Tag Archives: Transposable Guitar Scales

Phrygian Scale Guitar

The Phrygian modal scale is based on the third degree of the major scale. (To see how modal scales are formed, see this post: Guitar Modes)

The Phrygian mode, whilst not as commonly used in improvisation as the Dorian and Mixolydian modes, nevertheless has its own distinctive sound, and is gaining popularity particularly in rock guitar soloing.

Phrygian Scale Guitar Diagram

phrygian mode guitar diagram

2 Octave Phrygian Scale Guitar Diagram

The above diagram shows perhaps the most commonly used way of playing a Phrygian modal scale on the guitar.

E Phrygian Scale

To play an E phrygian scale, play the above shape at the twelfth fret. See below for tab and notation.

Phrygian Scale Tab

phrygian scale tab

E Phrygian scale Tab

guitar modes backing tracks

Guitar Modes Backing Tracks by GuitarScales.info

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Related Pages

Guitar Modes

Guitar Modes Backing Tracks

Major Scale Guitar

Major Scale Guitar

On this page you’ll find major scale guitar TAB, notation and fretboard diagrams. The major scale is one of the most commonly used scales in lead guitar playing. Along with the pentatonic scale, it is one of the first scales a guitarist will learn.

Here you’ll learn how to play the major scale in every key, using moveable fretboard diagrams. You’ll also find tab for playing a C major scale in 1 and 2 octaves.

At the bottom of the page you’ll also find how each major scale shape can also be used to play 6 other scales! Continue reading

Pentatonic Scale Guitar

Pentatonic Scale Guitar: the Ultimate Guide – Learn & Master Major & Minor Pentatonic Scales On Your Guitar

A pentatonic scale guitar shape* is one of the first things a beginner guitarist will learn. On this page you’ll learn how to play pentatonic scales in different positions on the guitar fingerboard.

You’ll also learn about the notes in a pentatonic scale, and the difference between minor and major pentatonic scales…

*Rather than learning the actual notes of a scale, guitarists often learn scales in ‘shapes’ that can be moved up and down the fretboard. The shapes stay the same, but the notes change depending on where the hand is positioned. Sound complicated? Don’t worry, it’s not; you’ll soon be using the pentatonic scale like a pro!

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Pentatonic Scale Guitar Introduction

Pentatonic scales consist of five notes (hence the name). Pentatonic scales are mainly used in blues, rock and jazz guitar improvisation, but they crop up in just about every other form of music too.

There are actually two pentatonic scales: the minor pentatonic, and the major pentatonic. This page shows you how to play both types.

On this page you’ll find out how to play pentatonic scales with any root note, using transposable fretboard diagrams. The scales are also shown in tab and notation.

Once you’ve mastered pentatonic scales, you can use them to improvise your own guitar solo using the backing track provided.

Related Articles at Guitar Command

Pentatonic scales, in both minor and major form, are shown below as transposable shapes and in guitar TAB / notation.

Although the tabs and notation are for A minor and A major pentatonic scales, the shapes and fingerings for these guitar scales are transposable.

This means that they can also be used to play pentatonic scales in ANY key.

The white notes on the diagrams and the ‘R’ letter on the tab represent the root note of the scale.

The notes in an A minor pentatonic scale are: A C D E G

The notes in an A major pentatonic scale are: A, B, C#, E, F# (Pentatonic major scales are covered further down this page).

Minor Pentatonic Scales For Guitar

Minor pentatonic scales are among the most commonly used scales for lead guitar improvising. Usually, when guitarists refer to ‘pentatonic scales’, they are talking about minor pentatonic scales.

Minor Pentatonic Scale Guitar Diagrams

Below are the five main pentatonic scale shapes for guitar. These shapes are transposable, i.e. they can be moved up and down the guitar fretboard to play pentatonic scales in any key.

Pentatonic Scale Shapes For Guitar

Pentatonic Scale Shapes For Guitar

Don’t forget to try the scales out using the backing track further down the page!

Guitar Scales Chart

Guitar Command Scales Chart Book – A comprehensive guide to guitar scales.

