Pentatonische toonladders

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Why?

I found pentatonic scales very useful for a couple of reasons:

Improvisation

All notes in a pentatonic scale sound good together. That makes this scale perfect for improvisation.

Accompanying others

It's also perfect for accompanying others, when you don't know more specifically how to play a certain piece of music. E.g., when playing bass guitar

Easy to remember

My problem with scales used to be, that I couldn't remember them. Not anymore, as pentatonic scales are realy easy to remember. There are about five different patterns, but you really need only to learn one pattern for major scales and one pattern for minor scales. For different keys, these patterns are all the same.

Lots of music is pentatonic

Lots of popular music is actually pentatonic, which makes the scale widely applicable

As a reference for non-pentatonic music

Even for music which is not pentatonic, the pentatonic scale forms an excellent reference framework for figuring out how to play that piece of music and where to fill in the other notes.

Construction & theory

Pentatonische toonladders bestaan (uiteraard) uit vijf tonen per octaaf. Meestal worden die afgeleid van de majeur- en mineurtoonladders (8 tonen per octaaf), die op hun beurt meestal zijn afgeleid van chromatische toonladders (12 tonen per octaaf). Het kan hierbij handig zijn om te denken in termen van scale degrees, (toonladder-graden?). Een majeurtoonladder bestaat dan uit scale degrees 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

  • Om een pentatonische majeurtoonladder te vormen, laten we de 4e en 7e graad weg: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
  • Om een pentatonische mineurtoonladder te vormen, laten we de 2e en de 6e graad weg: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7.

Five shapes

There seem to be about five shapes for playing pentatonic scales. The reason to learn more than one shape: You can use slides and still be in the same pentatonic scale.

All five pentatonic shapes

Pentatonic scales & memorising the fretboard

With backing tracks

  • Play a backing track in the same scale
  • Say the notes while playing them

With songs

  • Take a piece of music in that scale and play along with it using chord transcriptions, playing only loose notes instead of the cords. Play this on the lowest octave covered by that scale
  • When this goes well, also play it on the higher octave covered by that scale
  • Also use music that is not pentatonic, so you also learn the notes outside the pentatonic scale

I think its most effective to first learn all notes on the fretboard like this, before learning the other shapes: Once I know the fretboard, the other shapes probably come naturally.

All pentatonic scales - Shape 1

A:   A  B  C# E  F#
Am:  A  C  D  E  G
A#:  A# C  D  G  G 
B:   B  C# D# F# G#
Bm:  B  D  E  F# A
C:   C  D  E  G  A
Cm:  C  D# F  G  A#
C#:  C# D# F  G# A#
C#m: C# E  F# G# B
D:   D  E  F# A  B
Dm:  D  F  G  A  C
D#:  D# F  G  A# C
E:   E  F# G# B  C#
Em:  E  G  A  B  D
F:   F  G  A  C  D
F#:  F# G# A# C# D#
G:   G  A  B  D  E
G#:  G# A# C  D# F

Guitar neck - for reference:

E|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A-|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-e--||-F--|-F#-|
B|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E-|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--||-C--|-C#-|
G|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C-|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--||-G#-|-A--|
D|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G-|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--||-D#-|-E--|
A|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D-|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--||-A#-|-B--|
E|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A-|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--||-F--|-F#-|
0|         |  3 |    | 5 |    | 7  |    | 9  |         | 12 ||

Songs

  • Live - Graze: Juist niet pentatonisch (als ik me niet vergist), maar deze toonladder is wel heel handig als context
  • Morphine - Buena: Niet pentatonisch, maar de pentatonische toonladder is wel heel handig als uitgangspunt, om dit nummer te spelen - Ook op bas!
  • Vader Jacob is pentatonisch.

