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Learn Bass Guitar – Minor Pentatonic Scale

Learn Bass Guitar – Minor Pentatonic Scale – > Like any pentatonic scale, the minor pentatonic is constructed using a 5 (penta) note pattern. These notes for the minor pentatonic are the roots, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th. Below is a C minor scale with the pentatonic pattern highlighted:

Minor scale pentatonic highlighted

Here is the C Minor Pentatonic Pattern by itself:

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C minor pentatonic pattern bass

Minor Pentatonic Fingering

The minor pentatonic can be played using a 4 fret span pattern. This pattern can be applied using any root notes on the E or A string. To play this pattern, use the following fingering:

  • Low Root – 1 finger (index)
  • 2nd note – 4 finger (pinkie)
  • 3rd note – 1 finger (index)
  • 4th note – 3 finger (ring)
  • 5th note – 1 finger (index)
  • High Root – 3 finger (ring)

Using the Minor Pentatonic Pattern

The minor pentatonic is by far one of the most common patterns played on bass. It’s a pattern with fingering that’s easy to play and it fits in many different types of music genres and styles. You will hear the pattern a lot in blues, jazz, rock, and funk.

Like other minor patterns and scales we’ve discussed, the pattern is best used with songs that play minor chords and/or are in a minor key. The minor pentatonic is a complimentary pattern and sounds particularly good when played with minor 7th chords. In fact you can think of the pentatonic as being the same as a minor 7th pattern with one extra note – the 4th. You will also hear it used a lot with dominant 7th major chords to produce a bluesy sound. The pentatonic is also a favorite among bassists to use when playing fills and rifts that need to stand out.

Songs the Use the Minor Pentatonic

Bass & Drums Jam Track Using “A Minor” Pentatonic – Here’s a track of me playing the “A Minor Pentatonic” with a drums track. I am only playing the 5 notes of A, C, D, E & G in different positions all over the fretboard. BTW – a great way to learn pentatonics (or any scale or pattern) is to play them with a drum track. It helps you develop rhythm and timing while also learning the scale – and it’s more fun to play when you can jam along with drums!

Bass & Drums Jam Track - A Minor Pentatonic - 120 BPM Straight Rock Beat

“Low Rider” by War – One of the most recognizable bass lines, it is constructed using a G minor pentatonic:

“Sing A Simple Song” by Sly & The Family Stone – The bassline is constructed using mainly an E minor pentatonic:

Sing A Simple Song / Sly & The Family Stone

“Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin – Though this song is known for it’s incredible drum solo, it’s a great example of multiple minor pentatonics being played on the bass throughout the song:

Moby Dick (Remaster)

Click Here for our Bass Guitar Minor Pentatonics – Fretboard Diagrams

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Learn Bass Guitar – Minor Pentatonic Scale