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Minor pentatonic scale question

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by vetplus40, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. vetplus40

    vetplus40 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    56
    54
    Nov 8, 2016
    42056
    Struggling a bit with a little theory here. I will try and explain my issue:

    Using a google search, I see different boxes (also called shapes, patterns, etc.,) given different numerical designations on different guitar/music sites. As such, it appears that no uniform numbering system exists for identifying what is box 1,2,3 etc.

    That said, if I take a minor box and start it out with my first finger on the 5th fret of the low "E" string, then I can see where that would be an "A" minor scale, because it begins with an "A" root note and I can build the other 4 boxes from there. what I am referring to is the popular 1-4,1-4,1-3,1-3,1-4 fingering pattern that is often called "box one or pattern 1".

    Now, here is where I get confused: I found a site that showed a different box (called box 1) that starts lower down the fretboard than the one listed above. This box is also called an "A" minor pentatonic scale box. This box then flowed into the box listed in the above paragraph calling that box "box 2". Since neither of the first two notes on the low "E" string are "A" notes with this pattern, how would this box be referred to as a starting point for an "A" minor pentatonic scale?

    Hopefully you folks can understand what is confusing me. Sometimes it is hard to articulate what it is that you are not understanding.

    As always, thanks for the help.......:)
     
  2. ndcaster

    ndcaster Friend of Leo's

    Nov 14, 2013
    Indiana
    ok, so first of all, forget the names of the boxes -- they don't need names, and the names of the boxes are confusing

    A minor pentatonic is a set of the following notes:

    a c d e g

    but it doesn't have to be in that particular order -- it could be in any order, like

    d e g a c

    these notes can fall in different places on the fretboard

    it might be useful to you to print out a blank fretboard and construct all the possible locations of those five notes

    good learning exercise, you'll internalize it

    then, instead of thinking of "boxes," think of making little melodies that dance around each of those notes. feel free to use pairs of notes.

    play
     
  3. the_lyall

    the_lyall Tele-Meister

    406
    Jan 15, 2017
    Bedford, UK
    Ok so I'm REALLY no expert but this is the pentatonic you're referring to, correct? This example is G minor pentatonic as it starts on the 3rd fret, so I'm picturing it 2 frets up for your example.

    [​IMG]

    If there was another box the same shape as the first one here but NOT starting on the A (5th fret on the E string) then it is NOT the A minor pentatonic, probably an error.

    Unless, of course, it was starting on a different string or was one of those weird ones with the strings the other way up!

    All the best :)
     
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  5. the_lyall

    the_lyall Tele-Meister

    406
    Jan 15, 2017
    Bedford, UK
    Thinking about it, the major pentatonic scale is the same as the minor pentatonic scale but starts with the second 'box' in the position of the first. Could have been a typo/error related to that maybe.
     
  6. Mullet Man

    Mullet Man TDPRI Member

    88
    Feb 8, 2014
    San Tan Valley, AZ

    How have I not ever heard/seen it put this way?!? That makes it a whole lot simpler. Thank you for this!
     
  7. sockgtr

    sockgtr Tele-Meister

    107
    Mar 3, 2016
    Portland, OR
    You might find it useful in the long run to think in terms of scale degree rather than just note names:

    a c d e g
    1 3 4 5 7
    6 1 2 3 5

    The first set of numbers is from the minor key, and the 2nd from the major, i.e. A minor and C major. I always think in terms of the major key. When spelling chords, I think in terms of that chord's key, so, the above is either:

    Am11 -- 1 b3 11 5 b7

    or

    C69 -- 6 1 9 3 5
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
    Mullet Man and codamedia like this.
  8. ndcaster

    ndcaster Friend of Leo's

    Nov 14, 2013
    Indiana
    slick
     
  9. ndcaster

    ndcaster Friend of Leo's

    Nov 14, 2013
    Indiana
    Right, that first shape of things up there is G minor pentatonic.

    If that first "R" note started on the fifth fret, it'd be A minor pentatonic. One more fret up, and it'd be "B-flat minor pentatonic," and so on.

