Lesson #111, Pentatonic Scales III

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lesson #111, Pentatonic Scales III

Hello Everybody,

So what does mode or modes mean? I'll tell you........If we look at the pentatonic scale, or any other scale for that matter, we can play what is called the modes, and all this means is that we are going to start and end the scale on different notes, or degrees of the scale. The G major pentatonic scale consists of the notes G A B D E.........if we start this scale on the A note which would be the notes of A B D E G.......we have a mode of the G major pentatonic scale starting and ending on A. We can start and end a mode on any of the notes we want to in the scale, and by doing that with the patterns I have tabbed out in these lessons, you will become more familiar with the banjos' fingerboard, so give all of the modes of the pentatonic scale a good go over.

Remember as well that you can play any of the modes from the G major pentatonic scale and play them over the relative minor, in this case it is E minor, or in other words the E natural minor. Playing the modes is a great place to explore your improvisations once you become familiar with them, and once you do become familiar with them, you will start to see and hear them in the Scruggs style within the rolls and licks, and also in the Keith/Thompson melodic style, or in the string style, and in any form of music you wish to pursue on the five string banjo.

Put your picks on and dig into some Banjo ala mode!



  1. Looks like a great resource. In Blogger you could organise the lessons into groups and use Pages to make it easier to navigate.

    1. Hi Sisyphus,
      Thank you for your feedback.
      This is the first time I've tried blogging, so my apologies if it is hard to navigate. My main reason for doing the blog was to get all David Cavage's free lessons back online where they belong.
      I have listed all the lessons in the order they should be learned (to the best of my knowledge) starting with absolute beginners' lessons and progressing through intermediate to the advanced lessons. I hope this makes it a bit clearer for you and helps you to get the maximum benefit and enjoyment from the lessons.
      Please let me know if you use the web version or the mobile version of the blog and if you are able to access the full list of lessons on your device.
      All the best,


About Me

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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.