“Is there a correct guitar scale fingering for the pentatonic patterns?”
Pentatonic Scale Fingerings
There are a few different ways you can finger pentatonic scale patterns. There is no perfect fingering and you’ll surely end up utilizing more than one depending on what you’re trying to play. As a general rule don’t use your index and middle fingers alone. This approach isn’t efficient and will make you look and sound like a hack.
Many guitarists learn the patterns best by using all four fingers. The notes of each pattern are spread across four frets. The exception to this rule is pattern three which is spread across five frets. Using four fingers allows you to use one finger per fret and makes it easier to visualize the patterns. You may prefer to use only your index and ring fingers. This approach helps many guitarists generate more power and control without getting adjacent fingers tangled up.
Proper Guitar Fingerings
Often you’ll hear opinions about how guitarists should and should not finger certain things. Some allege that there is a “proper” fingering for everything. You might find yourself falling into this line of thinking too. For example, you would think that it’s more “correct” to use the pinky, or at least it’s a bad habit to avoid it. But many players, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, and Eric Johnson do most of their scale/solo work with three fingers. I tend to favor three fingers too (although I use my pinky in my instructional guitar videos because I think it makes it easier for the viewer to see where I’m fretting). So obviously the theory of “proper scale fingerings” doesn’t hold up in practice.
With all this said, you have to find the fingerings that work for you. If you play well and sound good, then you’re doing it right!
To learn more about music theory for guitar, including scales, chords, progressions, modes, and more, sign up for a free preview of my Fretboard Theory books and DVDs by using the form on this web page.
Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna