How to Apply Pentatonic Scale Patterns For Guitar

How to Apply Pentatonic Scale Patterns For Guitar

How to Apply Pentatonic Scale Patterns For Guitar

The pentatonic scale can follow either the tonic chord in a progression or each chord in a progression. For example, take a progression like C F G C. Although a handful of chords are used here, everything is revolving around C. C is the tonal center or tonic. You can play C major pentatonic scale over the whole thing and this is what most guitarists would do. But you can also switch pentatonic scales over each chord. C major pentatonic over the C chord, F major pentatonic over the F chord and G major pentatonic over the G chord. You hear this done in the song “My Girl” by the Temptations where the riff uses C major pentatonic over the I chord C and F major pentatonic over the IV chord F.

In its simplest application, the pentatonic follows the tonic chord in a progression. So if a song revolves around an Em chord, then play Em pentatonic over the whole progression. Only after you get good at using the pentatonic like this do I recommend trying to switch scales over the chord changes.

To learn more about pentatonic scale patterns for guitar, sign up for a free preview of my guitar theory book and DVDs.

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Mr. Desi Serna
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Comments ( 8 )

  • John Hoppis

    Just wanted to thank you. I have a BA degree in music and have played guitar for a
    lot of years. I got your dvds and book… just got through the pentatonic
    lesson. It makes so much since now. Never thought I’d be playing along
    with Clapton, Hendrix, and CCR, too much fun. Thanks again.

  • Vic

    I have purchased the downloadable version of Pentatonic scale pattern and I must say this is the best one out there. Nobody on the internet explains Pentatonic Scales better than Desi.
    Keep up the good work and keep on rockin’

  • Marty

    I am a pretty new player and pickup these materials just recently. being a beginner I dint understand plahying over chords changes for the life of me I thought it was something you did while playing the chrods at the same time. None it made any sense to me until o read through the first part of desi’s materals when I had a big ole duh!!! moment and things made much mroe sense. I had read online articles before but nothing really clicked until now. This material will be a source of fundamental improvement in my knowledge base and hopefully my playing ability

  • Joe

    I purchased the complete package – book and DVD’s – and I highly recommend this to anyone who really wants to learn to master the guitar. The videos are a must and well done with lots of close ups so you know exactly how to play the scale or chords. Everything is fully explained in great detail and easy to understand. You are shown the various ways to position your fingers correctly to play more effectively. You not only learn the techniques but you see how they are used in actual songs.
    I would have to say I have improved tremendously in just the past 2 months and I haven’t even watched every video yet. This system is well worth the money – in fact it’s a real bargain at this price. Do yourself a favor though and get the complete set. https://www.guitarmusictheory.com

  • Thanks, Joe. I really appreciate the feedback.

  • Neil

    Hi there – thanks for the tips – really good!
    Does the material cover the modal pentatonic to?

  • Generally speaking, the pentatonic is not applied as modal scales. In theory it’s possible, but it’s not something that actually occurs in popular music, so I don’t teach it.

    On the other hand, major scale modes occur all the time and need to be learned in order to completely understand music.

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