Free Guitar Lessons San Francisco — Thursday Exercise #2: The Minor Pentatonic Scale, 2nd Position

(Continuing with where we started in the last Thursday Exercise, where we did the 1st position of the A minor pentatonic scale.)

Here are the tabs for the 2nd position of the Am pentatonic scale: Am Pentatonic Guitar Scale, 2nd Position Tab

So now you already know how to play the Am pentatonic scale in the first position. You’re golden, right? Well…

It’s true that just learning the 1st position will open up a world of new playing and jamming opportunities to you, but pretty soon you and your listeners might notice that your playing sounds repetitive. Learning more than one scale position will add all kinds of new dimensions to your playing—and it’s really not difficult to do at all. It just takes a little bit of focus and time.

Yet another great thing about pentatonic scales is that there are only 5 positions. You’ve already learned one last week, and after this week you’ll know 2 out of 5. Nearly half!

Once you have learned these 5 positions, you can connect them easily and play the A minor pentatonic scale up and down the entire neck! Not only that, you can shift any of the scale positions you’ve learned up or down to quickly play in different keys.

(But wait, there’s more….) The Am pentatonic scale is actually the SAME as the C major pentatonic scale. So when we get to the major pentatonic scales later, you’ll already know all the positions and notes… you’ll just apply them differently, and I’ll show you how to do it.

Actually, after learning these 5 simple positions, you’ll be able to play 5 different scales in any key, up and down the entire fretboard. In short, these 5 positions have a lot of bang for the buck.

Rather than learning them all at once, it’s much easier to learn one positions well, and then move on to the next one, and then then next, etc. This will help you really solidify your understanding and muscle memory of these scales, and will prevent the dreaded feelings of frustration from being overwhelming by too much new information too soon. (This is precisely why I’m doing one scale position per week, rather than all five at once.)

So all you have to do for now, is learn this one scale this week. Play it up and down a few times, and then see about playing the notes out of order. We’ll come back to this scale positions later and show you how to use it as another linchpin in your soloing, improvising, and lead playing.