Tip: Improvising basics: A minor Pentatonic

You’ll be layering some stuff over each other:

  • A minor pentatonic scale
  • corresponding arpeggio’s
  • optional: a blues scale

I’ll try to formulate some tips:

  • get a backign track in A minor (As I think you memorized the A minor scale)

  • don’t forget to memorize, in the first place, the root notes and the chord tones in the pentatonic scale.
    (learn steps 1-3-5 in major or minor scale… (minor scale is 1-flattened third-5 in comparison to the major scale). example. you learned the A minor pentatonic scale. the root is A and the other chord tones are C and E.

  • when improvising, start out easy by starting and ending on the same note, same fret, same string.
    the notes in between you get from the chord tones. so in this example we work around the chord A minor.
    you can pick of the 3 A’s
    the A’s are marked with a *


play only notes from this tab (go as random as you feel like) and end up on the same A you started from
played over a A min backing track; this will ALWAYS sound good!

you feel you will be doing nothing more than playing a broken chord… in an “arpeggiated” fashion … easy peasy

lets start and land on the same A but using all the notes from the pentatonic scale
(again, A is marked by a *)


when you start and end with the same A, it will always sound “compatible” with you a min backing track.

  • now try landing on A but on a different A than you started from. that gets a bit harder but it still is compatible.

  • now try improvising by landing on any given note out of the minor pentatonic scale provided above. this gets harder… it doesn’t always sound that goo but it’s still quite compatible to your backing track, no matter what you do.

  • you can extend with using the other steps in the scale but you’ll notice they arent to easy to implement
    the steps 2, 4 and 6 might get in your way and sound dissonant in your jam

  • the arpeggio’s… in this case, you want to know MINOR arpeggio’s. figure out which arpeggios fit over
    the used scale type. again, this ain’t the law but other won’t fit completely over the shape you know and might confuse you.

ths handy tool makes you generate arpeggio’s starting from every fret you like

although I recommend you to check justin arpeggio lesson and see what parts go where in the basic arpeggio shapes he teaches there

you can use the notes in any order if you like but don’t forget the good reference point the root note gives to you (and the listener)

  • you’ll see that your minor arpeggio’s slide nicely into the shape.

  • you also feel like I’m repeating myself because… the arpeggio consists of chord tones?!! jup


  • a more useful addition in your stage is the blues scale… draw out the regular A minor pentatnoic and draw a diagram of this bluezy variation of it. figure out what the differences are and be wary of them.
    in this stage of improvising, I recommend not landing on this notes for a lick but using them as “passing” notes … to play them once or more times in between your chord tones.

more notes to play with to get that bluezy feel.

don’t forget you can bend a note!
when you bend it to soudn like a note on the scale, there isn’t any problem
doing only slight or quarter bends just needs to work or not… the only judge there is your ear

a blues variation, note the addition of 2 notes( used 2 times each)