Melodic Patterns for the Minor Pentatonic Scale

Melodic Patterns

Playing melodic patterns in a scale allows you to create "phrases" with the notes and improvise easier with riffs or solos. These patterns run through the minor pentatonic scale in a set order. After the first group of notes in the pattern is played, the next group starts on the 2nd note of the previous group as shown below.

🎼 Phrasing in music refers to using notes of a scale in an order other than simply moving up or down the scale note by note. This allows melodies and riffs to have a unique or distinctive expression, similar to talking or singing.

This first melodic pattern moves by 3 notes at a time in order of the minor pentatonic scale. This pattern gives you an idea of how to come up with different patterns on your own.

Root Note on A

e|------------------------------|
B|------------------------------|
G|------------------------------|
D|--------------------5----5-7--|
A|----3-5--3-5-7--5-7----7------|
E|--5---------------------------|
Note Pattern:
    1-2-3  2-3-4  3-4-5  4-5-6   
e|------------------------------|
B|------------------------------|
G|------------------------------|
D|--7-5----5--------------------|
A|------7----7-5--7-5-3--5-3----|
E|---------------------------5--|
Note Pattern:
    6-5-4  5-4-3  4-3-2  3-2-1   

Now try using a fourth note in a pattern:

Root Note on G

e|-----------------------------|
B|-----------------------------|
G|-----------------------------|
D|-----------------3------3-5--|
A|----1-3-5--1-3-5----3-5------|
E|--3--------------------------|
Note Pattern:
    1-2-3-4  2-3-4-5  3-4-5-6   
e|-----------------------------|
B|-----------------------------|
G|-----------------------------|
D|--5-3------3-----------------|
A|------5-3----5-3-1--5-3-1----|
E|--------------------------3--|
Note Pattern:
    6-5-4-3  5-4-3-2  4-3-2-1   

Practice each pattern until you can play them at a fast pace. The muscle memory that will develop will help improvising in a solo or when coming up with riffs. The patterns are just a method to develop different note combinations and phrases.

This next pattern uses 4 notes, but repeats a note at the end of the pattern.

Root Note on F
e|------------------------------------|
B|------------------------------------|
G|------------------------------------|
D|-----------------------1------1-3-1-|
A|-----1------1-3-1--1-3---3--3-------|
E|-1-4---4--4-------------------------|
Note Pattern:
   1-2-3-2  2-3-4-3  3-4-5-4  4-5-6-5  

This pattern skips notes, and in some parts it skips a string. Try holding down 2 or more notes at once to make it easier moving through this pattern.

Root Note on A
e|--------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------5------|
D|-------------5--------7---5------5-7--|
A|----7---5------5-7--5---7----7--------|
E|--5---8----8--------------------------|
Note Pattern
    1-4-2-3  2-5-3-4  3-6-4-5  4-7-5-6