Just like every superhero needs a super power to beat up the bad guys, every guitar player needs a musical scale to belt out rockin’ riffs! The minor pentatonic scale is the secret super power of rock ‘n’ roll!
The A Minor Pentatonic Scale
Consisting of just five tones (A, C, D, E, & G), the A minor pentatonic scale sounds the way you might feel after a long day at school of which your dog ate your homework, you were served liverwurst for lunch, and your mom made you wear that awful knitted sweater grandma made you for Christmas. In short, the minor pentatonic scale is dark and moody—just like rock ‘n’ roll.
Famous Rock Songs Using The A Minor Pentatonic Scale
The A minor pentatonic scale is by far the most played scale for guitarists on the planet. Famous songs include Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker,” Muddy Water’s “Hoochie Coochie Man,” & Cream’s “Crossroad Blues.”
The A Minor Pentatonic Scale in 5th Position
If you want to rock, you got to master this simple scale shape. Start on the root note (A) on the 6th-string and play it slowly ascending (up) and descending (back down again). I recommend playing along with the backing track. If you want to rack up some serious skills, play the scale up and down with whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, 8th notes, triplets, and 16th notes over the backing track if you’re a serious robot pirate on the guitar like Captain Coral Riff!
*Don’t Forget to Jam Along with the Backing Track!
Brian Parham is the author of Guitar for Kids: Rock Dojo The Complete Belt System, a complete system for playing, teaching, and sharing your passion for the guitar for the people you love most. Guitar for Kids features five must know musical concepts, step-by-step composition guides, and 11-awesome songs to add to your repertoire.