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Beginner > Module 1.5

This is my favorite scale! Great for beginners as well as advanced players. Pentatonic scales come up all the time in fiddle tunes. They are also great preparation for learning improvisation.

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The G, D and A major scales you’ve learned so far are seven note scales. We practice them by repeating the starting note an octave higher. Here’s D major:

D   E  F# G  A   B  C#  D

D0 1  2   3  A0  1   2    3

The pentatonic is a five note scale. Here is D pentatonic:

D   E  F#  A  B

D0  1  2  A0  1

It sounds nice, right? Add the start note on top:

D   E  F#  A  B  D

D0  1  2  A0  1  3

Then practice it up and down:


D drone

Pause and practice this on your own.

Examples of D pentatonic: Oh Susannah (A part), Little Liza Jane, Shortnin’ Bread, Camptown Races.

Alternate between D major / D pentatonic

G and A Major Pentatonic scales

Now here are some more pentatonic scales:

G pentatonic


G drone

Examples: Kerry Polka, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Lazy John

Alternate between G major / G pentatonic

A pentatonic


A Drone

Examples: Britches Full of Stitches, Cripple Creek.

Alternate between A major / A pentatonic

Enjoy the sound of these scales. Practice them with the drone tracks, adding rhythms. Alternate between the pentatonic scale and a tune that uses it. Most importantly, have fun. That’s why we’re doing this right?

Continue on to O’Keefe’s Slide >>

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