A

Noten: A B C# E F#

Om van de toonladder in A naar die in Am te gaan, verplaats je de barré drie plekken richting de kop van de gitaar, en je begint met je pink:

e |----|-F#-|----|----|(A)-|----|----|----|
B |----|-C#-|----|----|-E--|----|----|----|
G |----|-A--|----|-B--|----|----|----|----|
D |----|-E--|----|-F#-|----|----|----|----|
A |----|-B--|----|-C#-|----|----|----|----|
E |----|(F#)|----|----|-A--|----|----|----|
  | 1  | 2  | 3  | 4  | 5  | 6  | 7  | 8  |  

Backing tracks

Songs

Am

Noten: A C D E G

In de box van fret 5-8:

e |---------------------------------------------------5(A)-8(C)-
B |-----------------------------------------5(E)-8(G)-----------
G |-------------------------------5(C)-7(D)---------------------
D |---------------------5(G)-7(A)-------------------------------
A |-----------5(D)-7(E)-----------------------------------------
E |-5(A)-8(C)---------------------------------------------------

Of zo:

e |----|----|----|----|-A--|----|----|-C--|
B |----|----|----|----|-E--|----|----|-G--|
G |----|----|----|----|-C--|----|-D--|----|
D |----|----|----|----|-G--|----|-A--|----|
A |----|----|----|----|-D--|----|-E--|----|
E |----|----|----|----|-A--|----|----|-C--|
  |  1 |  2 |  3 |  4 |  5 |  6 |  7 |  8 |  

Backing tracks

Songs

A#m

Backing tracks

Cm

C, D#, F, G,  A#:

e |----|----|----|-C--|----|----|-D#-|----|
B |----|----|----|-G--|----|----|-A#-|----|
G |----|----|----|-D#-|----|-F--|----|----|
D |----|----|----|-A#-|----|-C--|----|----|
A |----|----|----|-F--|----|-G--|----|----|
E |----|----|----|-C--|----|----|-D#-|----|
  |    |    |    |  8 |    |    | 11 |    |

Backing tracks

Songs

  • Sinnerman past goed binnen de Cm-pentatonische toonladder

C#

Noten: C# D# F G# A#

e |----|-A#-|----|----|-C#-|----|----|----|
B |----|-F--|----|----|-G#-|----|----|----|
G |----|-C#-|----|-D#-|----|----|----|----|
D |----|-G#-|----|-A#-|----|----|----|----|
A |----|-D#-|----|-F--|----|----|----|----|
E |----|----|----|----|-C#-|----|----|----|
  |    |  6 |  7 |  8 |  9 |    |    |    |  

C#m

Noten: C# E F# G# B

Gitaar:

e |----|----|----|-C#-|----|----|-E--|----|
B |----|----|----|-G#-|----|----|-B--|----|
G |----|----|----|-E--|----|-F#-|----|----|
D |----|----|----|-B--|----|-C#-|----|----|
A |----|----|----|-F#-|----|-G#-|----|----|
E |----|----|----|-C#-|----|----|-E--|----|
  |    |    |    |  9 |    |    | 12 |    |  

Bas:

G |----|----|----|-E--|----|-F#-|----|----|
D |----|----|----|-B--|----|-C#-|----|----|
A |----|----|----|-F#-|----|-G#-|----|----|
E |----|----|----|-C#-|----|----|-E--|----|
  |    |    |    |  9 |    |    | 12 |    |
                    *             **

D

Noten [1]: D E F# A B

e |----|----|----|-B--|----|----|-D--|----|
B |----|----|----|-F#-|----|----|-A--|----|
G |----|----|----|-D--|----|-E--|----|----|
D |----|----|----|-A--|----|-B--|----|----|
A |----|----|----|-E--|----|-F#-|----|----|
E |----|----|----|(B)-|----|----|-D--|----|
  |    |    |    | 9  |    |    | 10 |    |

Backing tracks

Dm

Noten: D  F  G  A  C

Gitaar:

e |----|----|----|=D==|----|----|-F--|----|
B |----|----|----|-A--|----|----|-C--|----|
G |----|----|----|-F--|----|-G--|----|----|
D |----|----|----|-C--|----|=D==|----|----|
A |----|----|----|-G--|----|-A--|----|----|
E |----|----|----|=D==|----|----|-F--|----|
  |    |    |    | 10 |    | 12 |    |    |

