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piratelove38
(@piratelove38)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Topic starter  

Is it true that every minor pentatonic scale has 5 positions? I think I just had a heart attack....That means I have to learn...what!...25 positions!! :shock:

Oh the humanity!

~Alma


   
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causnorign
(@causnorign)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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If you worry about how much you have to learn you'll just depress yourself. Take your time learning and enjoy the ride :)


   
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Voidious
(@voidious)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 151
 

Isn't that multiplied by 12 for knowing it in every key? :D Just kidding... Really, though, there's only one pentatonic minor (er, right?), shifted for whatever key you're in, and many different ways of fingering it.

I like to think by the time I'm done learning the fretboard and playing scales all over it, the options available for playing those scales will be second nature anyway. Slowly but steadily, that seems to be the case so far for me... Don't fret it (har har).

-- Voidious


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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You are making it more difficult than it is. Once you learn the Minor Pentatonic scale in one key, you simply move up or down the neck. The box patterns and fingering remain the same.

Here are the 5 positions of the Minor Pentatonic scale in the key of G:

The Minor Pentatonic scale in the key of G has just 5 notes, G, Bb, C, D, and F. Look carefully at each of those five box positions and find the notes on your guitar. You will see they are all just G, Bb, C, D, and F. So you are always just playing five notes in this scale, that is all. But knowing the positions allows you to play the scale higher or lower on your guitar. The notes are the same, but the tone is different. You might start a solo down low at the 1st position at the 3rd fret (always based on the position of your index finger). Now you want to add excitement to your solo by going to higher notes. So you shift up to the 4th position at the 10th fret. You are still playing the same exact notes, but the tone is higher. Higher tones generally give a feeling of excitement. Lower notes give a feeling of "heaviness". This is how you add tension and excitement to your solos.

But once you learn these five positions in G, switching to another key is simple. If you want to play in the key of A, simply shift all five box positions up one whole step or 2 frets on guitar. Now position #1 will be at the 5 fret, position #4 will be at the 12th fret. Simple. Want to go to the key of B?? Simply move up another 2 frets. Easy

I would recommend learning the 1st and 4th positions first. These are the most commonly played positions because they are very easy to fret. Notice the index finger leads in these positions.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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falcon1
(@falcon1)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 176
 

Wes, is there a reason why that pictures scale placement is different from what I have seen and learned from other places? For example, if you go to here: http://www.cyberfret.com/scales/minor-pentatonic/index.php , it has a slightly different scale, which is what I learned. I am ready to start learning the other positions, but I want to make sure I am going to be learning the right thing...


   
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Voidious
(@voidious)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 151
 

Those fingerings are the exact same ones Wes posted (well, once you rotate them...). What do you see that's different about them? Those 5 "shapes" can each be placed anywhere along the neck (giving you a different key in each case).

-- Voidious


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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The notes are correct, but the Roman numerals are misleading. The position of a box scale is always based on the position of the index finger. So 1st position is at the 3rd fret, 2nd position is correct at 5th fret, 3rd position should be shown as 8th fret (not 10th), 4th position is identified correctly as 10th fret, and 5th position should be shown as 12th fret. I think they are trying to demonstrate the fret the Root note G will be found at, identified by the grey square over the note.

Go by the position (the fret) of your index finger and you will never be confused. :D

And not to confuse newbies to guitar, the Minor Pentatonic in G will always be the notes G, Bb, C, D, and F, but the order changes as you change box positions. But still, these are the only notes you use in this particular key. If you go to A, all boxes shift up one whole note as also do the notes themselves. So in the A Minor Pentatonic your five notes are A, C, D, E, and G (each note one whole step higher than the key of G).

Hope I haven't confused you.

