Mastering The Minor Pentatonic Scale Using Melodic Patterns

In this guitar lesson we take a look at a very powerful way of mastering the minor pentatonic scale…melodic patterns! We'll do that by taking a look at two really useful scale exercises. Before we get started, if you don't know what the minor pentatonic scale is, be sure to read this article on pentatonic guitar scales. Once you've done that, I'll see you back here!

Please take a look at the fretboard diagram below. This is the minor pentatonic fingering that we'll use for this lesson. It shows the A Minor Pentatonic scale.

Notice that this scale uses the notes A C D E and G

A Minor Pentatonic Fingering:

A Minor Pentatonic Scale Fingering

You've probably come across this fingering before. It's very useful and is definitely an essential one to know! You're bound to see it crop up in MANY blues, rock, jazz or fusion guitar solos. If you don't know it, then please memorize it now.

Let's now take a look at two guitar scale exercises that use the above fingering…

A Minor Pentatonic Scale: Exercise One

To play this scale exercise you will need to use alternate picking. This is when you pick down-up consistently. Be sure to start with a downstroke.

Notice that the exercise uses a four-note melodic pattern. This particular pattern is a really great one for building some basic minor pentatonic technique.

So be sure to spend a lot of time on it!

A Minor Pentatonic Scale - Exercise One

A Minor Pentatonic Scale: Exercise Two

This minor pentatonic exercise is more advanced than the first one. Why do you think it's a bit harder? The main reason is that it uses string-skipping, which creates some awkward movements for both your picking and fretting hand. But this makes it sound (and look) cool, so be sure to learn it! :-)

A Minor Pentatonic Scale - Exercise Two

Now, here's a question for you. Why do you think practicing scales using melodic patterns is so important?

I've pondered this question myself a lot. :-) In my opinion, three major benefits of practicing scale exercises that use melodic patterns include…

  1. They help develop your ears. The more you practice them the more your inner-ear absorbs the melodic pattern. This really helps to develop your ability to solo in a musical and melodic way.
  2. They improve your technique much more than just playing the scale straight up-and-down.
  3. They improve your overall scale ability/agility. They train your fingers to "mix up" the notes of the scale. And this helps you develop some vital skills that help you turn scales into music.

That's all for now.  I hope you had enjoyed this guitar lesson. Work hard at these exercises and I'll catch you next time!

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