"GUITAR EXPLAINED VISUALLY"

screenshot

scale shape, with example placement

The most common scale shape used in rock. Some classic rock solos are based exclusively on this shape.

If you're just starting to play, you should learn how to move this shape around the neck so you can use it in different keys, and how to get either a major or a minor sound with it.

As you get better, you should eventually be able to quickly and instinctively move your hand to the appropriate place on the neck for this shape, especially when playing in common keys like A, E, D and G.

How to use scales

How to get a MINOR sound using this scale shape

The basic sound of rock. To use it, follow these steps:

  • what key are you in?
  • find that note on the 6th string
  • visually place the shape so that the LOWER note on the 6th string (circled in red below) is at that fret.

Example: key of A

On the 6th string you can play an A note at either the 5th or 17th frets.

A minor pentatonic scale shape

Example: key of B

On the 6th string you can play a B note at either the 7th or 19th frets.

B minor pentatonic scale shape

You may not have enough frets on your guitar to play this shape at the 19th fret.

Example: key of C

On the 6th string you can play a C note at either the 8th or 20th frets.

C minor pentatonic scale shape

You definitely won't have enough frets to play this shape at the 20th fret (unless you have a 24-fret guitar)

How to get a MAJOR sound using this scale shape

Not quite as commonly used as the minor sound but still important to know.

  • Do the same thing, except this time use the UPPER note on the 6th string (circled in red below) as your guide.

Example: key of A

On the 6th string you can play an A note at either the 5th or 17th frets.

A major pentatonic scale shape

Example: key of B

On the 6th string you can play a B note at either the 7th or 19th frets.

B major pentatonic scale shape

Example: key of C

On the 6th string you can play a C note at either the 8th or 20th frets.

C major pentatonic scale shape

Notice how this is the same shape as the A minor pentatonic shape. Need to explain why.

One last note

Notice how both the major and minor forms of this scale shape relate to (the chord shape)


next: another common scale shape