Lead Guitar 101 - 1 - Video

You must have the Adobe Flash Player installed to view this player.

1 - Minor Pentatonic Scale


Minor Pentatonic Scale

Lesson Goals:

♦ Learn "pattern" for the minor pentatonic scale
♦ Learn fingering for the scale
♦ Understand location of "root" note for the scale


Welcome to Lead Guitar 101! If you are here, we are going to assume that you already have a firm grasp on basic guitar knowledge and/or, have completed the "Beginner Guitar Lessons" course. If not, you may want to go back and review, if we discuss concepts throughout Lead Guitar 101 that you are not familiar with.

The purpose of this course is to give you the basic tools you need to start playing lead guitar. We are starting from the very beginning, and the concepts that you learn while taking this course are designed to take you to a level that you can begin to utilize the "Cool Lick" series and beyond.

In the Beginner Guitar course we emphasized the importance of visualization on the guitar. It is the act of committing "patterns" and "shapes" of chord patterns and lead scales to memory that will help you advance on the guitar quickly. This is also a great way of learning guitar concepts from a practical, "real life", playing point of view, without having to spend years learning music theory.


We will start off by learning the pattern for the "Minor Pentatonic" scale. This scale is literally the foundation of learning to play rock and blues, so it is one of the most important ones that you will learn!

Look at the diagram below.

101 minor pentatonic 01



Note that this is only the "pattern" for the scale. We are not concerned, at this point, where on the guitar neck it is played.

This scale is easily played by remembering the "each finger gets a fret" rule that we discussed in the Beginner Guitar Lessons course. The numbers on the diagram above illustrate the fingering to be used when playing this scale.

Take a moment to play through it, starting first on the lowest note of the scale on the 6th string, and ascending to the highest note. You can play it anywhere on the neck you choose.

Now play it in reverse, starting on the highest note on the 1st string, and descending backwards.

One way of memorizing this scale pattern is to remember the fingering pattern. In this case, starting on the 6th string, it is:

1 - 4 , 1 - 3 , 1 - 3 , 1 - 3 , 1 - 4 , 1 - 4


Root Note

Note the "root" note of the scale as indicated above. The root note of this scale is the lowest note on the 6th string. The root note is used to name the particular key that this scale is played in.

For example: If the root note was on the 5th fret of the 6th string, which is an "A" note, the scale would be an "A" minor pentatonic scale.

If you are playing a rock or blues song that is in the key of "A", then you could use this scale pattern to play lead in the song. All you would have to do is start the pattern on the 5th fret of the 6th string (A).

To illustrate further, if you know that a song is being played in the key of "C", and you wanted to play lead in that song, you could apply this scale pattern, starting on the 8th fret of the 6th string (C), and play the notes in the scale pattern.


Playing Lead Guitar

Playing lead guitar is simply a matter of knowing certain scale "patterns", and where to apply those patterns. By knowing the root note of the scale pattern, and the key the song is being played in, you can just shift the pattern to the appropriate fret position to match the song's key.

Once you know the pattern, then you develop your lead playing skills by taking the notes in the scale pattern, and playing them in various combinations with different techniques, and turning them into guitar "licks".

You will initially learn to play guitar "licks" that other guitarists play, then through practice and application, you will start to play licks that you come up with on your own. The possibilities are limitless!