The 5 Pentatonic Scale Shapes – Guitar Lesson



hey I'm Nate savage and welcome to this guitar lesson on the five pentatonic scale shapes pentatonic scales are kind of the meat and potatoes of lead guitar that's because they sound so good with so many different styles of music and they're relatively easy to start improvising with this lesson is going to be more of a reference for the five basic pentatonic scale shapes so you can come back to this over time and learn all five shapes if you want to now let me say this it's more important for you to have one of these scale shapes down really well and be able to use in your playing than it is for you to learn all five but not really be able to use them we're going to talk about major pentatonic skills for the rest of this lesson but we're also going to apply this what we learned to minor pentatonic skills and at the end of this lesson I have a really cool jam track for you that's going to make practicing these skills shapes pretty fun before we get into the actual five standard pentatonic scale shapes I just want to talk about what a pentatonic skill actually is now literally all pentatonic scale is what it means is a five note scale and we have a typical pentatonic skill this one right here that we use in the back to the octave right now we're going to be in the key of G major for the rest of this lesson so what I want to do is reference this back to the G major scale a major scale is a seven note scale so if you had a G major scale you would have G a B C D f-sharp and then back to G so that's seven notes plus the octave now if you wanted to make a major scale into a major pentatonic scale all you have to do is this and remember this formula leave out the fourth and seventh scale degrees of a major skill so omit the fourth and seventh note side of that major scale so you would have one two three we bought the fourth which would normally be right there and go right to the fifth and the sixth is fine and normally the seventh would be out here you're gonna leave that out that's your five notes and then you can go back to the octave too so you have one two three five six one with that in mind let's go ahead and jump into this first major pentatonic scale shape and we're just going to kind of work our way up the fretboard with all these five shapes so start down here with your middle finger on this G root note since we're going to be in the key of G major and all these five major pentatonic scale shapes all five of them have just two notes per string so I'll be giving you some technique tips to get through these as we learn them so you're gonna play third fret with your middle finger fifth fret with your pinky on that low E next string over and the string after that actually the and D strings have the same shape or the same pattern so play the second fret and fifth fret with your first and fourth fingers and the exact same thing on the next string and the more you can see patterns like this that repeat and scales the faster it's going to make it for you to memorize scale shapes so so far you and you don't just work on that get it under your fingers and as we go through things you know you can play legato with hammer-ons and pull-offs you or we can pick every note too if you want it's really up to you Oh the next string in the shape is going to be a g-string and that's going to be first finger on the second part of the G third finger on the fourth fret of the G so that's your shape for that string and to finish the shape off on your beanie strings you have the exact same patterns on those two strings and it's going to be the third fret with your middle finger on that B then the fifth fret with your pinky same thing on the next string Markuson and work on these ago just add one string at a time until you get the shape down and then work on going up the scale and coming back down to it's important so you know if you have a guitar grab it and try to go through this shape with me and one thing you're gonna really want to do is try to be aware of where the root notes are so if you look on the scale diagram the root notes are going to be the black dogs that filled in black circles a really good way to help you memorize where those locations are for the root notes this kind of pause on them when you get to them so you have one right here on the third fret of the high E if they're on the fifth fret of the D string and then one on the third fret of the E string and another thing that's really advantageous to do you don't have to do this right now but once you get these shapes down and if you want to as you go along try to visualize the chord shape that goes with each of these major pentatonic scales and I'll have that information for you here on the screen this e shaped Barre chord that's a G is the cord that goes along the shape so try to visualize that as you're learning this scale shape the second scale shape up the fretboard starts right here or this is going to be kind of our starting point on the fifth fret of the d-string that is a G note so that's going to be kind of our reference point you can play the notes below that too but we're going to start here so little finger fifth fret pinky seventh fret next string over is going to be the fourth fret with your first finger pinky on the seventh fret there that's on the g string so that's the pattern friggin getting those two down and then you can move over to the B string I'll play the 5th and 8th frets with your 1st and 4th fingers then hop over to the high E string and play the 5th and 7th frets your first take this slowly you know take one scale shape per day or once get skill shape for week or month or whatever it takes for you to really get this down well and again I like I said you can play the notes below the D string that you started on and the cool thing about those notes in this particular scale shape is they're the exact same pattern so you're going to have seven five with your pinky middle finger and seven five on the low E string two with your pinky and middle finger so now the chord shape that goes along with this particular major pentatonic scale shape is a D chord and if you don't know this that's fine but if you are a little bit more advanced or an intermediate student that's the chord shape that you want to think of see how it's a d-shaped right here that's a chord shape you want to think of as you're playing through this and what that does that helps you visualize the chord tones in that scale so when you start playing over changes it's a little bit easier for you so visualize that chord and then where the root notes are – but they're on the fifth fret of the D string and they're the eighth fret of the B string with your pinky the third major pentatonic scale ship we're going to go over has its lowest root note on the tenth fret of the a string that's going to be with your pinky right here you can play the notes below that too that's kind of our home base so play that note that's a G and then go over to the next string and play the 7th and 9th frets with your first and third fingers same exact pattern on the next string over which is nice so 7 and 9 with your first and third fingers then we're coming up to a root note right here it's really important to visualize that and memorize where it is but right there on the eighth fret with your middle finger on the B string and your pinky is going to grab the 10th fret so so far and on the high E string play seven and 10 through first and fourth fingers I know we're going faster but don't worry about it you don't have to have this all down by the time the videos over stop the video work on these if you're new tune again you can come back to this videos many times you want to to give these shapes down the notes below on the shape are below our lowest root over we have here it's the seventh fret with your first finger on that a string pinky same exact pattern on this drink so pinky on the tenth fret first finger on the 7th and let me just tell you sometimes people don't use their pinky as much as I'm doing with these shapes sometimes sometimes people will use their first and third fingers more so feel free to