Learn how to play Pentatonic Scales for Guitar

First off, what are Pentatonic Scales?

A note is any one string played at any one fret, including the six open strings.
Pentatonic Scales
then are five-note scales that give you a selection of notes to make solos from.
There are lots of scales, but the Pentatonic Scales are easy to learn and widely used in Rock, Blues, Country and Jazz music.

There are two common types: the Minor Pentatonic and Major Pentatonic Scales.
Each makes a different sounding solo.

The Minor Pentatonic Scale gives the Blues sound, kind of sad or edgy–even good for Heavy Metal music.
The Major Pentatonic Scale is happier sounding (loosely speaking) and maybe more used in Country music (think of the “Chicken Reel” or “Amazing Grace”), although either can be used in any music genre.

What are the moveable Pentatonic Scale or Box Patterns?

There are five patterns that can be moved across the fret board in any key. They are 3 to 4 fret stretches (if they were wider apart, they’d be harder to play with your four fingers), and each pattern has 12 notes–two per string (pictured below).
The way to use them is to memorize each one; so you can line them up on your fretboard and play a solo.

Pentatonic Scale Guitar Solo Trainer Pattern Guide
This an image of a Box Pentatonic Pattern. It has 12 notes; two per string. The thinnest string called string 1 or "E string" is pictured at the top of the pattern and string 6 or the other "E string" is drawn at the bottom. The vertical lines represent frets. This one pattern can be used any where across the fretboard!

A little quiz. (mouse over question for answer.)

Q 1. What is a note?

Q 2. What are 5 note scales called?

Q 3. What are 2 common Pentatonic Scales?

Q 4. How many notes in a Box Pattern?

Q 5. What is the best way to use the Box Patterns?

Ready for More? Click here for Learning the Fretboard.