Free Guitar Lesson How to Use the E Minor Pentatonic Scale

After learning how to play two different positions for the E minor pentatonic scale in the previous guitar lesson for beginners, we wanted to show you how to play the example which was demonstrated at the end of the lesson. We classified this one as an intermediate guitar lesson since there are some bends, articulation and position changes that require some degree of intermediate dexterity.

This is still a good lesson for beginners though since you can see what you can strive to accomplish with the pentatonic scale which is why we wanted to show you how the example is played in an actual musical context. The style is a typical blues or rock guitar solo.

This guitar solo is basically derived from the E minor pentatonic scale (with the addition of two chords) and includes a few fairly simple licks. The guitar rhythm which is played behind these guitar licks is just a very basic I, IV, V chord progression in the key of E minor. The actual chords are E, A and B and are played in a typical blues and rock type of rhythmic approach. The video provides the best explanation of what is going on with the guitar playing in this guitar lesson.

The first lick can be a little difficult to get used to when you are first starting to learn how to play the guitar since it is basically a first position bend and the strings can be much harder to bend when you are that far down the neck. The octave version (still in the em pentatonic scale) of the lick is much easier to play and shows you how the notes are identical and how you are barring the notes as opposed to using the open notes.

The lead guitar lick played over the A chord, or IV chord, is pretty simple yet it is still using only the notes in the em pentatonic scale. The lick over the B and then the A chord are not specifically diatonic to this scale, as they actually address the B Major and A Major guitar chords. This provides a good insight into how you can build a guitar solo on your own over the guitar chords in this free guitar lesson. This chord progression is very common in blues music, rock, and pop music and there are countless songs in nearly all styles which are built from the guitar chords in a progression like this. Pentatonic scales are heavily relied upon since work very well over these chords.

3 thoughts on “Free Guitar Lesson How to Use the E Minor Pentatonic Scale

  1. This works in many of the songs I have learned so I see why this scale is good for playing lead guitar for other styles of music too. These help when improvising too even in other keys. The notes are easy to play but I still have some trouble with bending them. Should I use lighter strings?

    1. The first position bends are the tough ones because of more string tension by the guitar nut. As for your strings, I don’t know what gauge you are using but I use .009 thru .042 almost always on electric guitars. These are easier to bend than .010 sets and above.

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