Bass, Lessons — March 10, 2012 9:11 pm

Bass Guitar Pentatonic Minor Scales

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In this weeks lesson, I want to cover one of the most commonly used scales, the Pentatonic Minor. This scale comes from the natural minor scale. If you have never heard of the natural minor scale, that is the scale formed when you start any major scale on its’ 6th degree.

For example, take the notes of your Bb major scale:
Major Scale Bb C D Eb F G A Bb

Now start the scale on its 6th degree:
Natural Minor Scale G A Bb C D Eb F G

It is called such because it naturally occurs in the major. At this point I also suggest listening and reflecting upon the sound of each scale and the fact that even though these scales contain the exact same motes, they sound completely different depending on their starting point. It always fascinates me how we hear music in relation to its’ root and/or starting point.

The pentatonic minor can now be created from the minor. If you omit the 2nd and 6th degree of the natural minor scale you will create this minor. The 2nd and 6th degrees sounded together create the b5 interval, A.K.A the tri-tone. This interval is considered to have more dissonance than most and the elimination of this interval cancels out the possibility of creating such dissonance which makes it an easily pleasing sounding scale to use.

Eliminating the 2nd and 6th degrees:
G Bb C D F G

Below you will find one of my favorite riffs using pentatonic minor, Damn Right I Got the Blues by Buddy Guy. This riff is in the key of a minor.

This is a great scale for bass line construction as well as soloing. I hope you liked this introductory lesson to the pentatonic minor scale.

Enjoy your BASS!!!


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