Bas:

G |----|----|----|-F--|----|-G--|----|----|
D |----|----|----|-C--|----|=D==|----|----|
A |----|----|----|-G--|----|-A--|----|----|
E |----|----|----|=D==|----|----|-F--|----|
  |    |    |    | 10 |    | 12 |    |    |

Backing tracks

Songs

E

E, F#, G#, B, C#:

e |----|----|----|-C#-|----|----|-E--|----|
B |----|----|----|-G#-|----|----|-B--|----|
G |----|----|----|-E--|----|-F#-|----|----|
D |----|----|----|-B--|----|-C#-|----|----|
A |----|----|----|-F#-|----|-G#-|----|----|
E |----|----|----|----|----|----|-E--|----|
  |    |    |    | 9  |    |    | 12 |    |

Backing tracks

Songs

Em

E, G, A, B, D:

e |----|----|-G--|----|
B |----|----|-D--|----|
G |----|-A--|----|----|
D |----|-E--|----|----|
A |----|-B--|----|----|
E |----|----|-G--|----|
  |    |    | 3  |    |
  • Em is de laagste/eerste mineur-toonladder die je aan de 'kop' van de hals kunt spelen
  • De open snaren maken onderdeel van deze toonladder!

Backing tracks

F#

F#, G#, A#, C#, D#:

e |----|----|----|-D#-|----|----|(F#)|----|
B |----|----|----|-A#-|----|----|-C#-|----|
G |----|----|----|-F#-|----|-G#-|----|----|
D |----|----|----|-C#-|----|-D#-|----|----|
A |----|----|----|-G#-|----|-A#-|----|----|
E |----|----|----|----|----|----|-F#-|----|
  |    | 9  |    |    | 12 |    |    |    |

Backing tracks

F#m

Backing tracks

G

G, A, B, D, E

e |----|----|(G)-|----|----|----|----|----|
B |----|----|-D--|----|----|----|----|----|
G |----|-A--|----|----|----|----|----|----|
D |----|-E--|----|----|----|----|----|----|
A |----|-B--|----|----|----|----|----|----|
E X----|----|-G--|----|----|----|----|----|
  |  1 |  2 |  3 |  4 |  5 |  6 |  7 |  8 |

G is de eerste/laagste majeur-toonladder die je aan de 'kop' van de hals kunt spelen

Backing tracks

Gm

Backing tracks

Riffs

Een paar typische rifs of licks op de pentatonische toonladder:

Riff #1

In Am:

  • B-snaar fret 8, ringvinger ipv. pink. Ben twee halve tonen omhoog
  • Hoge e-snaar, fret 5
  • B-snaar: 5
  • G-snaar: 7, 5
  • D-snaar: 7, 5
  • D-snaar: 7

Zie ook

Bronnen

Theorie

Theorie - Justinguitar.com

Toonladders

YouTube tutorials & vermaak

Appendix: Templates

E |-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|--A-|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-e--||-F--|-F#-|
B |-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|--E-|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--||-C--|-C#-|
G |-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|--C-|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--||-G#-|-A--|
D |-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|--G-|-G#-|-A--|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--||-D#-|-E--|
A |-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|--D-|-D#-|-E--|-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|-A--||-A#-|-B--|
E |-F--|-F#-|-G--|-G#-|--A-|-A#-|-B--|-C--|-C#-|-D--|-D#-|-E--||-F--|-F#-|
0 |         |  3 |    | 5  |    | 7  |    | 9  |    |    | 12 ||    |    |

e |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||----|----|
B |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||----|----|
G |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||----|----|
D |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||----|----|
A |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||----|----|
E |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----||----|----|
  |  1 |  2 |  3 |  4 |  5 |  6 |  7 |  8 |  9 | 10 | 11 | 12 || 13 | 14 |


e |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|
B |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|
G |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|
D |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|
A |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|
E |----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|