A Pentatonic scale is the same as it’s parent Major or Minor scale except it has two notes missing. All the best sounding notes for that scale are left and this makes the scales more compatible with different keys and chords etc. Also, on guitar, this means that you can play the scale with two notes per string. This makes it easier to play patterns and riffs because of the even number of pick strokes (2) per string. Pentatonic scales can be played in any key, whichever note you start the scale from determines the ‘key’ that you are in. There are five basic positions for scales that, together, cover the whole neck. They are always in the same order, but they shift back and forth across the neck depending what key you’re in and where the ‘root notes’ are.
Let’s start with three different ‘Pentatonic Scales’(five notes), In four positions for Am. The position on the neck is a result of which fret your first finger over.
Am Pentatonic Scale – 5th Position
Am Pentatonic Scale – 12th Position
Am Pentatonic Scale – Open Position
Am Pentatonic Scale – 17th Position (Same as 5th Position but one octave higher)
Am Pentatonic Scale – 7th Position
Here are some Am Pentatonic scales that aren’t as commonly used but are important in learning the whole fretboard. In the previous scales the root note was under your index finger, now you will be playing on the other side of it.
Am Pentatonic – 3rd Position (3rd or 4th finger on root)
Am Pentatonic – 10th Position (3rd finger on root)