Pentatonic guitar scales are commonly the starting point for many guitarists when first learning lead guitar. They are highly useful for soloing and can be applied to many different genres of music, including blues, rock and country.
All pentatonic guitar scales, by definition have five notes.In western music there are two pentatonics commonly used, these are the minor pentatonic and the major pentatonic. A variation of the minor pentatonic scale is the frquently used blues scale.
The minor pentatonic is commonly used in rock and blues music but is not limited to these groups alone. The minor pentatonic is a staple for many guitar solos, and it is generally a very popular scale used for lead guitar playing. The minor pentatonic scale is composed of: root, flat 3, 4, 5 and flat 7 scale steps.
The minor pentatonic can be changed to the blues scale by simply adding a flat 5. This is also a very popular scale for not just blues but for many other genres of music. When discussing pentatonics for guitar, often the blues scale will be included even though technically it isn’t a pentatonic. It contains : root, flat 3, 4, flat 5, 5 and flat 7. This scale is often regarded as the most popular scale for soloing with the guitar.
A versatile and useful scale is the major pentatonic scale. The scale steps are root, 2, 3, 5, 6 degrees. This scale is also frequently used in country music and blues but again is not limited to these styles. If we take the two of these scales we find they are normally used jointly when soloing over a twelve bar blues together with the flat 5, mentioned previously, from the blues scale.
To learn lead guitar it is crucial to learn the minor pentatonic, blues and the major pentatonic guitar scales. These scales can be used for guitar solos in almost any style of music and contain the common notes that the diatonic modes are formed with. These scales are genearally a good starting point when learning lead guitar.