Saxophone Minor Pentatonic Scales

Saxophone Minor Pentatonic Scales

In this guide I want to discuss minor pentatonic scales for the saxophone.

If you were looking for just the minor scales, here is the saxophone minor scales guide. And if you were looking for just the major scales instead, here is the saxophone major scales guide.

As the name suggests, a pentatonic scale only has five notes. There are both major and minor pentatonic scales. If you were looking for major pentatonics, here is the saxophone major pentatonic scales guide.

As with all other guides in these series, we will focus in playing the scales on saxophone, specifically, how to finger the minor pentatonic scale on the saxophone.

Let's dive right in.

Saxophone Minor Pentatonic Scales

All Minor Pentatonic Scales on the Saxophone

Just like these are relative major and relative minor scales, a minor pentatonic scale, if we use the relative minor, uses exactly the same notes as the relative major pentatonic scale starting on the relative minor note.

It really simple, actually, once you get the hang of it.

Simply put, every major pentatonic scale has a relative minor pentatonic scale and they have the same exact set of notes except their root is different.

Major Pentatonic Scale Relative Minor Pentatonic Scale
D Major B Minor
D-sharp / E-flat Major C Minor
E Major C-sharp Minor
F Major D Minor
F-sharp Major D-sharp Minor
G Major E Minor
G-sharp / A-flat Major F Minor
A Major F-sharp Minor
A-sharp / B-flat Major G Minor
B Major G-sharp Minor
C Major A Minor
C-sharp Major A-sharp Minor

They are the same set of notes with the the same key signature.

Just as with the major and minor scales, you'll see that many songs bounce back between the major pentatonic key and its relative minor pentatonic key or vice versa.

How to Find the Minor Pentatonic from a Minor Scale

The notes in a minor pentatonic scale are i, iii, iv, v and vii of the minor scale.

How to Find the Relative Minor Pentatonic from a Major Pentatonic Scale

The minor and relative major pentatonic scales have exactly the same notes but the root note of the minor pentatonic scale is always the fifth note of the relative major pentatonic scale.

This works for all major pentatonic scales.

How to Find the Relative Major Pentatonic from a Minor Pentatonic Scale

The root note of the relative major pentatonic scale is always the second note of the minor scale.

Again, this works for all minor pentatonic scales.

Here is a list of all minor pentatonic scales and their fingerings charts on saxophone:

Let's get started.

The B Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of B minor pentatonic scale is D major pentatonic. This scale has one sharps—F-sharp because C-sharp is the II note on the minor scale.

The notes of B minor pentatonic are:

  1. Low B
  2. Low D
  3. E
  4. F-sharp
  5. A
  6. B

Here are the fingering charts of the B minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — Low B

The B minor pentatonic scale, Low B fingering chart

Note iii — Low D

The B minor pentatonic scale, Low D fingering chart

Note iv — Low E

The B minor pentatonic scale, E fingering chart

Note v — F-sharp

There are two fingerings for F-sharp, the main (most common) fingering and the F-sharp side key alternate fingering.

The B minor pentatonic scale, f-sharp fingering chart The B minor pentatonic scale, Alternate F-sharp fingering chart

Note vii — A

The B minor pentatonic scale, A fingering chart

Note i — B

The fingering for this note is similar with the Low B but with the octave key. It is an octave above Low B.

The B minor pentatonic scale, B fingering chart

The C Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of C minor is E-flat major. This scale has two flats: E-flat and B-flat because A-flat is the vii note.

The notes of C minor pentatonic scale are:

  1. C
  2. E-flat
  3. F
  4. G
  5. B-flat
  6. C

Here are the fingering charts of the B minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — Low C

The C minor pentatonic scale, Low C fingering chart

Note iii — E-flat

The C minor pentatonic scale, E-flat fingering chart

Note iv — F

The C minor pentatonic scale, F fingering chart

Note v — G

The C minor pentatonic scale, G fingering chart

Note vii — B-flat

B-flat has a lot of options. There are three main fingerings:

The C minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart The C minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart The C minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp or A-flat fingering chart

And then, there are two alternate fingerings:

The C minor pentatonic scale, B-flat fingering chart The C minor pentatonic scale, B-flat fingering chart

Note i — C

This note is one an octave higher than root C note.

The C minor pentatonic scale, C fingering chart

And there is one alternate fingering:

The C minor pentatonic scale, C fingering chart

The C-sharp Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of C-sharp minor is E major. This scale has three sharps: C-sharp, F-sharp and G-sharp.

