Pentatonic scales are essential for any guitar player. Have you ever been playing music with a friend and wanted to play what came to your mind? As I started learning to improvise, I turned to the pentatonic scales. There is an easy functionality with these types of scales. They lay easy on the fretboard. The sound is familiar. The notes are enjoyable to the listener.

I was in a recording session in 2004 and I was struggling to create guitar parts on a song. My fingers naturally fell upon the pentatonic scale. As I started to improvise my band mates loved the sound of the scale recorded on our song. There is power in these 5 notes.

1. Less notes, is more feeling

Its interesting when we are restricted from something. Human nature is to do more with less. As we play less notes in a song or improvisation we are allowing ourselves to play with more feeling. Our creative brain turns on as we are required to use only 5 notes. Take the Blues for example, There are countless recordings of blues improvisations. The less we play, the more creativity is available to us. One of the reasons why we love these scales is because of the opportunity to play less notes.

2. Quickly Learn The FretBoard

Mastering pentatonic scales and the modes will help you become more familiar with the fretboard. As you visualize the placement of these notes, then you will be able to connect the notes together. Learn the pentatonic shapes in each key. You will be able to see how the guitar fretboard transitions from key to key. The landscape of the guitar is beautiful when you have a panoramic view of each key.

3. Pentatonic Scale Improvisation

Improvisation is musical communication on the guitar. The ability to fully express yourself on the guitar is powerful. This starts with learning these types of scales. Pentatonic scales are the gateway to musical improvisation. They create a bridge to other musicians. One of the best things you can do while learning the guitar is to play with others. Learn to speak the language of music with pentatonic scales.

“In improvisation, there are no mistakes.”

Miles Davis


If you haven’t yet learned pentatonic scales, pick up your guitar and start now. The door to creativity can be opened once you start learning. We have a simple learning system called the FretDeck that will help you master these types of scales. Check it out!

Justin Comstock

Host of the Guitar Freaks Podcast

Justin is a Blues guitarist from Utah. He created a guitar learning tool called the FretDeck on Kickstarter that has helped many guitar players master the fretboard. He is also the host of the Guitar Freaks Podcast.

Download his free tools for learning guitar.