Visualizing Pentatonic Scales Pt.1

In this lesson we are going to try to combine our knowledge of keys with our knowledge of the 5 basic pentatonic scale forms.

If you don't know how to spell your major scales fluently take a look at the "Understanding Keys Lesson" that we did earlier.

Also, you will need to know the 5 basic scale forms for the major pentatonic scale, which can be located in the "Major Pentatonic Scales Lesson".

After you know all of this, we can begin to start learning how to visualize these scale forms all over the neck in any key you want. It may seem like everything requires a lot of thinking at first, but I think you will find this method to be incredible when practiced daily.

Of all the ways I have tried to get my student's to be able to visualize scales, this by far has been the most successful method. It also has the added benefit of increasing your music theory knowledge so you can think like a musician and not just some guitar player following a couple patterns across the neck.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments!!

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Visualizing Pentatonic Scales Pt.1


  1. Joe on March 9, 2010 at 4:07 am

    The video for the intermediate lesson on ‘Visualizing Pentatonic Scales Pt. 1’ is actually playing a beginner lesson on pull-offs and slurs.

    Pt2 is ok.

  2. Carl Brown on March 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    woops.. LOL..
    I guess when I was changing all of the videos to the new HD format I messed that one up. I will fix it right now. Thank You so much for letting me know about the problem. Cheers!! Carl 😀

  3. Padraic King on February 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Hi Carl,
    I am self thought but at one time I was thought the pentatonic blues scale very similar to shape built from the 6th. But I play it where the shape built from the root starts. I have been ‘chasing the root’ and I am starting to understand what you are talking about.But… Why does it – (penta blues scale or 6th shape) sound right even though it’s 3 frets up from where it should be? is it just the way I have been playing it? where I bend the notes? I try to play the root shape but it just does not seem to sound half as good, Is this just a matter of time and practice?

  4. Ruffnek on March 27, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    @Padriac King. I’m surprised there is no response to this but here goes…This is a lesson on “Major Pentatonic” scales. What you are using is “Minor Pentatonic” The “blues” scale has one extra note in there. There is no difference in the scale forms between minor and major pentatonic, just where they are played in relation to the key or root.
    For instance, for A minor pentatonic, you would play your blues scale starting at the 5th fret. This pattern shape is the same as the major pentatonic scale 6th form. But A major pentatonic would start with scale form 1.

    I hope that made sense or at least explains why they sound so different. The scale forms are the same, and they go together in the same order, they just have a different relationship to the key.

    Carl, feel free to correct me.


  5. Cris on August 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    This is Beginner Carl. But Cheers for yar lesson! 🙂

  6. Danny on August 19, 2011 at 9:10 am

    What I ment under Visualisation is:
    You look at a particular position on your neck and at once you can tell which note it is, just like on a piano.
    When you have to go first to the 6th string and play a certain scale to become the knowledge of a certain note on, let’s say 4th string, it takes too long.
    What my goal is: play from a music-sheet and find the notes immediately on the neck.

    • Carl Brown on August 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      Hey Danny, have you seen the “Naming the Notes On the Fretboard” lessons?


  7. Hamza on January 18, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Hey Carl, I’ve been playing guitar since june 2011. probably been 7 months .. i can play all the beginner scales but dont know what to do with them..can u help ?? Plz?
    What r the scales for?? And i see people talking about the 6th’s and stuff like that.. this just goes straight above my head.. :/

  8. josh on April 10, 2013 at 9:39 am

    hey everyone… im Josh…Ive been playing guitar for 6 years now… i learned everything i know from tabs… i only know chords by their names such as Amaj Am Emaj Em etc…. i understand how to figure out what a note is… but when i play i just recognize patterns… not note names… is there any way i could learn those note names easier than trying to start at E and going through them as i go up the neck???

  9. Keith Halwig on April 1, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Hey Josh: see Carl’s response to Danny above. The lesson is excellent as usual. Cheers

  10. Peter Eames on February 21, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    unreal lessoj

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