The Minor Pentatonic Scale - Pattern 2
If you want to learn to play Blues Lead Guitar, this is where to start
The notes in The Minor Pentatonic Scale Pattern 2 are exactly the same notes we had in Pattern 1, so many people wonder why we bother learning them! The reason is that different patterns make certain licks and phrases work better and also because the way the guitar 'works' we have each note in more than one place and that can give us some really cool options when improvising - you'll get a feel for it as we do it. Doing is always more effective than thinking ;)
Before you start moving up the neck you should be sure that you have got all your licks working for you in Pattern 1 of the Minor Pentatonic - you should be able to USE them, not just KNOW them. Got it? There is NO USE in learning new patterns until you can IMPROVISE in the first one! You want to play solos not scales, right?
As discussed in the video there are quite a few different fingering options for playing this position. It is important to realize that when you play scales up and down you will use a consistent fingering, but when you improvise the fingering is not important at all - you can use whatever finger you like!
When you practice your scales I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you play them starting and ending on the lowest root note (lowest in pitch that is, not physically lowest!). In this pattern the lowest root note is on String 4, so you will start on that note, work your way up the scale as far as you can, then go down as low as you can and then back up to the root note. It's a pretty big deal for a few reasons:
1. It will help you get the sound of the scale in your ear
2. It will help you memorize the root note which will help you play it in other keys and
3. You'll find joining the patterns together a lot easier.
Below is the neck diagram, remember to play it VERY SLOWLY, follow the TAB below each neck diagram and get it right when you first try and learn it - mistakes are likely to stay with you a long time!
Minor Pentatonic (Pattern 2)
This shape has many cool blues licks in it, should be the second shape you learn.
In the key of A
Start and end on the lowest root note
Root Note Focus
Really make sure that you notice the root note (on the 4th string) is the same note that you played with your third finger in Pattern 1. It's really important to have this in your head. We will be joining the patterns together soon - so get that Root Note firmly in your minds eye right now!
Next lesson we're going to learn some licks in Pattern 2.
Remember that listening to great Blues is an essential part of the course, so try and check out all my recommended albums, they're the best of the best!
Freddie King - Lets Hide Away and Dance Away (1961)
Freddie King (one of the great '3 Kings' with Albert and B.B.) was a Texas blues pioneer and was a huge influence on young SRV. This album is all instrumental and features great writing as well as incredible playing.
Here's a sample backing track from my Jam Blues II collection, a Blues in A in the style of BB King. You can download and jam over it and if you enjoy it, please consider buying the rest of the album, they're all great fun for jamming!
You could practice playing your scale up and down over the backing track - will help you understand the quality of each note of the scale, and help you develop your timing and groove. Once you got it down you might like to try mixing the notes up a bit too!
Essential Blues Lead Guitar Course DVD set
Blues Lead Guitar Course DVD (with bonus content and Jam CD) available in The Justinguitar Store.