Wes

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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falcon1
(@falcon1)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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:oops: Whoops...for some reason I was looking at the picture Wes posted upside down, instead of looking at it like a tab (sort of...). A bit embarrassed, but oh well...I get it now...thanks :)


   
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causnorign
(@causnorign)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Not that its important (well maybe it is) but if you look closely at Wes' diagrams you'll see that each form starts with the end of the one before it. In other words if you were to superimpose the scales they'd all overlap.


   
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Ignar Hillström
(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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You just have to learn the notes. One fret up is a semi-note up, one fret down is a semi-tone down. One string up is a P4 up, unless you go the B-string, then it's a M3 up. It's the same on all strings. Just learn that and you'll know all scales in all positions.


   
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slejhamer
(@slejhamer)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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You just have to learn the notes. One fret up is a semi-note up, one fret down is a semi-tone down. One string up is a P4 up, unless you go the B-string, then it's a M3 up. It's the same on all strings. Just learn that and you'll know all scales in all positions.

Intervals.

+1

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Yes, the box patterns simply interconnect to each other.
G Minor Pentatonic 1st box position
e--------------------------------3--6- G, Bb
b--------------------------3--6------- D, F
g--------------------3--5------------- Bb, C
d--------------3--5------------------- F, G
a--------3--5------------------------- C, D
e--3--6------------------------------- G, Bb

G Minor Pentatonic 2nd box position
e--------------------------------6--8- Bb, C
b--------------------------6--8------- F, G
g--------------------5--7------------- C, D
d--------------5--8------------------- G, Bb
a--------5--8------------------------- D, F
e--6--8------------------------------- Bb, C

But see that no matter which position you are playing in, you are still only playing the notes G, Bb, C, D, and F. The order changes, but the notes are the same.

Sometimes teachers will recommend different fingering for each box. I saw a lesson by Zakk Wylde in a guitar magazine, he plays each box position with the index and ring fingers only. But he is a pretty big guy with large hands. Usually it is best to assign one finger per fret. So if you play the 1st box/position your fingering would be:

1-4 (1st string )
1-4 (2nd string )
1-3 (3rd string )
1-3 (4th string )
1-3 (5th string )
1-4 (6th string )

The fingering for the 2nd box or position would be

2-4 (1st string )
2-4 (2nd string )
1-3 (3rd string )
1-4 (4th string )
1-4 (5th string )
2-4 (6th string )

1= index finger
2= middle finger
3= ring finger
4= pinky finger

These are traditional fingerings for these boxes, but do not be afraid to try other fingerings. Myself, I have always found the 3rd box position the most difficult to play. I like to use this fingering for the 3rd box

1-3 (1st string)
1-4 (2nd string)
1-3 (3rd string) a stretch is necessary here
1-3 (4th string)
1-3 (5th string)
1-3 (6th string)

The 5 boxes are good to know, but in reality most guitarists move through the boxes instead of just playing straight up from the 6th string to the 1st. For instance, here is a run that starts in the 3rd box and moves through the 4th, 5th, and ends at the 1st position G Minor Pentatonic scale:


3rd pos. 4th 5th 1st
e-------------------------------------13/-15-
b-------------------------11/-13--15---------
g-----------------10--12---------------------
d------8—-10/-12-----------------------------
a--10----------------------------------------
e--------------------------------------------
r i r r i m i i m i i

i= index finger
m= middle finger
r= ring finger
p= pinky finger
/= slide

OK, this is a very common two octave run starting on the Root note G and ending on the Root note G two octaves higher. The run starts in the 3rd box or position of the G Minor Pentatonic, slides into the 4th box or position, then the 5th box or position, and finally slides into the 1st box position. All boxes repeat 12 frets up the neck, so you play the 1st box at the 3rd fret, but you also have the same box starting at the 15th fret. It is just one octave higher.

There are a couple of reasons to do this, first the fingering is very easy, I did not have to use the pinky or make any long stretches. But also, the slides from one position to another sound very nice and add a lot of color. Just running straight up a scale sounds pretty boring. Little slides like this can make your scale runs sound much more exciting.

Hope that helped.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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