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# Pentatonic Scale Pattern Names

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(@moonshine)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter

This question is in regards to the names of the patterns. My guitar instructor has shown me the pentatonic minor scales that he calls Pattern 1, Pattern 2, Pattern 3, etc... The Blues You Can Use book teaches these same patterns but has them numbered differently. An example would be Pattern 1 in BYCU is the same as Pattern 3 from my instructor, BYCU's pattern 2 is my instructor's pattern 4, etc. etc. I see that they all connect anyway, so does it matter what is called pattern 1 or pattern 4? Aside from confusing me of course.

(@cnev)
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Not sure it really matters but I've seen the same thing. Some call Pattern one the pattern that starts closest to the nut and some call pattern one the pattern that starts on the sixth string root.

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(@mess)
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EDIT: Scrybe is correct in his post below, so don't take me too seriously.

I can guess with certainty that one "Pattern 1" starts with the the SECOND finger on the root note rather than the first finger. That is really playing the pentatonic within the Locrian mode of the major scale.

If you see the fretboard in a series of patterns, it helps to learn the modes of the major scale and play major scales all the way up and down the neck. Then you can easily identify which pentatonic patterns "fit" inside those modes.

(@greybeard)
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I think that I would take, as pattern 1, the one that starts on the root note of the low E string. It seems logical to do that.
In Aminor, that would be the pattern
```5-----8 A-----C 5-----8 E-----G 5---7 C---D 5---7 G---A 5---7 D---E 5-----8 A-----C```

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(@danlasley)
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I think that I would take, as pattern 1, the one that starts on the root note of the low E string. It seems logical to do that.
In Aminor, that would be the pattern
```5-----8 A-----C 5-----8 E-----G 5---7 C---D 5---7 G---A 5---7 D---E 5-----8 A-----C```

That makes sense, but does pattern 2 start on the A string, or should that be pattern 4?

(@greybeard)
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To my way of thinking, the top of pattern 1 is the bottom of pattern 2. The top of pattern 2 is the bottom of pattern 3, etc.

The top of pattern 5 is the bottom of pattern 1.

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(@noteboat)
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I can guess with certainty that one "Pattern 1" starts with the the SECOND finger on the root note rather than the first finger. That is really playing the pentatonic within the Locrian mode of the major scale.

If you see the fretboard in a series of patterns, it helps to learn the modes of the major scale and play major scales all the way up and down the neck. Then you can easily identify which pentatonic patterns "fit" inside those modes.

That's a crock. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but in 30 years of teaching guitar I've learned that 95+% of guitarists who talk about modes either don't understand them, miscommunicate when speaking about them, or both.

It's a crock for two reasons: fingerings are NOT modes - you can play any mode in any fingering*. Seccond, modes are no practical aid to the pentatonic scale.

Although you can view a pentatonic scale as a major scale (or any mode) minus two notes, it doesn't make sense to learn modes as an aid to learning the pentatonic scale. Pentatonic scales are simpler; learning pentatonics through modes is like learning how to drive by first rebuilding carburetors.

As far as numbering, there's no accepted standard. I teach the minor pentatonic first, since that's what's most often used in blues and rock, and my pattern #1 puts the root under the first finger on the 6th/1st string. After the minor pentatonic is learned in all positions, I show how shifting the tonal center allows you to play it as a major pentatonic - but by that point we're no longer numbering scale fingeringss, as the student already knows them... I'll refer to positions (as in fret numbers) instead, and they'll vary depending on which key we're in.

* if you think modes are somehow tied into fingerings, consider this: any chromatic instrument with at least a two octave range can play ANY scale, in ANY key, no matter what it is (because all scales cover one octave). In any position on the neck, you can play just over two octaves. Therefore, any mode can be played in any position.

[and cnev - they can't be numbered by the one closest to the nut, because that's different for each key]

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(@cnev)
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Noteboat,

I was afraid of that, it was probably wrong of me to even reply other than from what I've seen there is no standard on what they call pattern one although most of the time I see the pattern that greybeard displayed called pattern 1, yet a prior teacher give me a different numbering if you could call it that. I have to look back on my notes to see what I'm missing.

Excuse the misinformation.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

(@clau20)
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Maybe an easier way to remember the pattern...

51: The root note is on the 5th string and you play it with your first finger
61: The root note is on the 6th string and you play it with your first finger
63: The root note is on the 6th string and you play it with your 3rd finger

The first number = the string
The second number = the finger on the root note

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(@moonshine)
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Topic starter

So can I only use pattern 1 by the nut and then go up the neck from there? Or can any pattern can be used anywhere. Also what determines which pattern is used?

(@voodoo_merman)
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Memorize the fretboard and the scale notes for the keys you want to use if you can. It is hard. But, you will reap endless benefits from this in the long run.

You shouldn't have to worry about pattern locations and all that if you ask me. I am not completely disregarding patterns as a successful way of creating music on a guitar. But, those who choose this method should be aware that it is a short-cut that actually never completely gets you to your destination.

Thats my two.

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(@dubyatf)
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I may be wrong (probably am) but the Minor Pentatonic patterns he shows in the beginning of the book are in the key of 'E'? The patterns interlock and you play them in order (Pattern 1, then 2...) as far as I can tell - he just happens to start out with showing the Minor Pentatonic in the key of E - or E Minor Pentatonic. If it was in some other key you'd start the succession of patterns further up the neck? I'm just asking - I'm a noob trying to figure all this stuff out and hopefully not derailing a great thread IMO! :)

(@greybeard)
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I may be wrong, but I think that Blues You Can Use starts out using A minor pentatonic.

All the 5 patterns intersect:
The top of pattern 1 is the bottom of pattern 2
The top of pattern 2 is the bottom of pattern 3
The top of pattern 3 is the bottom of pattern 4
The top of pattern 4 is the bottom of pattern 5
The top of pattern 5 is the bottom of pattern 1

and it doesn't matter which pattern is given what name, it will always be like this.

If you take the pattern, that I showed earlier, with the root note (the lowest tone on the low E string) on, for example, the 5th fret of the low E string, that would make the scale Aminor pentatonic. Moving the entire pattern up 2 frets would make the scale Bminor pentatonic - the root note is now on the low E, 7th fret (B). That is pattern 1 - pattern 5 joins onto pattern 1, on the frets below it. Pattern 2 joins onto pattern 1 on the frets above it.
You can see it here. Sorry about the pics, I need to make them more readable.

Hope that helps.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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(@scrybe)
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the confusion in this thread is a textbook example of why I gave up on learning scales by fingering patterns and switched to (a) learning the interval construction of scales and (b) relying on my ears more than my eyes.

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(@voodoo_merman)
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the confusion in this thread is a textbook example of why I gave up on learning scales by fingering patterns and switched to (a) learning the interval construction of scales and (b) relying on my ears more than my eyes.

+1

At this time I would like to tell you that NO MATTER WHAT...IT IS WITH GOD. HE IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. HIS WAY IS IN LOVE, THROUGH WHICH WE ALL ARE. IT IS TRULY -- A LOVE SUPREME --. John Coltrane

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