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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How to Read Tablature

Not everyone has the time or patience to learn how to read and write music with standard notation. Tablature, also called tabulature or tabs, is the world-renown solution that proves to be much faster in terms of learning, writing, or reading a song in standard notation. In fact, it is much more likely that a guitarist seeking to learn a song will find tablature long before standard notation is found.

how to play tabs

Figure 1 – The top shows standard notation, while the bottom shows tablature. Notice how there is no rhythm or timing for tablature, as compared to standard notation.

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