Guitar Age Or A Guitarists Illustrated Primer VII

author: Wankysweater date: 08/09/2011 category: for beginners
rating: 10 / votes: 6 
Daddy's home. Welcome back faithful followers (hold the applause until the end). I know the shepherd has been away from his flock for a while, and for that I apologize. I've been busy smoking darts and breaking hearts, but don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you. Ok, so you probably haven't been practicing what I have showed you so far, so shame on you. Tisk tisk. I'm not mad, just disappointed (insert your name here). But seriously, practice everything I have taught you, and your road to virtuosity will be swift and rewarding. To date it has been a long and arduous journey through basic finger and rhythm exercises. But today we embark upon rudimentary soloing. For many of you this is a big day, and for this day I have prepared a big lesson on the Minor Pentatonic Scale. You may be asking yourself Why the F is everyone always going on about the damn Pentatonic Scale?'. Firstly, mind your tone with me son. Secondly, the Pentatonic Scale is only comprised of five notes (hence the Penta' prefix) so it works well over almost every chord progression. When your fancy scales just don't seem to be cutting it, you can usually rely on the ol Pentatonic to get you through. In my opinion, if you are going to learn any scale, this is the one to know. OK, enough rambling for now. Tune up, warm up, and let's rock out. I will begin with the single most common position (there are 5) of the Minor Pentatonic Scale. These examples will be in the key of A Minor:
e|---------------------5--|    I = Index Finger
b|-----------------5-8----|    M = Middle Finger   
g|-------------5-7--------|    R = Ring Finger
d|---------5-7------------|    P = Pinky 
a|-----5-7----------------| 
E|-5-8--------------------|
   I P I R I R I R I P I
                    (R)
I have included an R in brackets because you can use your ring finger instead of your Pinky if you are more comfortable with that. Depending on the style, I interchange them, so I recommend learning both. The above is a good way to get used to the scale because it begins and ends on a Root Note (aka the key a scale is in). Try the below to get a full range of the scale:
e|---------------------5-8-8-5----------------------|   
b|-----------------5-8---------8-5------------------|
g|-------------5-7-----------------7-5--------------| 
d|---------5-7-------------------------7-5----------| 
a|-----5-7---------------------------------7-5------|
E|-5-8-----------------------------------------8-5--|
*Remember to play every scale with Alternate Picking Ok, so you have probably just stumbled through the above, and it was kinda anti-climatic wasn't it? It doesn't sound like a solo right? Well children, an important thing to know about scales is that they are not musical if you just run through them up and down. A scale is like the Alphabet. You can't expect to recite the alphabet and have it sound like a conversation can you? It is what you do with this scale that makes a solo. Other techniques such as string bends, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides will really bring these scales to life. I probably just blew your mind with these new words, but hang on; I will show you these techniques later. Lets try a couple of exercises to get your hands moving. Remember to play these examples both forward and backwards to get everything you can put of my lessons. It's all about strengthening your fingers and listening to the sound and feeling of the scale.
Exercise #1
 
e|-------------------------------------5-8----------|   
b|-----------------------------5-8-5-8--------------|
g|---------------------5-7-5-7----------------------| 
d|-------------5-7-5-7------------------------------| 
a|-----5-7-5-7--------------------------------------|
E|-5-8----------------------------------------------|
 
Exercise #2
 
e|--------------------------------------------------|   
b|--------------------------------------------------|
g|-------------------------------------5-7-----5-7--| 
d|---------------------5-7-----5-7-5-7-----5-7------| 
a|-----5-7-----5-7-5-7-----5-7----------------------|
E|-5-8-----5-8--------------------------------------|
 
e|---------------------5-8-----5-8------------------|   
b|-----5-8-----5-8-5-8-----5-8----------------------|
g|-5-7-----5-7--------------------------------------| 
d|--------------------------------------------------| 
a|--------------------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------------------|
 
Exercise #3
 
e|-----------------------------5-8------------------|   
b|---------------------5-8--------------------------|
g|-------------5-7---------5-7----------------------| 
d|-----5-7---------5-7------------------------------| 
a|---------5-7--------------------------------------|
E|-5-8----------------------------------------------|
 
Exercise #4
 
e|-------------------------------------------------|   
b|-----------------------------------------5---5-8-|
g|-----------------------------5---5-7-5-7---7-----| 
d|-----------------5---5-7-5-7---7-----------------| 
a|-----5---5-7-5-7---7-----------------------------|
E|-5-8---8-----------------------------------------|
 
e|-----5-------------------------------------------|   
b|-5-8---------------------------------------------|
g|-------------------------------------------------| 
d|-------------------------------------------------| 
a|-------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------|
 
Exercise #5
 
e|-----------------------------------5---8---------|   
b|---------------------------5---8-5---8-----------|
g|-------------------5---7-5---7-------------------| 
d|-----------5---7-5---7---------------------------| 
a|---5---7-5---7-----------------------------------|
E|-5---8-------------------------------------------|
   I I P R I I R R I I R R I I R P I I P P
* OK, for the last one you have to use the finger suggestions in order to play it correctly. Additionally for this exercise, make sure that you barre your finger when you play the notes on the 5th 7th and 8th frets whenever you can. Now practice these exercises until you can play them fluidly up and down the neck of the guitar and/or until your fingers bleed. Before I depart, I want you to understand that by reading this lesson, you probably still wont be able to solo. This is very basic stuff I am covering here, but it will take time and a few more lessons before you are able to lay down a face melting solo. Hey I'm honest. It took me a couple months of practicing the Minor Pentatonic before I played my first solo. But when I actually played that first solo, the doors blew off the fricken hinges, and I think I peed a little. I want you to pee too. For more real life examples of the Minor Pentatonic, check out these bands: The Rolling Stones Stevie Ray Vaughan (ANY blues band really) The Black Keys AC/DC Led Zeppelin Paul Gilbert Zakk Wylde Pearl Jam Final Disclaimer: Everything I have, and will show you, can also be found elsewhere on the Internet. Shocking, I know. I have seen some messages on other people's lessons offering constructive criticism', and saying that lessons such as this are merely regurgitated knowledge. Well obviously douchebags! So don't Troll, just understand that I am trying to make a streamlined lesson plan for beginners that is comprehensive and can be found in one place. Now go forth and learn!
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