In the first four parts of Guitar Goblin’s five-part series on the minor pentatonic scale, we have covered quite a bit of ground. So far, we have learned four forms of the minor pentatonic scale. We have learned how to build each form, some musical theory, and, of course, given you some patterns and exercises to practice.
Now, in Part 5, we will learn the fifth and final form of the minor pentatonic scale. Grab your guitar and let’s get to work!
The Final Form
The fifth and final form of the minor pentatonic scale begins with the fifth tone of the scale. Remember that the E minor pentatonic scale is spelled E – G – A – B – D – E. D is the fifth tone of the scale, so we will learn the fifth form from D on the 10th fret of the low E string.
So, position 5 (Form 5) would be played from D to D like this:
What do you notice about the Fifth Form of the minor pentatonic scale compared to the other four forms? You may have noticed that the fifth form of the minor pentatonic scale is very symmetrical in its layout. This should make it easy to remember.
The scale follows the finger pattern 2 – 4, 2 – 4 | 1 – 4, 1 – 4 | 2 – 4, 2 – 4 up to the D on the high E-string.
Practicing the Fifth Form
Now, let’s check out some strategies we can use to practice the Fifth Form of the Minor Pentatonic Scale. We will continue to practice the same strategies we have used to practice the other forms of the scale.
Finding the Root
The root note of the Fifth Form is the second tone of the scale. For example, in our above example of the E minor pentatonic scale, the root E is found on the 12th fret of the low E string and on the 9th fret of the G string.
If we move the scale to G on the 3rd fret of the low E string, which note will be the root and where will it be located?
As we have done previously, practice the Fifth Form from every starting location and make sure you take the time to identify where the root notes are found.
A New Pattern
In each part of Guitar Goblin’s Five-Part Series, we have learned a new practice pattern we can apply to each of the forms of the scale. Here is a new pattern to practice with the fifth form of the minor pentatonic scale:
Practicing patterns like this is an excellent way to build your skills and dexterity. Like we have done previously, you can apply this pattern to the other four forms of the scale.
Don’t Forget to Link
Now that you have all five forms of the minor pentatonic scale under your fingers, you want to link all 5 Forms together. You can use all of the linking strategies we have practiced previously to help you here.
Next, try to play the Minor Pentatonic scale on one string starting from the open position. For example, here is the E minor pentatonic scale starting from the open E string:
And here is the scale along the open D string:
Being able to combine all five forms across the fretboard will provide you with a road map to play in whatever key you like. Learning to do this in any key will give you an understanding you didn’t have before. Things will start to click.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing with a metronome or a drum machine is vital to developing good timing. That is your meat and potatoes. Fortunately, your vegetables can double as dessert – jamming with backing tracks!
You can literally search any genre + key + “backing track” in YouTube to practice improvising with scales. You’ll sound horrible at first. That’s ok and to be expected. As you keep at it, you’ll start to realize what sounds good and what doesn’t. The more you do it, the better you’ll sound.
Start practicing your scales with the virtual metronome below. If you need help with timing, here is a great video from Steve Stine over at Guitar Zoom.
Here Is An Interactive Metronome You Can Use Right Away:
Congratulations! Having reached this point, you should have now learned all Five Forms of the Minor Pentatonic Scale. Now it’s time to start improvising and writing music.
Now, I have a bonus for you. Check out this article to understand how the pentatonics apply to specific riffs you’re sure to have heard of.
If you enjoyed this five-part series, please check out our other articles on guitar and music theory-related topics!