How to Play the Blues Scale on Bass Guitar
How to Read Notation to Play the Bass Guitar
How to Use the Blues Scale in a Bass Guitar Solo

How to Play the Minor Pentatonic Scale on Bass Guitar

Learning how to play the minor pentatonic scale on bass guitar will add a lot of flavor to your playing because it's one the most versatile scales. The structure of the minor pentatonic scale is very similar to the blues scale. However, the minor pentatonic scale has five different notes.

You use the minor pentatonic scale when the tonality of the chord is minor. You need to make sure that you have three strings available to complete the scale, so find your root on the E or A string.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the pattern of the minor pentatonic scale.

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  2. Press the index finger of your left hand down on the root of the chord (E or A string) and play the note.

  3. Press your pinkie down on the same string and play the note.

    This note is a flat 3 (b3); it’s one of the main ingredients of the minor chord.

  4. Press your index finger down on the next higher (thinner) string and play the note.

    This note is a 4; it’s part of the minor scale.

  5. Press your ring finger down on the same string and play the note.

    This note is a 5; it’s another main ingredient of the minor chord.

  6. Press your index finger down on the next higher (thinner) string and play the note.

    This is the flat 7 (b7); it’s a main ingredient of a minor 7 chord.

  7. Press your ring finger down on the same string and play the note.

    This note is your octave; you’ve arrived at the root again.

You can use the notes of the minor pentatonic scale in any order when playing your solo — not just straight up and down. Use this scale over any minor chord. All the notes sound good when you play them over a minor chord, so you can land on any of them. But if you find that your solo needs spice, use the blues scale.

To get you started on your minor pentatonic path, try out these licks on your bass.

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Click here to download and print these licks.

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