The First Position of the Pentatonic Major Scale
Since we did the major pentatonic in the key of G, we will do the minor pentatonic it’s relative minor, the key of E minor. Don’t forget you can transpose the scale to any key simply by placing the first note in the pattern over the correct note on the 6th string of your guitar. In other words, if you want to play it in E, line up the first note (the root note identified in white) to either the nut, or the 12th fret. If you want to play it in Am, then start at the 5th fret. In B, you would start on the 7th fret, and so on… You will notice, the first position of the pentatonic minor is also the fifth position of the pentatonic major. The pattern is exactly the same, the only difference will be the fact that your root notes (white notes) and perfect 5ths (red notes) reflect the root and 5ths of the minor scale instead of the major scale. In Em for example, the root is E and the 5th is B.
When you play the following tab at the end of this page you’re basically playing this same pattern below, only you are going from the first note to the first note again when it repeats itself on the high E string. So the last note is not played. You can play it if you want, because it still belongs to the scale, but I’m simply trying to get you to play the mode starting and ending on the same note. For each of the positions, the pattern diagram will be all the way to the end, but the tab will have you play the mode from the initial note to the same note 2 octaves up.
Typically, to follow the order of the lessons, you should begin to play this scale in Em starting at the nut with and open E, 6 string. This is what the first tab will show you. But, since this scale is so popular and usually played at the 12th fret, I’m also including the tab for it below.
Since this is the First Mode of the Minor Pentatonic Scale, you will be playing the following pattern with the first note starting at the 6th string open E, or at the 12th fret. Be sure you understand how to read these diagrams. Otherwise, click here to find out.