Open E Minor Pentatonic Scale

Actually Justin does talk about using finger 3 (not finger 4) on the top two strings in the Am pentatonic pattern lesson. The reason being that it is easier to get into a bend with 3. But all of this stuff is a personal choice and it’s good to be able to do either, depending on the circumstances.

Justin is just trying to progress you in a way that is the least daunting for beginners. I’m sure the pattern he is suggesting is the best one to start with, but there are no “rules”.

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I guess you are right - you can’t ask beginners to play with pinky. I’m sometimes confused because I’m not a beginner, but I have started this course really from Grade 1, just to be sure that I haven’t missed anything important (because I’m self taught)
Thx for replying.


Yes, I know what you mean. I’m not a beginner either, so I have been jumping around a lot looking for the things I want to learn (probably starting around Grade 5). But occasionally I find an earlier lesson that has something really interesting.

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My philosophy is why use the pinkie if you don’t have to? :grinning:

It gets harder to press the strings down the closer you get to the nut. I find it much easier to use fingers 2 & 3 for the open scales.

As a general philosophy, I don’t think it generally makes sense to learn something “the hard way”, just because that way will be useful later on. I mean we don’t finger open E or Am chords with fingers 2, 3 and 4, even though that would be useful for learning barre chords in the future.

I think there’s something to be said for getting up to speed quickly when learning something new (like your first scale or chords).


Yeah but once you have the barre chords down, you do for those quick changes. :rofl:

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I’m up to 120 BPM up and down the scale in this position. I can’t do the scale when looking away or watching tv, maybe that’s the next step, but that’s my question … “what’s the next step?” when in this module? I can certainly just stay the course if that’s what I’m supposed to do as I don’t want to rush ahead (I’ve done that before, to my detriment), but are there some simple licks I could throw in there to spice this up after I run the basic scale for a bit? I know the opening riff that we are learning to “Wish You Were Here” is part of this, and I’ve got that down, but just asking if it’s right to add anything else in. Again, I’m ok with staying the course.

Just play about with it, this is one of the most used scales around, so just throw a few notes sequence together with the odd slide or bend in see how it goes.

I would suggest going for sets of triplets or 4 notes to start

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Why is it called an “E Minor” scale?

It’s an E minor pentatonic scale because:

  • E is the root note. We start and end the scale on the note E. If we played the same scale starting on the note G, it would be a G minor pentatonic.

  • It’s a minor scale because the distance between the root note (E) and the 3rd note (G) is called a minor third interval. As opposed to major scales where the distance between the root note (E) and the 3rd note (G#) is a major third interval.

  • Pentatonic is Greek for ‘five notes’. This scale only uses 5 notes from the full natural minor scale. You don’t play the 2nd nor the 6th note of the full minor scale.


Hi guys, is it a good idea to start practicing Eminor scale with alternate picking from the start? Seems to be a bit easier at first glance.

If you think it’s easier I don’t see a reason not to! Alternate picking is something you will keep using and training anyway.

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Had a very cool moment with this scale yesterday. I was listening to a cover of Alice Cooper’s Ballad of Dwight Fry by the Melvins and thought “huh, maybe I can figure out the chords by ear”. It went well which was already awesome, but there was a lick I was trying to replicate without success by just picking random notes in the fretboard. Then it hit me “what if this lick is actually in the scale I’ve been practicing like Wish You Were Here?”. And damn! I figured the lick out almost instantly. It was a very simple one but I’m very happy to have managed by myself. This is really a delayed gratification game, ain’t it?

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During Grade 1 I did “Peter Gunn Theme” (small riff) with alternate picking, doing it on each string, like a “scale” so I practice alternate picking a bit and try to hit correct strings without looking. I moved it a few frets to make it easier and did it on every session. It helped a lot with doing Em scale using alternate picking and now I am having a great time on “Wish You Were Here”.

Justin did a great jog organizing Module 8 so it all merges seamlessly into “Wish You Were Here” riff practice.

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