Improvising for beginners with the E minor pentatonic

To be creative on the guitar, you neither have to possess natural talent, nor do you have to be an advanced guitar player. The E minor pentatonic is a scale which is very easy to play on the guitar and which enables you to become creative, even when you are just starting out playing guitar and have only very limited skills so far.
In the tabulature below, you can see how to play the pentatonic scale on the guitar. Try to play the scale up and down the guitar neck a couple of times to get familiar with it and to memorize it. As you can see you only have to play open strings and the second and third fret, so this isn’t hard to do for you, even if you haven’t played guitar for a long time by now.

If you haven’t heard the term improvising by now, or aren’t a hundred percent sure what it means, improvising is when you choose freely which notes to play in which order. So you can make your own choices what you want to play, other than playing a piece from a sheet of music.
The challenge with improvising is that not all notes sound well together; that is where the pentatonic scale will help you with. Because no matter which notes you play in which order in the pentatonic scale, they will always sound reasonably well with each other, it will never sound like you are playing the wrong notes.
The following chart shows your fretboard and which notes you are supposed to play when improvising in the E minor pentatonic scale. If you are a visual learner this will help you to memorize it even faster
You can try now to play these notes in any order you please. There is no rule on right or wrong here, just let your ear choose which combinations of notes sound best to you.
Now that you have learned the basics of improvising, we are going to make it sound really cool. The notes itself sound reasonably well with each other when played in a row, but what makes it really cool, is when you have chords to accompany your playing.
How do you do that? At best you have a friend who can play some chords for you while you are improvising in the E minor pentatonic. If you are alone, what you can do is to record yourself playing a chord progression and than improvise over the recording.
You don’t need to have an recording studio for that, just pick your mobile phone, or another simple recording device and you will be good to go. You just play a chord progression – which I will show you in a minute – over and over for a couple of minutes while you record, so that it is long enough for having time to improvise over the track later on.
Here are some chord progressions that will sound very good with the E minor pentatonic:
Em G C G
Em G C D
Em G Bm D
Bm D Am C
If you want to create your own progressions, you can use any of these chords for it:
Em, G, C, D, Am and Bm.
Now go ahead and have fun with the E minor pentatonic! I hope you enjoyed reading the article, my name is Marco von Baumbach and I am a guitar instructor from Germany. You can check out my online presence about Gitarrenunterricht in Wuppertal which is my website for my local teaching business in Wuppertal.