1   4   1   3
----------------------------------------10--12----
--------------------------------10--13------------
-------------------------9--12--------------------
-----------------10--12---------------------------
---------10--12-----------------------------------
-10--12-------------------------------------------

A Pentatonic minor Pattern 4 (E G A C D)

 E   G   A   C   D   E   G   A   C   D   E   G
 1   4   1   4   1   3   1   3   2   4   1   4
-----------------------------------------12--15---
---------------------------------13--15-----------
-------------------------12--14-------------------
-----------------12--14---------------------------
---------12--15-----------------------------------
-12--15-------------------------------------------

A Pentatonic minor Pattern 5 (G A C D E)

 G   A   C   D   E   G   A   C   D   E   G   A
 2   4   1   4   1   4   1   4   2   4   2   4
-----------------------------------------15--17---
---------------------------------15--17-----------
-------------------------14--17-------------------
-----------------14--17---------------------------
---------15--17-----------------------------------
-15--17-------------------------------------------
(also starts at 3rd fret)


Now, as you get familiar with these patterns and begin creating your own licks, you'll need to change your fingering in some spots. Don't be afraid to experiment.

For example, If you can't bend the 1st string with your pinky, change your fingering and do the bend with your 3rd finger. Play the way YOU feel is the most comfortable.

 Written by: Will Landrum



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