education How to play the 5 minor pentatonic shapes on the guitar

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How to play the 5 minor pentatonic shapes on guitar

August 14th, 2019


Music theory for beginners can be overwhelming. Sometimes you don’t even know where to start. For guitarists, we think learning the 5 minor pentatonic shapes is a great starting point.

The minor pentatonic scale is one of the easiest to improvise with and it sounds great with almost any genre of music. However, one issue that many guitarists run into is getting stuck in the same pentatonic box and never getting out of it.

The easy way to fix the issue of the same pentatonic box is to learn all 5 shapes of the pentatonic scale. Mastering this will allow you to play pentatonic licks anywhere on the fretboard.

Let’s take a look at all 5 shapes below, using the key of A minor:


To begin, take out your Soundbrenner Pulse or The Metronome App and tap your preferred tempo. Find out more ways to make the most of your practice routine with the Soundbrenner Pulse.

Shape 1

Minor Pentatonic Scale 1

Shape 2

Minor Pentatonic Scale 2

Shape 3

Minor Pentatonic Scale 3

Shape 4

Minor Pentatonic Scale 4

Shape 5
Minor Pentatonic Scale 5

In each of the 5 shapes, what you can do is to try and identify the root note which in this case is A. In result of mastering this, you will understand how these shapes work and will enable you to immediately jump to any one of the 5 shapes in a given key.


Gradually increase the speed

Once you’ve got that down, the next step is to start moving seamlessly between the shapes. This will enable you to play fast pentatonic runs up and down the fretboard.

In addition to the ones above, you can try the following exercise:

Minor Pentatonic Scale 5

Minor Pentatonic Scale 5

Minor Pentatonic Scale 5

Practice this slowly and then gradually increase the speed until you can play it quickly. Monitor your tempo by using the Soundbrenner Pulse and The Metronome App. This will help you transition easily between the different pentatonic shapes.


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Got a question about the Soundbrenner Pulse? Reach out to us at [email protected], we’re happy to help!


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