Lesson #110, Pentatonic Scales II

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lesson #110, Pentatonic Scales II

IMPORTANT NOTE....... The only notes that are missing from the standard tuning are the A note and the "E" note. I misspoke and said B note instead of E note concerning the pentatonic scale.

Hi All,

The Pentatonic scale is widely used in the Scruggs style. If we look at the standard tuning of the five string banjo we will see and hear that the notes of G D G B D are contained in the pentatonic scale. The only notes missing from the standard tuning are the the notes of A and E.

Since we are working on this scale in these lessons, you can think about all the rolls you've learned from the beginning when played open, as coming from the pentatonic scale. A lot of the licks that we went over came right from this scale as well.

Looking back on the song Cripple Creek, every note in that song can be thought of as coming from the pentatonic scale. There are no "outside" notes. The rolls, and the licks within this version of Cripple Creek are coming from the pentatonic scale.

Joe and I play the song in this video, and you can hear that I played the exact same version over the guitar chords of G major and E minor. Again, you can hear how versatile this scale can be in the Scruggs Style in Bluegrass, and in just about any other type, or styles of Music you wish to pursue.

Keep it Rolling Everyone,


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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.