Scales that dont start at the tonic

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:55 pm
by Ray1981 • 279 Posts

Hi all,

Couple of days ago a received a awsome freebee about pentatonic scales. I dont understand something about all these positions. Some dont start at the tonic but are still called after their tonic. E.g. the 2nd position of the C mi pent start at the 11th fret which is Eb and is the 2nd tone of this scale. If i play it from there it still a C mi pent scale if i play it from the 11th fret? Yes because PB knows his shit, but i dont understand it completely. Is the anybody who would like this clearify this principle a bit?

Thank in advance

Grtz Ray

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RE: Scales that dont start at the tonic

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:27 am
by ICanOnlyCarry50ChickensAtATime • 14 Posts

You play the Cmin scale as long as you are playing the notes within the scale. It does not matter on what note a certain pattern starts. Im my opinion a pattern or position is just an overview of all the notes in a certain scale within a restricted area of the fretboard.
When you play a melody or a solo, you don't always start with the first note of the positions anyway. So it just tells you what notes you could choose in that given key.
But always be aware of what note has which function in that scale you are playing (root, 2nd etc).

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RE: Scales that dont start at the tonic

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:44 am
by wetduck (deleted)

Im just assuming your learning the CAGED system :) I think of it this way Ray. 5 scales patterns cover all the hand positions of the fret-board. scales 1,2,3,4,5, :) when you memorize the the 5 patterns, pay attention to where the root is in that given pattern. remember these are Just patterns. scale 1 is easy !! because you put your finger on the note on the sixth string and there is your scale and your key.... its really easy to see because of the 6 string root.... now ... if you have memorized the patterns correctly and just move your hand to the next positions you'll still be playing in the right key....(blind) cause your repeating all the same notes... TRUE when practicing scales 2,3,4,5 after you memorize the pattern try playing the scale from the root ... and play it root note to root then continue thru the rest of the pattern. eg scale 2 the root is on the 4th string so try starting on that C and play the scale C to C then finish the rest of the pattern.. this really helped me see where i was :) and you'll hear your scale root to root instead of from a different note inside the scale.... But still run the whole pattern as you drill it. Hope this helps RAY :)

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RE: Scales that dont start at the tonic

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:13 am
by Ray1981 • 279 Posts

Hey guy thanks this helps. Actually i was talking about the pentatonic scales but the principle and my question was the same. So it's more like that in a certain position you have the tones of a certain scale in a key available.
But when you practice them do you start always on the root and end on the root. Or just play it from 6th string till 1st and back?

The CAGED system i wrote it out in all 15 keys but I'm started with the Pentatonic scale book. I dont know what is actually better to do now im thinking about it. Maybe it would make more sens to learn first all the major ones.

anyhow thanks

grtz Ray

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RE: Scales that dont start at the tonic

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:06 pm
by ICanOnlyCarry50ChickensAtATime • 14 Posts

For practicing purpose I'd say just play it from the lowest note on the 6th string.. but keep in mind it's not the root.
And as soon as you got a shape down, I'd suggest to double / tripple etc the notes and also play the shape in intervals. Then be creative/musical.
Just playing a scale up and down is just the place to start in my opinion.

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RE: Scales that dont start at the tonic

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:32 pm
by Ray1981 • 279 Posts

Yes i know the first position pentatonic scale for a while so yesterday i started to do it in 2nds as PB shows in one of his videos. That was cool to do, even with a pick (i'm used to use my nails) :)

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RE: Scales that dont start at the tonic

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:38 pm
by wetduck (deleted)

Agreed !!! play them up and down, 6 string to 1st just know where the roots are !!! very importain :) my humble advice is to start with the major scale !!! cause everything else is related to it :) get the 5 positions of the major scale under your finger this week ! then you'll easily see the pentatonic, inside the major scale(patterns):) and eventually the other scales. by learning the 5 major scales and patterns you also get the natural minor scale :) with the same patterns !!!yaaaaa most guitar players you meet in life !!! unless your a professional guitar player for a living !!! will even now that much , about there instruments... sad !!! but true, in my experience :) These scales will give you a solid foundation. everything else stacks upon these scales. and takes it to a deeper level.

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RE: Scales that dont start at the tonic

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:15 am
by mr. gurgle (deleted)

Pentatonic positions are always useful. Pretty much everywhere you look in popular music you can apply them. Just know the positions and if nothing else find the first position for the key of the song and then you have all the other positions lined up accordingly. From Pink Floyd to Marty Friedman of Megadeth time you can solo over the progressions and it really boosts the right kind of confidence that this stuff actually works. Even if you don't intend to play solos these scales are a no brainer! You see them used in melodies and for any finger exercise they are great practice tools. Pentatonic scales have thus many qualities that make them usable right away.

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RE: Scales that dont start at the tonic

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:34 am
by Scottulus • 222 Posts

Let's shift our discussion of pentatonic scales to the key of Gmajor/Eminor.

So, the notes in an E minor Pentatonic scale are: EGABD (Technically this is an Emin7add11 chord/arpeggio)
G Major Pentatonic GABDE (Technically a Gmaj6add9 chord/arpeggio)

The names of your open strings are; EADGBE. See a connection yet?

Think of the root note as the "mayor" and the other notes in the scale as the "mayor's entourage.

The mayor can be in the beginning, the end or the middle of his entourage, sometimes not in his entourage at all... but he is still the mayor.
Same as the root. It can be in the beginning, the middle, or the end, and sometimes nowhere; It's still the root. Chords, scales, substitutions, etc there is always a reference point, even if it isn't clear...

Scales, like chords can be inverted. But I'm thinking that you might want to get a solid handle on intervals, chord and scale construction, key signatures, major to relative minor, and probably basic position playing in a sightreading context to really get where you want to be... Don't worry, you can kill many birds with one stone.

Now this could be thought of as a few possible scales, really depends on what you are doing and what chords you are playing over. The most obvious choice is Gmajor or it's relative E Minor, (Obvious because the Emin triad EGB, and the Gmaj triad GBD are clearly components in this structure.

So here are the sequential inversions (or modes) of the "E Minor Pentatonic Scale"


A great way to really see this is to play the notes of your scale from the lowest note available up and down each string. Then repeat the process in all 12 keys. Pebber has this neat way of looking at scales that is a step up from that, but this would be a good start to get away from just being a 'fingering' player, and instead play the notes. Any string, any position. He has some videos on this topic that you may find useful...

Hope that helps.


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