E Minor Pentatonic – Latin Blues Tutorial

Today I want to talk about improvising in a Latin Blues style. I’m going to be using the E minor pentatonic in various positions along the fretboard and showing you my approach to using the scale in my solos. We’ll also explore some extra notes and ideas you can use to help improve your solos and help them sound more melodic.

Playing shapes

The best way to approach this scale is to use shapes consisting of 4 or 5 notes. We create these shapes from joining together all of the possible notes in the E minor pentatonic scale along the fretboard. These notes are E, G , A,B and D. If we have a look at where these notes appear on the fretboard here’s what we’ll find:


Note I have added the Bb in blue. It’s an important note to add when you want to create more blues and feel.

The Shapes

Let’s connect some fo these notes to create shapes:


Use these shapes to cultivate your solo and as the blue notes when you can. Repetition is also advised to create loops and sequences.


Use pull-offs and hammer-ons and to help create a smooth phrasing. It also relieves you of having to pluck every note.

Connect the Boxes

You can move from shape to shape either directly or with a slide.


Practice Backing Track

Here is a backing track for you to practice along with. There are countless possibilities and ideas you can explore. I also recommend listening to guitarists like BB King, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton for phrasing feel and melodic ideas. Have fun!