Here are the notes of the C-sharp minor pentatonic scale:

  1. Low C-sharp
  2. E
  3. F-sharp
  4. G-sharp
  5. B
  6. C-sharp

Here are the fingering charts of the C-sharp minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — Low C-sharp

The Low C-sharp pentatonic scale, Low C-sharp fingering chart

Note iii — E

The E major pentatonic scale, E with octave fingering chart

Note iv — F-sharp

F-sharp has one main fingering:

The E major pentatonic scale, F-sharp fingering chart

And one alternate fingering:

The E major pentatonic scale, F-sharp fingering chart

Note v — G-sharp

G-sharp has one main fingering:

The E major pentatonic scale, G-sharp fingering chart

And three alternate fingerings:

The E major pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate fingering chart The E major pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate fingering chart The E major pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate fingering chart

So you have a lot of options with the table keys here.

Note vii — B

The E major pentatonic scale, B fingering chart

Note i — C-sharp

The E major pentatonic scale, C-sharp fingering chart

The D Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of D minor is F major. This scale has no flat because B-flat is the vii note.

Here are the notes of the D minor pentatonic scale:

  1. Low D
  2. F
  3. G
  4. A
  5. C
  6. D

Here are the fingering charts of the D Minor minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — Low D

The D minor pentatonic scale, Low D fingering chart

Note ii — F

The D minor  pentatonic scale, F fingering chart

Note iv — G

The D minor pentatonic scale, G fingering chart

Note v — A

The D minor pentatonic scale, A fingering chart

Note vii — C

The main fingering:

The D minor  pentatonic scale, C fingering chart

The alternate fingering:

The D minor pentatonic scale, C fingering chart

Note viii — D

The D minor pentatonic scale, D with octave key fingering chart

The D-sharp Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of D-sharp minor is F-sharp major. The F sharp major scale contains all 5 sharps because B is the vii note.

Here are the notes of the D-sharp minor pentatonic scale:

  1. D-sharp
  2. F-sharp
  3. G-sharp
  4. A-sharp
  5. C-sharp
  6. D-sharp

Here are the fingering charts of the D Minor minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — D-sharp / E-flat

The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, D-sharp, E-flat fingering chart

Note iii — F-sharp

The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, F-sharp fingering chart The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, F-sharp alternate fingering chart

Note iv — G-sharp

The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp fingering chart The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate 1 fingering chart The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate 2 fingering chart The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate 3 fingering chart

Note v — A-sharp

The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp fingering 1 chart The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp fingering 2 chart The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp fingering 3 chart The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp alternate 1 fingering chart The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp alternate 2 fingering chart

Note vii — C-sharp

The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, C-sharp fingering chart

Note i — D-sharp

The D-sharp minor pentatonic scale, D-sharp with octave key fingering chart

The E Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of E minor is G major. This scale has no sharps because F-sharp is the ii note.

Here are the notes of the D-sharp minor pentatonic scale:

  1. E
  2. G
  3. A
  4. B
  5. D
  6. E

Here are the fingering charts of the D Minor minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — E

The E Minor pentatonic scale, E fingering chart

Note iii — G

The E Minor pentatonic scale, G fingering chart

Note iv — A

The E Minor pentatonic scale, A fingering chart

Note v — B

The E Minor pentatonic scale, B fingering chart

Note vii — D

The E Minor pentatonic scale, D fingering chart

Note i — E

This note is an octave higher than the root E note.

The E Minor pentatonic scale, E with octave fingering chart

The F Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of F minor is A-flat major. This scale has three flats: A-flat, B-flat, E-flat.

Here are the notes of the F minor pentatonic scale:

  1. F
  2. A-flat
  3. B-flat
  4. C
  5. E-flat
  6. F

Here are the fingering charts of the D Minor minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — F

The F minor pentatonic scale, F fingering chart

Note iii — A-flat

The F minor pentatonic scale, A-flat fingering chart The F minor pentatonic scale, A-flat alternate 1 fingering chart The F minor pentatonic scale, A-flat alternate 1 fingering chart The F minor pentatonic scale, A-flat alternate 1 fingering chart

Note iv — B-flat

The F minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart The F minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart The F minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart The F minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart The F minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart

Note v — C

The F minor pentatonic scale, C fingering chart The F minor pentatonic scale, C alternate fingering chart

Note vii — E-flat

The F minor pentatonic scale, E-flat fingering chart

Note i — F

This note is an octave higher than the root F note.

The F minor pentatonic scale, F fingering chart

The F-sharp Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of F-sharp minor is A major. This scale has two sharps: C-sharp and F-sharp.

