Often asked by beginner guitar players is the question, "can you move guitar shapes?" The answer is yes!
In fact, this is one reason I encourage everyone to learn scale shapes. They retain their structure when you move them from place to place on the guitar. This allows you to play in various keys with only one shape.
Let's use the minor pentatonic as an example.
First up is the A minor pentatonic scale:
If you don't know how to read that, it's basically a picture of a guitar neck. The black dots tell you what frets are in the scale shape. The bottom string is your low E, and the top string in the picture is the high E string.
Starting on the low E string you play frets 5 then 8, up to the next string and play 5 then 7, then next string up play frets 5 and 7, etc.
Using the A minor pentatonic allows you to play in the key of A minor.
Now, let's say you want to play in the key of G minor. Just move the scale shape down to G (3rd fret on the low E string) and play the same shape.
The same thing happens if you want to play in the key of F minor. Just move the shape down to F (1st fret on the low E string) and play the same scale shape.
What about the key of D minor? You guessed it! Just start the scale shape starting on D (10th fret on the low E string) and that's it.
That's all there is to moving scale shapes. This can happen with any scale shape too.
John Taylor - guitar and bass instructor for Mile High Shred.