Pentatonic scale – the 5 positions

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites A maybe too detailed explanation of the pentatonic scale;-) Its in two parts The 5 positions for the pentatonic scale. The A minor or C Major pentatonic scale, they share the same notes, so you can look at the 5 notes A C D E G , either as steps of the A minor pentatonic scale: A = root (1) C = minor third (b3) D = fourth (4) E = fifth (5) G = minor seventh (b7) Or as steps of the C Major pentatonic scale: C = root (1) D = second (2) E = third (3) G = fifth (5) A = sixth (6) iPod m4v (original) Flash flv iPod m4v (original) Flash flv Ive attached an image of the 5 positions as 5 colored "boxes" 5_postionsOfPentatonicScale (Click the image for full size)

Eric said,

January 19, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

Great lesson. I was always confused about the Pentatonic scale and how it functioned on the bass; now I know. I watched an interview with Jaco Pastorius and did not realize he was demonstrating the pentatonic scale during the interview. After this lesson I realize Jaco was using the pentatonic scale as a demonstration for how he practiced on his bass.

My only question is why is the “C” called “b3” in the pentatonic scale and not just referred to as the “C” position? Thanks.

MarloweDK said,

November 10, 2010 @ 8:35 am

Thx man:-) Next lesson of this? No need for that, you can practice this and develop your own ideas now;-)

codycaz said,

November 9, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

Heya Marlowe,I dig this.Your way of doing things is so impressive and inspiring,it makes me look forward to the next lesson man.You know what you doing and that’s a big PLUS to everybody learning from you.You’re a great teacher.May you be successful in all your future plans and projects.Cheers!!!!!Checking you out all the way from South Africa.

st170dan said,

August 27, 2010 @ 11:25 am

hi, im new to the site and i love it already!! this has proven to be a very useful lesson for me so thank you very much!! im already looking for similar scale relationships and have found e minor to be the same as g major, i must find more!!

BassMan49 said,

May 14, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

Thanks MarloweDK,

As someone just starting to play bass,your teaching is nice and understandable,

Thanks a lot


Pentatónicas en el Bajo – MarloweDK [Nunca antes fueron tan sencillas] | BajoPro said,

April 28, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

[…] todo su increíble arsenal de bajos dedicación para enseñar, hacen que destaquemos un post de su website personal, quedemuestra de una buena vez que la pentatónica bien utilizada es sin duda un arma […]

alpka said,

April 20, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

Frickin brilliant, thanks. Looks like so many of us have been needing this kind of theory into practice help! I would love to see one more lesson taking another major scale with its relative minor-although it will probably do me more good to work it out for myself!! but all the patterns are the same, right?

Thanks again MarloweDK

MarloweDK said,

April 19, 2010 @ 11:11 pm

You’ve got it:-)

legend_bob said,

April 19, 2010 @ 11:09 pm

Wow, that is awesome. I can’t wait to try this out. I feel like things are about to start falling into place.

One request. Could you do a similar diagram with the A minor pentatonic scale?

Wait, in looking at it again, I see what you’re doing. Same notes, it just depends where you start. I guess the one diagram is all you need. 🙂

buju said,

April 13, 2010 @ 4:03 am

Thanks Marlow
your teaching is helping me so much in understanding the bass and more important music.

Thank you

MarloweDK said,

April 8, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

Because ive studied which scales works and practiced them of course;-) I didnt just wake up one day and could improvise, takes diligent practice like everything else – there is no magic “play like a pro in 2 weeks” method:-)

wf412 said,

April 8, 2010 @ 6:10 pm

thanks alot this video is awsome… but when your improvising with a band how do you know which scales are appropriate to jam off of?

rafafari said,

April 6, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

Thanks a lot Marlowe.I think is the best lesson i ever had in my life as a bassist.New skies are now opened for me.Lots of things now i can understand.regards from Spain.

Olecramniek said,

April 6, 2010 @ 12:43 am

Excelente leccion Marlowe. Muy valiosa. Muchas gracias!

stevew94025 said,

April 3, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

Good stuff Thomas…… managed to turn basic theory into useful and interesting viewing with a whole lot of usefullness………hope you keep on going in this direction for a bit longer. BR /Steve

Hannes said,

April 1, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

Hi Thomas,

this is so very helpful to me, let me just express my deep gratefulness for this useful lesson!
Can’t wait to get more of this good stuff…;-)

edde said,

April 1, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

Thx again Marlowe. The funky shit is great but this is more of a ‘must have under the belt’ thing. Appreciated 😉

Where can I find some interesting/advanced/different ways to play guitar fills/licks? :The Longtail Music Catalog said,

April 1, 2010 @ 8:57 am

[…] Pentatonic scale – the 5 positions | […]

MarloweDK said,

April 1, 2010 @ 7:09 am

Thx, and ill do more of this “need to know” lessons i promise:-)

what are some basic guitar exercises and beginner guitar tricks? | Basic Guitar Blog said,

April 1, 2010 @ 3:22 am

[…] Pentatonic scale – the 5 positions | […]

Cube198 said,

April 1, 2010 @ 3:00 am

Ok, and I would add it is VERY important to watch the WHOLE video before making comments…:-)

Cube198 said,

April 1, 2010 @ 2:54 am

As always, thank you so much for doing this. This is just such fundamental but critical theory. Now all those scale books make sense. I will be taking this scale and practicing in all the positions now. And guess what? The “uncharted territory” now is a ground for more playing. I know that sounds simplistic and very uninformed, but hey, I have been a very lazy bassist. I think you are a very good teacher. Not just funky grooves, but serious theory too. Understanding the positions is fantastic, any advice on how best to practice them? As it is now, just starting out really, they are unconnected blocks. They all probably have certain sonic advantages for doing certain things, but how to seamlessly or musically link? Any advice greatly appreciated. Peace from New Mexico, Mil Gracias!


21 Users Online
Users: 17 Guests 4 Bots

Most recent posts


6 string bass bass bass guitar beg/interm beginner blues blues scale chording chords daddario Dorian minor scale doublestops doublethumbing fender fender jazz bass fingerstyle fretless funk funk bass groove Harmonics ibanez bass ibanez SRX300 interm/adv jazz jazz bass major pentatonic major scale minor Minor pentatonic scale mixolydian scale MKRT4AN pentatonic pickstyle rock SansAmp VT Bass shuffle slap slapstyle tapping The red 1971 Fender Jazz bass thumbpicking transcription tutorial VT bass