After checking out our left handed chord chart one LeftyFretz reader recently asked if I could produce some left handed scale charts for some of the more popular scales. Let’s first take a look at the ridiculously useful minor pentatonic scale – lefty style!
The minor pentatonic is usually the first scale that new guitarists will learn – it’s very easy to play and is useable in almost any musical scenario. For these reasons it is a great scale to use when practicing your improvisational skills.
Before we dive in let me add that if you’re finding it difficult figuring out a scale or chord from a (right handed) diagram, the easiest thing to do is to look up the scale/chord in tablature format. Tab makes it very easy to see what you should be playing, and I’ve included tab of the minor pentatonic scale to allow you to see how it translates over from diagrams.
Minor Pentatonic Scale Shapes
The easiest way to learn the scale over the entire guitar neck is to split it up into smaller, easily digestible shapes or patterns. I’ve shown the five different shapes below. Pay attention to the blue notes as these are the root notes and will indicate which key you are playing in.
One Huge Scale
All of the different patterns are interconnected and note overlaps will occur between adjacent shapes – for example patterns one and two share six of the same note positions. Take a look at the diagram below to see exactly how each pattern connects and overlaps with the next. If you have swatted up on your note name positions then you’ll be able to work out that this diagram shows the A Minor Pentatonic Scale (all of the blue notes are A’s). Also notice how the patterns keep repeating themselves up the neck – 1,2,3,4,5,1,2,3,4,5,1,2 etc..
Tips For Faster Learning
Start off learning the first pattern and then build upon that by adding position five behind it. Once you have those two down then add the second pattern on top of position one and keep building up until you can cover the entire neck. To make the learning process more interesting play the scale shapes over some of your favourite songs, or find a backing track from any online resource. One of my favourite places for free backing tracks is GuitarBackingTrack.com.
To really embed these scale shapes in your subconscious try and play them in as many different ways as possible. For example make sure that you can play them ascending as well as descending and even try and play the entire scale on one string only!
Practice while watching your favourite television show and you’ll find that muscle memory soon takes over and you’ll be able to play these patterns without any conscious thought.
Leave a comment below if you’re still confused