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The Minor Pentatonic Scale

The third essential scale is the minor pentatonic scale. This scale is probably the most commonly used scale amongst guitar players. It’s very easy to learn and has a lot of applications in many genres of music.

If you don’t know what a pentatonic scale is, you should read the previous article on The Major Pentatonic Scale.

How The Minor Pentatonic Scale Is Made

The minor pentatonic scale comes directly from our minor scale. All you have to do is remove the 2nd and 6th scale degrees from the minor scale. Once these two notes are removed, you’re left with a minor pentatonic scale. In an A minor scale, the 2nd scale degree is a B and the 6th is an F. Remove these two notes and you’re left with A C D E G, which is an A minor pentatonic scale.

How The Minor Pentatonic Scale Is Made

Relative Major & Minor Pentatonic Scales

Just like the minor scale, the minor pentatonic scale has a relative major pentatonic scale. This can be found using the same method used to find the relative major of the minor scale. The relative major pentatonic of the A minor pentatonic scale is C major.

Check out this article on The Minor Scale if you need more clarification.

C Major & A Minor Pentatonic Scales

Here are the most commonly used shapes for the C major pentatonic and A minor pentatonic scales. The black dots represent the root notes (the C notes in the C major pentatonic scale and the A notes in the A minor pentatonic scale) of each scale.

C Major & A Minor Pentatonic Scales

Extended A Minor Pentatonic Scale

Since the C major and A minor pentatonic scales share the same notes, we can put the two shapes together to create an extended A minor pentatonic scale shape.

Extended A Minor Pentatonic Scale

The A Minor Scale & The A Minor Pentatonic Scale

This shape is actually essentially the same as the extended minor scale. It just omits the 2nd and 6th scale degrees. The red notes (and the black notes) dictate which notes are pentatonic within the A minor scale.

The A Minor Scale & The A Minor Pentatonic Scale

Extended Scale Horizontal View

Here’s another way to visualize the scale shape. Note the red (pentatonic) and black (root) notes within the minor scale shape. For the scale to be pentatonic, you would just have to omit the white notes in this shape.

A Minor Pentatonic Horizontal View

Using The Extended Minor Pentatonic Scale Shape In Other Keys

Just like the other scale shapes we looked at, you can move this entire shape to other keys as well. Just move the shape so that the root notes line up with the root note of the key you want to play in. If you wanted to use this scale shape in the key of B minor, you would move the entire shape up 2 frets.

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