The Pentatonic Blues Scale

Guitar lesson for beginners

The pentatonic, or pentatonic minor scale, or simply blues scale, is the basis of the majority of blues, rock and metal music of the 20th century. If you want to start playing lead guitar, improvising blues and rock, or writing classic sounding rock tunes, the pentatonic blues scale is definitely the place to start. But despite the name this isn’t only about blues. In fact getting this scale to sound like authentic blues is not actually that easy!

As the ‘pent’ prefix implies, this scale has just five notes, so is simpler than a typical major or minor scale (they have seven notes) – it’s basically a slimmed down minor scale, missing the 2nd and 6th notes. You can use it to solo in one key, or other typical twelve bar blues progressions. It really is an easy way to play a handful of notes that sound GREAT right from the get go.

Guitar lesson contents:

In the key of E, the pentatonic blues scale is as follows:

E G A B D

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Phrygian scale for metal guitar

You may have heard of modes, specifically the Phrygian mode. A mode is basically a guitar scale, and the theory behind modes can be useful, as it shows how different scales relate to each other. But if you find guitar theory a bit much you can skip all that. (If you are interested, check out a full explanation of modes here). If you find learning guitar scales hard, do not worry, this one is really easy! Also known as the Phrygian minor scale, it sounds super evil – great for metal – and will give a whole new twist to your riffs! Get Phrygian!

Guitar lesson contents:

So, we are starting from an assumption you know a minor scale (also known as the natural minor or Aeolian mode). If you do, it’s as easy as changing one note in the scale. So let’s remind ourselves of the minor scale. If you are already familiar with this scale, jump forward to the Phrygian fingering diagram.


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