do that if that's more comfortable for you and the chord shape that goes with this particular pentatonic scale shape is a C chord shape so you want to be thinking about that shape as you play through the scale and where the root notes are here on the tenth fret of the a now the eighth fret of the B the fourth major pentatonic scale shape actually uses the same root note that we're using on the tenth fret of the a string with your pinky but this time we're going to grab it with our middle finger that's going to be our lowest root note or anchor point again so the notes on that string for this shape are your middle finger 10th fret pinky twelfth the next two strings over have the exact same pattern so you're going to play your first finger right there on the ninth fret and your pinky on the twelfth again same exact thing on the G first fourth on the ninth and twelve so and that root note right there on the twelfth fret of the g string with your pinky is that G note that's an extra and the B in east rings high B and E strings have the same pattern on their so they're going to be easy to remember before you two that's going to be the tenth and twelfth with their second and fourth fingers for both strings and again some people will grab that with their first and third fingers that's totally fine now the notes below that on the low E string are again the 12th and 10th fret so you can include those too and the chord shape that goes along with this one is just at a shape to Barre chord so visualize where the root notes are I try to visualize that chord shape as you play through the skip the fifth and final major pentatonic scale shape that we're going to learn has its low string on the 15th fret of the low E string that geno right there with your pinky and you can play the note below that on this string too that's just on the twelfth fret with your first finger so those two notes now the next three strings all have the same pattern so that's going to be really nice and really easy and fast to memorize it's going to be 12 14 with your first and third fingers so 12 14 12 14 for the food chain the next highest root there is there on the twelfth fret of the g string so so far for that shape you have this now the high B and E strings are the same shape or the same pattern as the low E string so you're gonna have 12 and 15 with your first and pinky finger then exact same thing 1215 with your first and think hey again and you're all the way back up to a G note another room note there are the 15th fret of the high E string now since these scale shapes all have two notes per string they're going to feel very symmetrical and very easy to go back and forth and when you're picking these things it's always going to be an even number of pick strokes on each string so down up next string down up and if you come back down it's kind of the same thing only the opposite up and one thing that helps me to kind of get through the strings a little bit when I'm picking major pentatonic scales or pentatonic scales they're no traditional two notes per string is i slant the pick a little bit when I'm going when I'm a sitting through the scale if I start with a Down stroke that just helps me lead to an extra a little bit and not get caught up in the strings I'm descending through the scale and working my way back down the strings I slap my pick the other way a little bit makes a little bit easier to get through the strings that way too so kind of want to work on that a little bit so those are the five major pentatonic scale shapes now the cool thing is once you know the five major pentatonic scale shapes you already automatically know the five minor pentatonic scale shapes let me show you why if you recall the formula for a major pentatonic scale is one two three five six those are the notes there and this all relates back to the major scale right so that's a G major pentatonic scale taken from a G major scale if you go to the sixth scale degree of a G major scale and start that same pentatonic scale on that sixth scale degree you'll automatically be playing a minor pentatonic skill it's just the relative minor to whatever major key and so if the sixth scale degree of G major was e and you started there you would automatically be playing an E minor pentatonic scale now you can do this using the scale shape we just went over if you go down to the sixth scale degree of that major pentatonic scale or that major scale right here this e note on the twelfth fret of the low E string and all you have to do is play that exact same shape but now your root notes shift to where the e's are or the relative minor or 6th scale degree of that major scale and you can play that exact same shape and now you're playing an E minor pentatonic now listen to this I'm gonna play a G major chord and play that skill shape starting on a G note interval sound major check it out now I'm going to play an E minor chord and start on the e note with a sixth scale degree and listen to how the quality of this scale changes from major to minor that about sums up all the information that I want to give you in this lesson now I just want to go over all five shapes with you again quickly and just be mindful of where the major root notes are or in this case the g's and where the minor root notes are and that would be YZ in this case so let's just go over this first shape real quick don't have to have these down now if I start on that G and emphasize the other G notes it's gonna sound major I start on the E and emphasize inos it's gonna sound minor not the next shape up again if I emphasize these G notes some major I emphasize that II it'll sound minor there's another you right there again you don't have to have all these down quickly just take one a week or one a month and really work on it work on memorizing where the root notes are and memorizing what chord shape goes with each of these major pentatonic skills like we went over so you have this for that particular skill the next one up then just went to an e to give it a minor sound right next one there's an e right there you can emphasize tech you've a minor song is another one there's another one finally the last one and this is probably the best one to kind of get down the difference between minor and major sound because you can start on this you know right here for a minor sound and start on the G if you want a major sound this may seem like a lot of information for you and you know it is so take it one step at a time add this to your daily practice routine and work on just one scale shape at a time now to help you with this I have a jam track for you that I've made custom just to help you work on this stuff it's basically four measures of the G major chord followed by four measures of an E minor chord and as you're working on these shapes listen to how it sounds over the G major chord and you know and try to emphasize the G root notes and when it changes to an E minor listen to how the scale automatically changes sound and it kind of conforms to that minor chord let me give you a quick example of how you can use this jam track in your daily practice what I'll do is go to the first scale shape slowly and then I'll go through all five up and down the fretboard we you that's it for this lesson now remember this is more of a reference for the basic five pentatonic scale shapes don't feel like you have to have all of these down right now come back to this video as many times as you need to until you know you're pretty familiar with all five shapes and remember it's more important to have one of these shapes down really well and be able to use it than it is to you know explore all five but not really have them down really well to be able to use them now the guitar system explores pentatonic skills way more in depth than this so if this is something you're interested in you might want to check that out thanks for watching this lesson if you were to see more lessons like this just like the video or leave a comment below to let me know I just launched a brand new guitar lesson series they can get right now for free just go to guitar lessons comm slash free – series I'll see you later

