Minor Pentatonic

Learn how to play the Minor Pentatonic

All five shapes

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The Minor Pentatonic

Five shapes of the Minor Pentatonic

If you’re only gonna learn one scale to solo with on the guitar it would have to be the Minor Pentatonic.

When practicing as the video lessons demonstrate below, aim to clearly see the relationship between the barre chord shape and scale shapes.

Once this connection is clear, take note of all intervals inside every scale shape.

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A Minor Pentatonic scale shapes

Practice in 12 Keys

To get great at playing scales you must do what legendary sax player Charlie Parker did and practice in all twelve keys.

When you can play all these shapes in Am, move on and practice them in Dm. The playlist below demonstrates exactly how.

When you can do this without making mistakes, carry on down the cycle of 4th. Next up would be Gm, Cm, Fm, Bbm, etc.

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D Minor Pentatonic scale shapes

Connect all shapes in all keys

After playing through all twelve keys you need to connect the shapes up and down the neck as well.

The video lessons below show you how you can connect all five Minor Pentatonic shapes in the key of Am and Dm.

In order for you to play an exercise like this, you have to know each individual shape really well.

If you have been practicing all individual shapes and come to the conclusion that you need to move on, then you have arrived at the right exercise.

When you can connect all shapes in Am and Dm at the same tempo as in the video lesson, move on to the ten remaining keys as well.

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Connect Minor Pentatonic scale shapes

The final Minor Pentatonic Exercise

This is the last Minor Pentatonic exercise. When you can play this, you can definitely play all five shapes of the Minor Pentatonic!

This means that once completed, you should never have to practice a Minor Pentatonic scale again, ever.

In this exercise, you see how when using the cycle of 4th, we go to the closest shape possible, rather than run around the neck.

After five shapes, start with the Em shape again, using the root of Bb and continue up the neck.

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The cycle of 4th

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Hey There Delilah – Step 1

In this first step, we learn how to play the verse and chorus from Hey There Delilah, just like on the original recording.

Use the TAB loops to master these two relatively simple sections of the song.

Go to Hey There Delilah Step 1.

Mad World – Step 1

To learn how to play Mad World, we start by looking at the verse. First, practice all examples to the loop as the TAB display, then start improvising the patterns.

This composition is in Dorian, which means chord II is our home.

Go to Mad World Step 1.

Whistle For The Choir – Step 1

We are back playing a song again, well, almost.

In this step, we go through all the areas you can play this song in for the key of A.

Go to Whistle For The Choir Step 1.

Blowin’ In The Wind – Step 1

In this step, we learn the verse of Blowin’ In The Wind using a capo on fret 2.

What you’ll hear is in the key of D, however, you must think as if in the key of C.

Go to Blowin’ In The Wind Step 1.

Kiss Me – Step 1

In this step, we actually start playing the song.

First up are the intro, instrumental, verse sections which all use the progression: Maj – maj7 – dom7 – maj7 on a loop.

Go to Kiss Me Step 1.

Babylon – Step 1

Today we finally start working on a song again!

It’s Babylon by David Gray and of course, it does have a hammer-on and pull-off lick in it.

Go to Babylon Step 1.

Fast Car – Step 1

In this first step, we learn how to play the two guitar parts that make up the original verse of Fast Car.

Complete this step and you’ll realize that just working out the original part is not enough if you want to learn how to actually write something like this.

Go to Fast Car Step 1.

Angie – Step 1

In the first step of how to play Angie, we look at how to strum the verse and chorus.

Use the TAB loops to practice each section individually.

Go to Angie Step 1.

American Pie – Step 1

It’s time to discover how one of the world’s most legendary songs was put together.

Let’s put Don McLean’s American Pie under the microscope, we start with the chorus.

Go to American Pie Step 1.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 1

In this firsts step, we learn two extremely detailed TAB examples which are exact transcriptions of what I play in the video with the singer.

Out of all 8 steps, this is by far the most difficult. It is also the most complex lesson so far in this course.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come Step 1.

Sunny Afternoon – Step 1

Before we start exploring how to play Sunny Afternoon I want you to gain a firm understanding of the triplet feel.

To achieve this we play the sweeping exercise using 12/8, shuffle, and swing rhythms.

Go to Sunny Afternoon Step 1.

Dreadlock Holiday – Step 1

In this first step, we play the intro, the verse and the bridge of this pop-reggae classic by 10cc.

A few chords in this one guitar arrangement are not correct. Find out what we can learn from this.

Go to Dreadlock Holiday Step 1.

I’m Yours – Step 1

Let’s find out how to write a hit melody! The secret is in rhythmic repetition and how the intervals relate to the chords.

To understand this we start by studying the nursery rhyme Itsy Bitsy Spider, which is actually more complex than I’m Yours.

Go to I’m Yours Step 1.

Red – Step 1

In the first step, we look at how to play the verse of Red as played in this one acoustic guitar arrangement.

The tempo has been lowered from 92 to 78 BPM and the overall feel is very different from the original.

Go to Red Step 1.

Starman – Step 1

In this first step, we look at the intro with its unique Bbadd#11 chord and the much more common Fmaj7.

Following this, we also work on the verse which has an unusual order of common chords from the key of F. TAB loops are available for everything.

Go to Starman Step 1.

