More Than Meets the Eye
So far, the pentatonic scales you've played have started on the low E string and have a familiar box pattern to them. Both the major and the minor pentatonic scales are based out of the same box pattern. You may start to feel confined in this scale—there must be something more, you say to yourself. You're in luck! With a little bit of brainpower, you can take the pentatonic concept and expand upon it.
Let's take a look at FIGURE 5-1 and at the notes that make up an A-minor pentatonic scale: A, C, D, E, and G. (Remember “penta” means five notes.)
You'll notice that there are two circled notes in this scale. That's because scales contain repeated notes.
Do you think that the fifth fret pentatonic shape in FIGURE 5-1 is the only way to play this scale? Think again. It's not! If you think of the scales as notes and not as a shape, you can figure out other ways to play this scale across the neck. Let's look at the entire neck and every note that's found on it.
Can you find A, C, D, E, F, and G in other places? FIGURE 5-3 shows the notes from the A-minor pentatonic scale (A, C, D, E, G) in spots all over the neck.
See how the notes repeat all across the fingerboard? These are all the possible ways to play the A-minor pentatonic scale. From these notes you can extract five moveable positions of the pentatonic scale. If you know the scales all over the neck, you'll be able to play your pentatonic ideas no matter where you are.