OK....very limited music background. Have been noodling on dulcimer for years and love me the diatonic.

Just learning about pentatonic. Thought "That's cool. Can I make a pentatonic fretboard? No joy. I think I might be beginning to understand. Forgive me if this sounds super weird, but it's the way my brain works....

Diatonic de-constructs the chromatic with the removal of frets.

Now what I think pentatonic does is more like a sliding scale. To illustrate, while diatonic is a physical construction, is pentatonic more like an overlay onto chromatic? Like in secret codes, you can lay a sheet of paper with special holes on it over a specific page in a book and read a secret message through the holes.

So I guess what I'm asking is while diatonic is physical, pentatonic is more like a relationship between the chromatic fretboard and your actual fret starting point on the fretboard.

Is that clear as mud?

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I'm starting to get suspicious of you, I'm thinking a book about CBGs is in the works and you're  picking everyone's brain for research! Seriously I don't have a clue what you're talking about. But just be forewarned that you opened Pandora's box, you are in for lessons in theory. LOL been there, done that. Learned a lot from everyone. My advice, because I didn't. Is to copy and paste in a folder all the information that's about to rain on you for future reference.


LOL....I don't have a clue what I'm talking about either.

James you are over thinking it..lol

pentatonic is literally a 5 note scale, most often used with blues in a CBG context.

incoming theory.. you have been warned.lol

a dulcimer scale is just all the correct notes in a scale ie. to keep things simple lets assume the scale ( key) of C major.. so the notes are C D E F G A B C . between C and the C an octave higher there are 12 frets. on your dulcimer the fret between C and D has been left out. the same for D to E, F to G etc.

what a pentatonic does is just leave out a few more...so yes you can absolutely fret a canjo etc in a pentatonic scale. the only really different thing is that a pentatonic scale flats the 3rd and 7th notes  so C pentatonic would be C Eflat F G Bflat C.

so you could just put those frets on a neck tune to G or what ever note you want to use as the root note and never play a bum note...lol

its too late and my brain is starting to hurt but im not sure if this would work with multiple strings.... what it would work for is 1 string 1 scale.. so a 3 string could have 1 string for A one for G one for E..

there are far better theorists than me on this site so be warned ,its a can of quavers you have opened...lol

"James you are over thinking it..lol"

Hey...it's what I do...

There's that vid of a guy playing a penta fretted CBG.

I always thought 'pentatonic' was a radio brand and chromatic was made by Kodak! So don't feel bad. Everyday is a new opportunity to learn something here. Watch every video you can by Shane Speal, Glenn Watts, Del Puckett or Justin James or Johnson (I'll double check)tons of information, this on top of the people here that have music theory under their belts and are willing to share it! It maybe a little overwhelming at first, but believe me. They aren't out to make you feel stupid, far from it. If you don't understand something, they'll break it down for you.


Is it safe to assume you are not talking about the band?

  • Keep ISimple Stupid... The best advice for solving problems. Don't over think something.

That Shane Speal video is vital, cuz he shows just how easy it is to remember & play the Blues scale? Even if he is soloing on just one string. Those are the basic fundamentals of the Blues in it’s most simple form? 

I hope I can learn to play a little. I'm getting arthritis in my hands, left is worst, and I'm starting to lose some function as well as gain pain.

Some of the songs like "Bad Moon Rising" by CCR can be played with one finger(video by Glenn Watts) or do as a lap steel.

Btw 'Biofreeze' and CBD cream works wonders on my hands.


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