Utilizing the Minor Pentatonic Scale
By Luqmann Ruth

Throughout the history of music, there have been many songs and scales utilized. Some songs have utilized major scales or minor scales. Then there is the minor pentatonic scale, the “quintessential rock scale”.

To understand the pentatonic scale and how to utilize it, you must first understand the major, and minor scales. In the key of C major, the notes go as follows: C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C. On a keyboard, these would be all white keys. In the key of C major, there is also a minor key, the relative . This “relative” key starts on the 6th scale degree of the key, or note of the key (A). The key of A minor is A – B – C – D – E – F – G – A.

I can tell that a light just went off in your head. “Wow, C major, and A minor use the same exact notes, just starting in different places, this opens up a world of possibilities. I can have a progression in C major, and solo over it in A minor!”

Now, back to the minor pentatonic scale. This scale only uses 5 notes from it’s minor key. Using A minor as an example, the A minor pentatonic scale only uses A – C – D – E – G – A. This minor pentatonic scale can be utilized as a minor scale, but it’s minimalistic composition brings up sounds of hard rock riffs, and sweet blues licks near the 12th fret.

For example a progression in C major such as C – D – F can be turned into a whole song by utilizing the minor pentatonic scale. You could run through the progression twice but on the second time go C – D – E, then segway to the A minor scale (because E naturally resolves to A). While in A minor, you could use A – C – G – A, alluding to the minor pentatonic scale.

In music, there is a world of possibilities. You can apply all of this information to any major scale such as G major (G – A – B – C – D – E – F# – G), and the relative minor, E minor (E – F# – G – A – B – C – D – E). With all of the possibilities in music, there is only one thing that can limit you; your imagination.

My name is Luqmann, and I am a Chicago area musician, and producer. I specialize in the electric guitar, and my DAWs include Ableton Live, and FL Studio.


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