Pentatonic scales

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Apr 12, 2001.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    Every now and again I pick up a book and try to learn some new music. I am somewhat illiterate whan it comes to reading and theory. Just bought Bass Secrets (from Guitar magazine) and learned what a Pentatonic scale is.

    Can anyone tell me what the use of these are. I see it as just knocking 2 notes out of the major and minor scales - but don't see why. What's the purpose behind that? I have the feeling I might be missing something here.

    PS. If I keep going through this book I'm going to be asking a lot of seemingly dumb questions, but this is the best place I know to take it.
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hm, perhaps purpose is the wrong word. Pentatonic scales are very old and can be found anywhere from Irish to Asian folk music.

    Since some pentatonic scales don't contain 3rds or 7ths you can use them quite universally over a lot of chord (changes).
  3. gonzo85


    Mar 25, 2001
    The 4ths and 7ths of a scale tend to resolve, so pentatonics are good for jamming.
  4. Jake15


    Jan 17, 2001
    USA, PA
    You can jam with them if you know the arppegios.
  5. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I find pentatonics (specifically minor pentatonics) are VERY useful, particularly for jamming in a rock setting!

    If you listen to bassists such as John Entwistle, you'll hear a lot of his freeform playing revolves around variations of the minor pentatonic.