    But notice that the second diagram up there starts on B-flat. What is it, then? Well, it's still "G minor pentatonic."

    (The set of notes for that is: g, b-flat, c, d, f.)

    It just starts on the second note of the G minor pentatonic scale, i.e. B-flat. The way they have it written, though, they call it "b3," which means b-flat is the flatted third of G. This means they're identifying notes by "intervals," not names. An interval is just the distance from the root ("R") note. The minor pentatonic "intervals," whatever the key, are:

    root, flat 3rd, fourth, fifth, and flat-7th

    Your diagrams are by interval, which is a good and useful presentation. To memorize it, try starting with the top three strings.
     
  10. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    FWIW, I learned it with the_lyall's fist example. This one made the most sense to me having the first position defined with the root note on the low E string just like your normal basic bar chords. Hence, you learn your major bar chords by knowing the low E string notes, thus you have automatically learned where position one of your pentatonic root notes starts. The positions 2,3,4 and 5 overlap, but once you learn them, they all seem to fit together nicely.
     
    Mxrk likes this.
  11. rburd2

    rburd2 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    36
    543
    Sep 13, 2016
    Georgia, US
    To hell with remembering all the random shapes. I tend to think in terms of relative minors and majors and connect my pentatonics that way: if I'm in Am, that 's the same as C major. I know a few shapes for major and minor. I know where a few Cs and As are located. And I connect the dots.
     
    sockgtr likes this.
  12. the_lyall

    the_lyall Tele-Meister

    406
    Jan 15, 2017
    Bedford, UK
    Yes... I did specifically state my example was in G... :)
     
  13. The Blood

    The Blood TDPRI Member

    64
    Dec 31, 2014
    Healdsburg, CA
    Whatever works best with your memory as far as establishing the framework. Most people have something like that chart in mind for starters. The next big revelation comes when you start to connect the positions with slides up and down for given notes. This is when you can start playing melodies effectively.
     
  14. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Meister

    177
    Feb 20, 2009
    nowhere/UK
     
  15. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Meister

    177
    Feb 20, 2009
    nowhere/UK
    Get this Book: BLUES YOU CAN USE by John Ganapes.Gives the foundation you require.No musical Theory knowledge required. All in 1 book.Soloing techniques,Chords & their substitutions.(invaluable info)-CD included.(Exercises/lessons) -Has a BYCU FORUM(=further advice)
     
    VanManNW likes this.
  16. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Friend of Leo's

    Oct 9, 2008
    S. CA
    Please see that the shapes repeat themselves. If you start with A at the 5th fret an carry it all the way to the 17th fret you should take notice of the shapes at the 12th through the 15th fret. Those will be the same shapes at the first (really 0 fret or open strings) through 3rd fret.

    Alternatively you can go backwards from the 5th down to the nut (open strings).

    Also take notice that the right side of box 1 is the left side of box 2, and the right side of box two is the left side of box 3 and so on. That makes the right side of box 5 the left side of box 1--the shapes recycle and repeat.

    Everything is connected.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017 at 8:53 AM
  17. VanManNW

    VanManNW TDPRI Member

    31
    Jan 6, 2016
    Boise, ID
    Great book! I basically restarted my playing habit after having a kid with this book.

    Google CAGED, learn the chords, learn the five pentatonic shapes, learn the arpeggios, learn the full major scale.

    It isn't that hard, just take it in little chunks. Everything starts making more sense.
     
  18. vetplus40

    vetplus40 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    56
    54
    Nov 8, 2016
    42056
    I have that one along with many others. I get "book" saturated at times.
     
  19. vetplus40

    vetplus40 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    56
    54
    Nov 8, 2016
    42056
    Thanks for all of the replies. I read all of the responses and a little while later, it started making sense. Thanks again.
     
  20. vetplus40

    vetplus40 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    56
    54
    Nov 8, 2016
    42056
    I got it figured out. Thanks!
     
    the_lyall likes this.
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