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Bluegrass Guitar Lessons: The Pentatonic Scales

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gonna move into some different sort of
scales now.
We worked on major scales using all six
with access to four frets, four fingers.
And the, we talked about the basic the way
a lot of people sing the major scale is
Do, Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do.
And, another way to think about that is in
One, two, three, four, one, two, three,
four, five, six,
seven, and then back to one again.
So just a quick little run through like
with C again.
That's well, that's C, there's your one.
And so, in the sixth string concept,
beyond the octave it starts on the E as a
So, three, four, five, six, seven,
one and then on.
And so, wha, the next sort of batch of
scales that we're gonna work on
are called pentatonic scales.
And the reason they're called that is
because there's,
it's the pentatonic word means the five
tones, right?
So it starts, starting on the one note,
from the key of G now, start with G.
You know our G, G major scale with the
open strings looks like this.
That's, that's one octave.
Beyond the octaves.
Okay that,
that gets us to where we are now.
In the pentatonic scale uses one, two,
three, five, six and then back to one.
once again, I want you to just learn from,
from watching me here.
I want to show it to you slowly.
And, what you'll notice about this G
pentatonic scale with,
with with open strings is that it, it,
creates a cool kind of pattern.
Starting on the third fret, the G, then
open, then the second fret,
open D string, second fret, open G string,
second fret,
open B string, third fret, open E string,
third fret.
So, that uses all, all six strings.
That's two octaves worth of the pentatonic
scale in G.
Once again up and down.
And then,
once again I'm encouraging you to learn,
to learn the scale forms from watching me.
And I will show you some more.
And, again, as you practice, we talked
earlier you know, moving on and
making things a little more challenging,
and, and
how to really build this this technique
for flat picking.
We're going to apply some new the picking
So we, you know we talked about three
different picking patterns, the eighths,
the straight eighths the the dotted
eighths or swung eighths, shuffle,
whatever you want to call it.
And then the little potato thing.
So it's starting with the potatoes.
You know, and running the scales just
helps with those picking patterns,
helps you, helps your right hand develop a
sense of the change in the strings.
And again you, like we've said from the
first lesson,
you want all these notes to ring as
clearly and as strongly as possible,
so you know, here's dotted eighth
So on.
Or you know, you can as you,
as you just mess around with these, this,
this I want you to just sort of figure out
ways to practice these things so you can,
you can stay on the notes a little longer.
It's up to you.
And so that's G, there.
And we're going to move it right into C,
in this lesson here.
And if you remember our C scale.
There's one, two, three, one, two,
three, four, five, six, seven, back to
So the pentatonic scale in C again is one
then two, open D string,
second fret open G string, second fret for
the sixth note A.
And then back to one.
And then continuing with
our beyond the octave thought for all six
strings is, if we were to start open E,
which is the third, there's your, there's
your C or your one.
So here it is slow.
That's open to third, open to third twice.
You get you back
to C and then,
and then,
That was an open E to the third,
finally on the third fret G.
And these, these just like we said the
major scale forms are so important for,
for the way fiddle tunes are, are played
on the guitar.
And these pentatonic scales equally,
equally as much.
We're gonna, I'll show you some melodies
later on.
It's, you know, once your hands, and then
the pick, sorta get used to those forms,
you know, these, just, it'll make these,
learning these tunes, a lot easier.
We'll move on now.
Moving right along now.
We're gonna look at the pentatonic scale
form for D, a D-scale and an A-scale.
And just a quick review, a D-major scale.
Get your hands back into that, that sort
of form.
And with all six strings.
And below the octave.
Takes us down to the low E.
We want to use as many notes, again we're
trying to access as many notes in the D
scale with, within those four frets as
So, pentatonic theory is 1, 2, 3, 5, 6,
1, and if your new to this sort, you know,
left hand technique because it employs a
little more of the pinky now,
it's gonna be a little bit of a challenge.
But that's, that's why these things are so
great to practice,
just because it gives, it sort of gives a
framework within to work, there.
So starting, start on the low E.
And you have a choice here you'll notice
that, if you start on D, a one, and the
second degree is, the E.
When you get up,
the sixth note is B, which is also there
and it's also open.
You know can, I would encourage you to use
your pinky, just to build, you know?
This, this, these exist for the purpose of
helping us build technique.
So, you know, the pinky's gonna be you
Getting your hand out there is gonna, is
gonna pay off, you know?
To get that out there.
And again you run these
run different picking patterns.
And you know, just try to, try to memorize
how these scales feel more than anything.
The next one is the key of, key of A.
So starting on the the A,
there's A is our one.
So we go B, second fret is the two.
And we gotta big pinky note out there on
the C-sharp.
The third degree, the fifth degree, sixth
Our five notes, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and then
back to 1.
So here's the, here's the, all six strings
starting on a low E.
And a four fret access concept there.
There's slower, from the top down slower.
Starting with F sharp.
One thing you may do, and
we’ll talk about this later, as, as things
there’s within that scale form is, just
those notes right there.
It's a pretty challenging move if your
left hand technique is not what it
needs to be.
It's a, a good way to determine if you, if
you need work or not.
You know, so,
always, always come back to those starting
points of things we discussed a while ago.
You wanna, you try to realize a solid tone
for every note.
And if, if, if your left-hand technique is
solid, you'll be able to hear those.
If not, it'll be buzzy.
So that's D and A we'll move on.
We're moving on now to the last set in
this little series of pentatonic scales.
We're going to look at F and E.
Starting with F.
Here's your basic major
scale within one octave.
And so the pentatonic, one, two, five,
I'm sorry, one, two, three, five, six,
So, using all six strings looks like this.
A little slower.
Open A string.
Open D string.
Open G string.
One thing you'll notice
about a lot of these pentatonic scales is
that it sort of follows the chord shape.
So, again,
this is kind of like what we were talking
You'll see this stuff start kind of paying
off, you know,
if you're comfortable with that chord
That F, there's your pentatonic scale just
right in there.
And one thing about good technique,
left hand and right hand, is that you
shouldn't have to move too much, you know,
once things are set, once things are sorta
where they need to be.
Then, you know, your fingers can do the
walking at that point.
So once again, all the way from the top.
There's F.
And again, I'm just doing alternate
picking pattern for just running it and
then I can add other patterns later on
just to mix things up.
So, that gets us back down to the last one
it's gonna employ some more pinky stuff,
so it's gonna be a challenge.
It uses the third degree is this G-sharp.
Down here,
there's our basic low scale.
Our major scale, do, re, mi, fa, so, la,
ti, do.
Or one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, one. So the pentatonic is 1, 2, 3,
5, 6.
One, so here's the full shape.
You may start noticing one of the things
that's cool about these pentatonic scales
is that you'll see patterns develop within
the neck of the guitar.
And that's real important when we start
improvising and
playing tunes later, and this E is no
exception there.
You'll see that you start open and then
you've got second and fourth fret.
You know, three strings in a row.
You know, and it's one thing, because
you're using the pinky, that's another
spot to kind of isolate, if you want to.
you also have a choice because it uses
this B again.
Just like, I think, it was the D that we
talked about a minute ago or the A.
Anything that uses the B.
You can choose to fret it, or you can
choose to play it open.
I'm going to encourage you to go the, you
know, the harder route and use your pinky.
That's a really big stretch right there.
You know,
your left hand technique needs to pretty
solid to pull those off, and if it's not,
again, it's just something to work on.
That's why we've got this here.
All right.
There's all the major pentatonic scales
that are, you know,
gonna be used a lot as we learned a lot
about flat picking.