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Some days...I love YouTube.

Bman

Veteran
Ok - to start simple, the typical minor pentatonic is a subset of the Dorian mode of the diatonic major scale.

I've marked up the image below that shows all of the boxes and the mode of that pattern (relative to root of the pattern). For now just ignore the mode labels... These patterns are each of the 3-note-per-string "boxes".

The patterns flow up the neck in the following order (using mode names just to identify the patterns below):

Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian

If you look at what I marked up, you can see the way they align. If you play the notes of the pattern labeled as Dorian but leave of the 2nd and 6th intervals you have the pentatonic minor.

In the key of G, the patterns would start on frets: 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14



Edit:

Oops... I accidentally cropped out the labels on the top 2 boxes. They are Ionian and Dorian.
Thanks again for the abbreviated lesson. I've been playing along to the Elevated Jam Tracks, which posts the scale and mode of the song. That makes it real easy obviously. But I still haven't been able to get out of the box and continue using 3 notes per string as I move into the other boxes or positions. I'll move out of the key position or 1st position and resort back to the pentatonic box the rest of the neck. I'm usually able to identify the added notes in the mode but I can't move to another position and instinctivly rip off 3 notes per string. I have faith that it's gonna click or I'll find the content on line that makes it click. I'm still ashamed that I never took the time to learn the pentatonic boxes up until recently. Now a can fool a lot more people into thinking I'm good....lol.

Anyway, just wanted to thank you again for nudging me in the right direction. I'm having 'aha' moments in-spite not of knowing proper theory.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Thanks again for the abbreviated lesson. I've been playing along to the Elevated Jam Tracks, which posts the scale and mode of the song. That makes it real easy obviously. But I still haven't been able to get out of the box and continue using 3 notes per string as I move into the other boxes or positions. I'll move out of the key position or 1st position and resort back to the pentatonic box the rest of the neck. I'm usually able to identify the added notes in the mode but I can't move to another position and instinctivly rip off 3 notes per string. I have faith that it's gonna click or I'll find the content on line that makes it click. I'm still ashamed that I never took the time to learn the pentatonic boxes up until recently. Now a can fool a lot more people into thinking I'm good....lol.

Anyway, just wanted to thank you again for nudging me in the right direction. I'm having 'aha' moments in-spite not of knowing proper theory.
A couple other thoughts:

Really, the horizontal pentatonic stuff will totally help glue the boxes together.

Another good exercise I did when learning this stuff: play the notes on pairs of strings up and down the neck. This works well with both pentatonic and diatonic scales.

So, for example, play only the notes on the E and A string in each position. Then play the notes on only the D/G strings. Then on the B/E.

And you can even make that into mini-exercises. Instead of going all the way up the neck, just change between 2 positions back and forth, then move that up by 1 position, and repeat.

Another approach is to think of things in terms of the chord tones, and think of everything else relative to those notes. If you know where the the 1, 3 and 5 are then you have a reference from them to the other notes.

Eventually, you'll start to recognize mini patterns within the patterns that repeat - especially amongst the string pairs I mentioned above.

I'm glad my info has helped you!
 

Bman

Veteran
A couple other thoughts:

Really, the horizontal pentatonic stuff will totally help glue the boxes together.

Another good exercise I did when learning this stuff: play the notes on pairs of strings up and down the neck. This works well with both pentatonic and diatonic scales.

So, for example, play only the notes on the E and A string in each position. Then play the notes on only the D/G strings. Then on the B/E.

And you can even make that into mini-exercises. Instead of going all the way up the neck, just change between 2 positions back and forth, then move that up by 1 position, and repeat.

Another approach is to think of things in terms of the chord tones, and think of everything else relative to those notes. If you know where the the 1, 3 and 5 are then you have a reference from them to the other notes.

Eventually, you'll start to recognize mini patterns within the patterns that repeat - especially amongst the string pairs I mentioned above.

I'm glad my info has helped you!
The two string exercise makes complete sense. That's how my brain identifies which position box I'm on using the pentatonic.
 

Bman

Veteran
:cool:
The two string exercise makes complete sense. That's how my brain identifies which position box I'm on using the pentatonic.
The 'aha' moment finally kicked in: the patterns repeat with variations depending on the 'mode'. It'll be a challenge to identify the 'mode' initially but my ear and experience kinda guide me and I'm able to 'land' on the correct note or change in the pattern instinctively with some exceptions of course. Just memorizing the major/minor patterns gets me in the ball park and I can move up and down with confidence.

Also, I kinda cheat at the moment by looking up the scale mode on a website where I enter what notes are in the song. But even without knowing the exact mode, I'm in the ballpark since I know if it's minor or major....that's easy.

I've made a HUGE leap in two weeks ...thanks a bunch to @unix-guy I've been playing since I was about 7. I've learned more in these two weeks than in the last 43 years...lol.

Now..... do I want to pick all the notes?? hmmmm..... guess I'll have to crack that code :cool:
 

unix-guy

Legend!
:cool:

The 'aha' moment finally kicked in: the patterns repeat with variations depending on the 'mode'. It'll be a challenge to identify the 'mode' initially but my ear and experience kinda guide me and I'm able to 'land' on the correct note or change in the pattern instinctively with some exceptions of course. Just memorizing the major/minor patterns gets me in the ball park and I can move up and down with confidence.

Also, I kinda cheat at the moment by looking up the scale mode on a website where I enter what notes are in the song. But even without knowing the exact mode, I'm in the ballpark since I know if it's minor or major....that's easy.

I've made a HUGE leap in two weeks ...thanks a bunch to @unix-guy I've been playing since I was about 7. I've learned more in these two weeks than in the last 43 years...lol.

Now..... do I want to pick all the notes?? hmmmm..... guess I'll have to crack that code :cool:
That's so cool! Glad I could help. :)
 
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