Pentatonic Scales

all possible pentatonic scales on guitar
A pentatonic scale is any scale consisting of 5 notes or intervals. You probably already know the minor pentatonic (1, b3, 4, 5, b7) and the major pentatonic (1, 2, 3, 5, 6) scales, but did you know that there are 330 possible combinations of 5 intervals? This means there are 330 pentatonic scales available, while most of us barely use 2! The harmonic possibilities are truly endless when you begin to consider those other 328 permutations, and this is exactly what we’ll cover here.

You might be wondering how on earth you’d learn another 328 pentatonic scales and what you might use them for, but as we shall see, it’s more about exploring harmonic possibilities than memorizing endless permutations of patterns. I’ll give you the tools to effectively cover more than enough of the fretboard to be dangerous with just one pattern per pentatonic scale, then if you find the scale useful or like the sound of it, you’ll have a system to map it out on the fretboard literally on the fly.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you working out the famous five patterns for each scale, though some don’t lend themselves well to this, and the focus here is more on exploring a world of harmonic possibilities that are rarely considered but which are right under your fingertips. Don’t worry about having to remember all those scales because the real learning takes place when you engage in the simple act of searching for and finding information on the fretboard, either by visual reference (patterns) or by intervals. This is a process that will stimulate your creativity, fretboard knowledge and soloing vocabulary, as well as being highly beneficial for connecting your fingers to your ears.

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