37 thoughts on “The 5 Pentatonic Scale Shapes – Guitar Lesson”

  1. I have a question, why not just learn the g major scale instead of learning the pentatonic scale of g major? They consist of the same notes but the actual scale just has more, wouldn't that be better?

  2. Wow! I have been struggling with this for a while but you have just given my that light-bulb moment. Thank you x 100 for this lesson!

  3. Buddy you are a very kind person cause you are given away what others are charging for and for that as A new player I thank you very very much , Now When I get there I am coming back here and loading you up flush

  4. Thank you for such a clear, concise, understandable lesson. As a veteran beginner, I've been trying to figure out these patterns for years. I get it, I got it , I understand and thanks again. You might want to mention that the G chord shape goes with the 5th pattern.

  5. quick question… can that G major pentatonic scale only be played ont he 3rd fret? or does it apply everywhere on the fret board? this question applies to the other pentatonic scales as well

  6. Now I feel so.complete after learning this ….you are the saviour ………..this is the only video you need for pentatonics ……..

  7. in what situation do you use the different ones. they sound the same to me?? IDK if my ears are Fʻd up tho

  8. Not everyone plays well, not everyone teaches well. Even fewer can do both. You did a great job with this, I sent my girlfriend here instead of showing her myself.

  9. Just a thought: For a beginner, this video is well-made, but very confusing. WHY is the instructor moving all over the fretboard to teach the pentatonic shapes? The individual shapes remain the same regardless of the starting fret. Nor do the shapes have a particular 'key', they're just string patterns.
    Adding in the chord shapes just makes it more confusing for the beginner, as the student now presumes a given pentatonic shape should (or can) only be used with a given chord shape in a given key.
    Suggestion, keep it simple for beginners. Teach all the pentatonic shapes from the SAME place on the fretboard, to show how the patterns differ from that spot. Say, starting on the 6th string, 5th fret.

  10. I hate too mention it too you dude no offense but you are in in the Key of G Major. Pentatonic shapes are most generally used in a Minor Context, so it's kind of important to reveal to it the audience your taking into concideration are pretty much total scale beginers, most are a little advanced too a small degree starting out on an accoustic.

  11. I would like to see you teach me soukous Congolese music. I'm subscribed to you. Please. I think you would enjoy it. Please try for me

  12. Mann you just got me out the slump. I Love you sir. I'm African. So you know we play chords with the scales. For soukous music. You just helped me learn what those soukous teachers are doing with their fingers but would never show a friggin diagram. Thank you

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