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Registered User
Joined: 03/16/06
Posts: 4
Registered User
Joined: 03/16/06
Posts: 4
12/06/2007 8:14 pm
I see there are some good questions and answers about learning guitar scales here. Below is a reprint of an article I wrote that covers this topic including the pentatonic scale. I think you'll find it very helpful. Also, I have a guitar theory Podcast which touches on both pentatonic and major scale patterns. To listen to these free guitar lessons go to either iTunes or and search for "guitar theory" or "Desi Serna."

How to learn guitar scales:

* 99% of popular music is Pentatonic and Major scales.
* Scales aren't just for playing guitar solos.
* Rhythm guitar players can benefit from scales too.

Guitar players don't need to learn a bunch of scales.
Guitar players need to learn the theory behind all the different ways of playing and applying the pentatonic and major scales. When a player learns guitar scale theory properly, they'll have 99% of the music they listen to covered. That's the truth! If a guitarist wants to explore additional guitar theory and more exotic scales later, then they'll have the proper music theory foundation to do it.

Pentatonic Scale Patterns On the Guitar
The pentatonic scale creates the simplest patterns on the guitar neck and the theory behind it makes it very easy to apply. Guitarists use the pentatonic boxes to play melodies, riffs, lead guitar solos and bass lines. All styles of popular music utilize this essential guitar scale including pop, rock, blues, country and jazz. Some classic songs that utilize the pentatonic scale, and make great learning material for any guitar theory program, include:

“Lowrider” War (G minor pentatonic scale)
“Lady Marmalade” Patti LaBelle (G minor pentatonic scale)
“Susie Q” Creedence Clearwater Revival (E minor pentatonic scale)
“My Girl” The Temptations (C major pentatonic scale)
“Wish You Were Here” Pink Floyd (G major pentatonic scale)
“Tweezer” Phish (A minor pentatonic scale)
“Purple Haze” Jimi Hendrix (E minor pentatonic scale)
“Breakdown” Tom Petty (A minor pentatonic scale)
“Pawn Shop” Sublime (E minor pentatonic scale)
“Turn Off the Light” Nelly Furtado (E minor pentatonic scale)
“Honky Tonk Women” The Rolling Stones (G major pentatonic scale)
“Hey Joe” Jimi Hendrix (E minor pentatonic scale)
“Yellow Ledbetter” Pearl Jam (E major pentatonic scale)
“Sunshine of Your Love” Cream (D minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Baby Please Don’t Go” Them/Van Morrison (F minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Iron Man” Black Sabbath (B minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Roadhouse Blues” The Doors (E minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Heartbreaker” Led Zeppelin (A minor pentatonic "blues scale")
“Maggie May” Rod Stewart (D major pentatonic scale)
“Sir Duke” Stevie Wonder (B major pentatonic "blues scale")

Rhythm Guitar Players Use the Pentatonic Scale Too
The purpose of learning how to play the pentatonic scale, or any scale for that matter, isn't limited to guitar riffs and solos. Even rhythm guitar players can study guitar theory and utilize occasional scale phrases. Guitar theory further teaches that pentatonic scale notes can be added to basic chords and create rich new sounds.

Compose On the Guitar with Pentatonic Scale Theory
There's one more thing about learning the pentatonic scale all serious guitar players should take into consideration. The pentatonic scale isn't a scale unique to only fretted instruments. All instruments utilize music theory and the pentatonic scale including singers. Many songs have pentatonic scale vocal melodies, keyboard parts, horn parts and more. These things can be worked out and arranged on guitar with the right music theory knowledge.

Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna (Google me!)
Scales, Chords, Progressions, Modes and More