How To Use The Pentatonic Scale Shapes

In the diagrams above, the root note of the scale is shown with a white circle. If you know where the notes are on a guitar fretboard, you can use the shapes to play any minor pentatonic scale. See where the notes are on a guitar fretboard here: Guitar Notes

Example: To play an A minor pentatonic scale

Because you know that the fifth fret on the sixth string is an A, you can use shape 1 at fifth position, because the ‘R’ in the diagram is positioned over the A on the fretboard.

Likewise you could play shape 4 at twelfth position because the shape has an ‘R’ on the fifth string, and the twelfth fret on the fifth string is an A.

To play an A minor pentatonic using the other shapes, play shape 2 in 7th position (i.e. so you play the A at the 7th fret of the 4th string with your 1st (index) finger), shape 3 in 9th position or shape 5 in 2nd position. The tabs below show the A minor pentatonic scale being played with each shape.

If you wished to play a B minor pentatonic, you would play the same shapes 2 frets higher than if were playing A minor scales, e.g. shape 1 at the 7th fret, shape 2 at the 9th fret, and so on.

Pentatonic Scale Tabs

Below are guitar TABs of all the A minor pentatonic scale shapes. The root note has been marked on the TABs. For each shape learn where the root notes are, so you can move up and down the fretboard using the same shapes to play other minor pentatonic scales.

Pentatonic Scale Guitar 1

Pentatonic Scale Guitar 1

Pentatonic Scale Guitar Shape 2

Pentatonic Scale Guitar 2

Pentatonic Scale Guitar Shape 3

Pentatonic Scale Guitar 3

pentatonic scale guitar 4

Pentatonic Scale Guitar 4

Pentatonic scale guitar 5

Pentatonic Scale Guitar 5

How To Use Pentatonic Scales

  • Minor pentatonic scales are used by guitarists in virtually every genre of music. Rock, blues, metal and jazz guitarists all rely on pentatonic scales in their lead solos.
  • Although they are most often used to improvise over minor chord sequences, minor pentatonic scales can also be used over chord sequences in a major key – the minor notes in the scale clash with the major chords to produce a classic bluesy / jazzy sound.
  • The pentatonic scale is also used for writing melodies in popular and classical music. Once you start to utilize pentatonics in your own playing, you will begin to hear them everywhere.
  • By adding just one note, pentatonic scales can be changed into blues scales. Find out how to play blues scales here: Blues Scale Guitar.

Practice minor pentatonic scale improvisation over the following chord sequences:

Minor Key: ||: Am | F | Am | Am | Am | F | C | C :||

Major Key:  ||: A | D | A | E7 :||

Pentatonic Scale Backing Track

Play along to the backing track on this video using a C minor pentatonic scale.

You can download this backing track here: Guitar Backing Tracks.

Major Pentatonic Scales

Pentatonic Scale Guitar Diagrams:

pentatonic major scale shape diagrams for guitar

Pentatonic Major Scale Shape Diagrams

To play A pentatonic major scales, play shape 1 in 4th position, shape 2 in 6th position, shape 3 in 9th position, shape 4 in 12th position or shape 5 in 2nd (or in 14th position).

A Pentatonic Major Scales For Guitar In TAB and Notation

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar Shape 1

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar 1

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar 2

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar 2

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar 3

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar 3

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar 4

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar 4

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar 5

Major Pentatonic Scale Guitar 5

How To Use Major Pentatonic Scales

Pentatonic major scales, although not as widely used as minor pentatonics, are still popular scales in guitar improvisation. Experiment using them when improvising over chord sequences in the corresponding major key.

They still sound ‘bluesy’ but also have a ‘country’ sound.

||: A | D | A | E7 :||

Experiment improvising over the above chord sequence with both A minor and A major pentatonic scales, and note the difference in sound between the two.

You can play along to a backing tracks specially written for major pentatonic scales here: Guitar Scales Backing Tracks.

  • We hope that you have enjoyed learning about pentatonic scales. Learn more guitar scales at our main guitar scales page.