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Improve Your Skills > Blues/Rock > Minor Pentatonic #3-Hitting the Sweet Spot!

Minor Pentatonic #3-Hitting the Sweet Spot!

This is one of the most rewarding scales to learn, for a few reasons. First, the form of it makes it perfectly suited for adding a few extra notes to the scale that provide a limitless source of new sounds for the blues/rock player. Second, many players are unaware of this scale and its potential, as they tend to stay with Scale 1 & 2, which they learned first, and never went beyond.

You will also notice that there is an out of position stretch with the first finger. This stretch , as well as the overall shape of the scale, make this scale more difficult to develop speed with than the first two scales. But, here is the good news.........

You don't have to develop speed! That's right, there is no practical need to develop speed playing this scale up and down. It is never used that way. If we need a fast pentatonic scale, we use the first scale to get those notes. After all, the notes of this scale are exactly the same as the second octave of the first scale.

Only the upper part of this scale is habitually used, and it is used for certain very cool sounding licks that come out of its shape ( not to say you can't use the bottom when convenient, and that situation certainly occurs.).

The cool licks that come out of this scale rely for their sound on a few notes that are added to the scale, namely, the major 2nd, the major 3rd, and the major 6th.

Let's take a look at them.........


Here we have the notes of Scale 3 that you will actually use for most of your playing (with a few special notes added). It is from these notes that most of the licks from Scale 3 come.


Here we see:

Major 6th: added on the 3rd string with the 2nd finger

Major 6th (octave higher): obtained by bending the 5th with the 3rd finger on the 1st string 1 whole step.

Major 2nd: this note on the 2nd string with the 3rd finger may be used as a passing tone in runs, but is mostly used to bend to the major or minor 3rd.

Minor 7th: a part of the basic scale, but obtained here through a bend, a big one, with the 3rd finger on the 1st string). A potential string breaker in fact, of 1 1/2 steps!


The major notes add a very sweet sound to the scale, and when alternated with the normal "blue" notes of a flat 3rd and flat 7th, they are quite tasty. Of course, this is not the only scale we do this with. We used the major 3rd in Scale 3 with Solo #3. They are also used extensively in Scale 1, but they can't be used in quite the same way as they can with Scale 3.

Between all these "flavor notes", there is a world of expression waiting in this scale. Let's take a look at a few choice, tasty licks.






added NATURAL 2nd is bent a whole step to MAJOR 3RD


Sliding in to the NATURAL 6th with 2nd finger, bend can be whole or half step, or anywhere in between!

very cool Jimmy Page lick, bending the 5th to the b7.


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