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How To Easily Play Guitar Solos All Over The Fretboard

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Are you struggling to memorize scales on the guitar fretboard? This lesson will help you to easily play riffs anywhere on the fretboard.

By the end of this lesson should be able to play guitar solos all over the fretboard in pentatonic, natural and blues major and minor scales.

The pentatonic scale is a beginner-friendly scale as it has only 5 notes (penta means 5) and is thus easy to memorize on the fretboard. Also, as long as you play the right key, it can be played over any chord progression. Based on the location of the root note, several pentatonic scale boxes can be found on the fretboard. But the one given below has the simplest pattern and is the easiest to learn.

A minor pentatonic scale. Root note (red colour) on 6th string is on 5th fret.

This is a minor pentatonic scale. If the root note (red colour) on the 6th string is located on the fifth fret, then it will play the A minor pentatonic. As the A minor scale and its relative major scale, C major, share the same notes, the above scale box can also play the C major pentatonic by simply changing the root note to C. Look at the figure given below.

C major pentatonic scale. Root note on 6th string is on 8th fret.

You can transpose the scales by moving the scale box left or right on the fretboard.

As stated earlier, the pentatonic scale comprises of only 5 notes. The notes of the A minor pentatonic are: A, C, D, E, G

Likewise, the C major pentaonic scale has the following notes: C, D, E, G, A

You will notice that the 2 notes missing in the above scales are F and B. So if you add these 2 notes to the pentatonic scale box you will get the natural A minor and natural C major scales. Look at the figures given below (The blue colour notes are the notes added to the pentatonic scale).

A natural minor scale. Root note on 6th string is on 5th fret.
C natural major scale. Root note on 6th string is on 8th fret.

So, if you memorize the pentatonic scale box all over the fretboard, you can easily play the natural minor and major scales by simply incorporating the 2 missing notes of the scale in question.

You can convert A minor and C major pentatonic scales shown above to A minor and C major blues scale by adding just one note.

If you add the Eb note (notes in blue colour in the figures below) to the A minor pentatonic and C major pentatonic scales, you get the A minor and C major blues scales respectively.

Notes in A minor blues scale: A, C, D, Eb, E, G

Notes in C major blues scale: C, D, Eb, E, G, A

A minor blues scale. Root note on 6th string is on 5th fret.
C major blues scale. Root note on 6th string is on 8th fret.

So you see, it is so easy to convert the minor and major pentatonic scale boxes to natural and blues scale boxes. Move the scale boxes around (taking note of the root notes) and you can play riffs and solos all over the fretboard like a pro. Isn’t that great?

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Confused about a chord? Try the chord families page, or the guitar chords dictionary.
How to transpose the chords? Major scales can be transposed by simply selecting the desired note given above the song. To transpose a minor scale select the note of the relative major scale.

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