The minor pentatonic scale is the most common scale used in rock and blues guitar playing.
Pentatonic means five tones (or notes).
This five tone scale is constructed using the 1st, flatted 3rd, 4th, 5th, and flatted 7th notes of the major scale as shown in the diagram below.
There are five positions of the minor pentatonic scale and as illustrated in the image below (A Minor Pentatonic Scale – Five Positions), when they are linked together they cover the entire fretboard of the guitar.
If you are just starting out learning the minor pentatonic scale you should concentrate on mastering the Position 1 shape (E shape) before moving on to the other positions. In fact, Position 1 of the minor pentatonic scale is by far the most used scale in rock and blues music.
A Minor Pentatonic Scale exercises
The five positions of the A Minor Pentatonic Scale are represented below in guitar tablature. Practice each of these positions while aiming to achieve an even picking action. Start slowly at first and gradually build up speed as you become more comfortable. You can play the notes using all down strokes of the pick at first if you wish, but it is imperative that you start practicing these scales using alternate picking (i.e. down, up, down, up) as soon as possible. Remember to master Position 1 before moving on to the other four postions.