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How to Play Pentatonic Pattern 5 on the Guitar

Pentatonic pattern 5 on the guitar is unique in that it’s completely symmetrical. You can try beginning this pattern with your 2nd finger and using the one-finger-per-fret approach, though there’s nothing in the 11th fret for your 3rd finger to play. You can also try using just your 1st and 3rd fingers, which seems to work well in this position because of the narrow fret spacing.

[Credit:     Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna]
Credit:     Illustration courtesy of Desi Serna

Take note of how a portion of pattern 4 is reused in pattern 5.

After you memorize pattern 5, review and practice all the patterns by following these steps:

  1. Start with pattern 1 and play through it in both directions, ascending and decending.

  2. Lift your hand and reset it in the next position for pattern 2. Play up and down the scale.

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the remaining patterns, 3 through 5.

  4. Play through all the patterns again, but this time, start with pattern 5 and move backward from pattern to pattern until you finish with pattern 1.

  5. Continue your practice by changing the scale direction you start with.

In other words, instead of always starting each pattern with the lowest note on the 6th string and then ascending from there, start on the other end with each pattern’s highest note on the 1st string and descend the scale first.

You can practice pentatonic scale patterns not only to prepare you to play popular music but also to develop your finger strength, coordination, and technique.

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