Lesson #109, Pentatonic Scales I

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lesson #109, Pentatonic Scales I

Hi Everyone,

In the next few lessons we are going to discuss the pentatonic scale and some of the things we can do with it. The pentatonic scale is a five note scale. Just like the Pentagon is a five sided building, the pentatonic scale is a five note scale. Penta means five. This five note scale is widely used in many forms of music, including Bluegrass, Blues, Jazz, Rock and others. It is a very important scale, and we will Jive with the Five.

In this video you see a basic scale pattern of the pentatonic scale for G major. If you look at the tab it will be the second measure starting with the fourth string fretted at the fifth fret. This is a good pattern to learn because we are going to expand on this pattern in future lessons.

Going back to previous lessons I mention again that when you fret the 4th string anywhere on the neck, if you fret the 1st string at the same fret you will get the same note, the only difference is that one is higher in pitch (an octave apart). We also know from previous lessons that when you fret the 1st string anywhere above the 5th fret, when you fret the 5th string at the same fret you will get the exact same note. This is important when we look at the scales in the tablature, in that anywhere the fourth string is fretted, the first string is fretted at the same frets. Although in these tabbed patterns the 5th string is not fretted, you can hear for yourself that fretting the 5th string anywhere you see the 1st string fretted you will get the exact
same note.

The pentatonic scale is also very, very versatile. Three V's. It is so versatile that it will sound good when played over its associated Major Chord or the Relative Minor!

That was so important I had to put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence! Yep I did it again.........................its a very exciting, very cool scale!

Rock on the Moose!


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In 2009, at the age of 60, I decided to learn to play the 5-string banjo. I searched the internet for lessons and struck gold when I found David Cavage's free banjo lessons at Musicmoose.org. His video hosting site revver.com was having some serious problems at the time so I downloaded as many of the lessons as I could whenever they became available. Revver.com stopped operating shortly afterwards and, sadly, Musicmoose.org is no more. I contacted David early 2020 and he told me he no longer had the original master videos and feared they may have been lost forever. This amazing course of free banjo lessons, from absolute beginner to advanced player, is too good to be forgotten, so this is my attempt to get David's work back out there again so that he can teach, inspire and spread the joy of banjo pickin' to more generations of budding musicians, just like he did with me. I've rounded up all the Moose stuff I could find and put it here, so start pickin' and enjoy!-------MooseHerder.