Scales: Looking for patterns and the A Minor Pentatonic Box Scale

If you took all the notes from all the 5 positions shown in the A Minor Pentatonic lesson and placed them into one block, this is what you would end up with.

This is a great exercise to do with any of the scales we (or anybody else)  show you in multiple positions. By doing this, you can now see all of the notes of that scale across the neck. Often, when learning a new scale, I will do this. I sit with my guitar in front of this scale block and play the individual positions and look for ways to smoothly move from one position to the next.

As well, I look for patterns. Patterns that move .. left to right .. right to left .. up the neck .. down the neck .. up the fretboard .. down the fret board. You can find MANY interesting patterns that you can work into your playing by doing this.

The other huge benefit is that if you look at this long enough, you visually learn where all the notes are for that scale (or you can go crazy .. just kidding).

This next pattern is often referred to as the Pentatonic Box scale. Notice the nice symmetry. It is basically one pattern on the E and A strings repeated again on the D and G strings and again on the B and E strings. Countless rock hooks and licks have come from this one pattern alone.

Click on the diagram for an MP3 audio example.

Click here if you’re not sure how to read the scale blocks.

This Box Scale moves you nicely through the first 3 positions of the A minor pentatonic scales learned in the lesson: Scales: A Minor Pentatonic ( 5 positions )


Spend time with the first diagram shown in this lesson and see if you can work out some of your own patterns. Do the same thing with other scales by using one of our blank scale templates and filling in the notes for other scales.

Its a great way to work up new chops.

Have fun.

© Synaptic Systems Inc., 2001


  1. jacob wade says

    thats good advice

  2. Nicely done!

  3. You are setting people on the right track, that was the very first scale I ever learned. Good lesson!
    Great site, I think it is very cool of you to offer all this free to the aspiring guitar player..
    My only advice; I kind of do wish you showed the best fingering to use in the scale patterns though.. I miss it especially in the pentatonic scale boxes, box three can be tricky for a beginner that doesn’t know the kinda strange way to properly finger it.

  4. Ahhh I see it now… in the box lessons..You even show the proper fingering for the scales too! Wow, you have put a lot of work into this for us.. great job!

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