I Can’t Stand The Rain – Step 1

In this first step, we look at how to play the main riff in the key of A.

To learn from it we study the intervals, play it in five areas of the neck as well as consider hammer on’s, bends, slides and pull off’s.

Go to I Can’t Stand The Rain Step 1.

Electric Guitar Lessons

Rescue Me – Step 1

For bands playing other people’s songs, Rescue Me has become an easy classic to add to the Motown/Soul repertoire.

Before we look at how to play each section in detail, let’s have a listen to the complete song and study a Bars and Beats chart.

Go to Rescue Me Step 1.

You Can’t Hurry Love – Step 1

Written in 1966 by Motown’s production team Holland-Dozier-Holland, You Can’t Hurry Love went straight to #1 in the Billboard charts.

Sixteen years later, Phil Collins recorded it in a different key and again put it back at the #1 spot, this time in the U.K.

Go to You Can’t Hurry Love Step 1.

Can I Get A Witness – Step 1

Today we start working on Marvin Gaye’s Can I Get A Witness. This is a song in the key of Eb and structured similarly to a blues.

Before we dive into how to play the main riff, let’s have a listen to the complete song and map out the arrangement.

Go to Can I Get A Witness Step 1.

Be My Baby – Step 1

In this lesson, we start working on Be My Baby, an early Motown smash hit produced by Phil Spector and performed by The Ronettes.

Before we get into building the guitar part, let’s have a listen to the complete song.

Go to Be My Baby Step 1.

Soul Man – Step 1

Today we start working on Soul Man by Sam & Dave. This song is, unlike many songs in this course, built around a driving and repetitive guitar riff.

The man behind the guitar part is Steve Cropper, a legendary soul guitarist who was a member of Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

Go to Soul Man Step 1.

Money (That’s What I Want) – Step 1

Today we start learning Money (That’s What I Want). Written by Barry Gordy and performed by Barrett Strong.

This is an early Motown hit with an easy to recognize guitar riff that has been covered by many artists and bands since.

Go to Money (That’s What I Want) Step 1.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Step 1

Today we start working on a new song in Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine.

This song has a very clever chord progression. The home chord, Ebm, feels different depending on what section it appears in.

Go to I Heard It Through The Grapevine Step 1.

Get Ready – Step 1

Written and produced by Smokey Robinson, Get Ready was originally written for a dance craze at the time.

Performed by The Temptations, it was released in 1966 and made it to the number 1 spot in the R & B charts.

Go to Get Ready Step 1.

Son Of A Preacher Man – Step 1

Today we start working on a new song in Dusty Springfield’s legendary Son Of A Preacher Man.

Due to the lack of guitar on the original recording, we are going to have to invent a guitar part.

Go to Son Of A Preacherman Step 1.

My Guy – Step 1

A standard on the Motown/Soul setlist, this sugar-sweet pop hit is a must to learn for the aspiring soul guitarist.

With one foot in jazz rather than blues, we get more maj7 and 6 chords than dom7 chords.

Go to My Guy Step 1.

Respect – Step 1

Originally, Respect was written by Otis Redding but aimed for a singer called Speedo Sims who made an attempt to record it with his band.

After an unsuccessful session at legendary Muscle Shoals studios, Otis decided to record it himself and then again with Aretha Franklin.

Go to Respect Step 1.

Jimmy Mack – Step 1

With Jimmy Mack, we get a relatively straight forward arrangement, although there are little variations in there.

Let’s start this off by listening to the complete song and work out the structure.

Go to Jimmy Mack Step 1.

Master Blaster – Step 1

Today we start working on Master Blaster (Jammin’) by Stevie Wonder.

This is probably my favorite song to play as it literally encourages me to improvise, or as the title suggests, Jammin’.

Go to Master Blaster Step 1.

Related Pages


All those open position chords you learned in the beginner course now become barre chords and pentatonic scales.

We’ll use this to map out the entire fret board. Everything becomes easier to visualize once this foundation is laid.

Go to Intermediate Guitar Exercises.

Acoustic Course

Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The intermediate songs require you to learn barre chords and pentatonic scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fret board.

Go to Intermediate Guitar Course.

Intermediate Acoustic Songs

You can learn how to play these intermediate songs on the acoustic guitar.

A Change Is Gonna Come, American Pie, Angie, Babylon, Blowin’ In The Wind, Dreadlock Holiday, Fast Car, Hey There Delilah, I Can’t Stand The Rain, I’m Yours, Kiss Me, Mad World, Red, Starman, Sunny Afternoon, and Whistle For The Choir.

Go to Intermediate Acoustic Songs.

Electric Course

Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

These Motown/Soul songs require you to learn how to play fractions of barre chord shapes and build improvised licks using pentatonic scales.

Go to Intermediate Electric Guitar Course.

Intermediate Electric Songs

You can learn how to play these intermediate songs on the electric guitar.

Be My Baby, Can I Get A Witness, Get Ready, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Jimmy Mack, Master Blaster (Jammin’), Money (That’s What I Want), My Guy, Rescue Me, Respect, Son Of A Preacher Man, Soul Man, and You Can’t Hurry Love.

Go to Intermediate Electric Songs.


A monthly subscription with access to all acoustic and electric step by step lessons, each one designed to bring your guitar playing skills to the next level.

Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

Go to Monthly Subscription.