Here are the notes of the F-sharp minor pentatonic scale:

  1. F-sharp
  2. A
  3. B
  4. C-sharp
  5. E
  6. F-sharp

Here are the fingering charts of the D Minor minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — F-sharp

The F-sharp minor pentatonic scale, F-sharp fingering chart

And there is one alternate fingering:

The F-sharp minor pentatonic scale, F-sharp alternate fingering chart

Note iii — A

The F-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A fingering chart

Note iv — B

The F-sharp minor pentatonic scale, B fingering chart

Note v — C-sharp

The F-sharp minor pentatonic scale, C-sharp fingering chart

Note vii — E

The F-sharp minor pentatonic scale, E fingering chart

Note i — F-sharp

This note is an octave higher than the root F-sharp note.

The F-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart The F-sharp minor pentatonic scale, F-sharp fingering chart

The G Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of G minor is B-flat major. This scale has one flat because E-flat is the vi note.

Here are the notes of the G minor pentatonic scale:

  1. G
  2. B-flat
  3. C
  4. D
  5. F
  6. G

Here are the fingering charts of the G minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — G

The G minor pentatonic scale, G fingering chart

Note iii — B-flat

The G minor pentatonic scale, B-flat fingering 1 chart The G minor pentatonic scale, B-flat fingering 2 chart The G minor pentatonic scale, B-flat fingering 3 chart The G minor pentatonic scale, B-flat alternate 1 fingering chart The G minor pentatonic scale, B-flat alternate 1 fingering chart

Note iv — C

The G minor pentatonic scale, C fingering chart The  G minor pentatonic scale, C alternate fingering chart

Note v — D

The G minor pentatonic scale, D fingering chart

Note vii — F

The G minor pentatonic scale, F fingering chart

Note i — G

This note is an octave higher than the root G note.

The G minor pentatonic scale, G with octave key fingering chart

The G-sharp Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of G-sharp minor is B major. This scale has four sharps: G-sharp, C-sharp, D-sharp and F-sharp because A-sharp is the ii note.

Here are the notes of the G-sharp minor pentatonic scale:

  1. G-sharp
  2. B
  3. C-sharp
  4. D-sharp
  5. F-sharp
  6. G-sharp

Here are the fingering charts of the G-sharp minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — G-sharp

The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp fingering chart

And there are three alternate fingerings:

The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate 1 fingering chart The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate 2 fingering chart The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate 3 fingering chart

Note iii — B

The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart

Note iv — C-sharp

The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart

Note v — D-sharp

The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart

Note vii — F-sharp

The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart

Note i — G-sharp

This note is an octave higher than the root G-sharp note.

The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart The G-sharp minor pentatonic scale, fingering chart

The A Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of A minor is C major. This scale has no flat or sharp.

Here are the notes of the A minor pentatonic scale:

  1. A
  2. C
  3. D
  4. E
  5. G
  6. A

Here are the fingering charts of the A minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — A

The A minor pentatonic scale, A fingering chart

Note iii — C

The A minor pentatonic scale, C fingering chart The A minor pentatonic scale, C alternate fingering chart

Note iv — D

The A minor pentatonic scale, D fingering chart

Note v — E

The A minor pentatonic scale, E fingering chart

Note vii — G

The A minor pentatonic scale, G fingering chart

Note i — A

The A minor pentatonic scale, A with octave fingering chart

The A-sharp Minor Pentatonic Scale

The relative major of A-sharp minor is C-sharp major. All the notes in this scale are sharps.

Here are the notes of the A-sharp minor pentatonic scale:

  1. A-sharp
  2. C-sharp
  3. D-sharp
  4. E-sharp
  5. G-sharp
  6. A-sharp

Here are the fingering charts of the A-sharp minor pentatonic scale:

Note i — A-sharp / B-flat

The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp fingering chart 1 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp fingering chart 2 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp fingering chart 3 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp alternate fingering chart 1 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp alternate fingering chart 2

Note iii — C-sharp

The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, C-sharp fingering chart

Note iv — D-sharp

The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, D-sharp fingering chart

Note v — E-sharp

The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, E-sharp fingering chart

Note vii — G-sharp

The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp fingering chart The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate fingering chart 1 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate fingering chart 2 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, G-sharp alternate fingering chart 3

Note i — A-sharp

The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp fingering chart 1 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp fingering chart 2 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp fingering chart 3 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp alternate fingering chart 1 The A-sharp minor pentatonic scale, A-sharp alternate fingering chart 2
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DuckingBeast

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I've played the alto and then the tenor saxophone for close to a decade now. I gig with several bands around the world for most months in a year. I created SqueakingSax to share with you some interesting tips and techniques I've picked up along the way.

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