Hopscotch Method. Part 1

author: NovemberRain273 date: 06/06/2006 category: guitar techniques
rating: 9.7 / votes: 77 
Table of Contents 01. Intro 02. Minor Pentatonic box shapes 03. Method Alternative 04. Conclusion

Intro

NOTE: This article is based on the video lesson created by Joe Cefalu, who gives a demonstration of his workout called 'Hopscotch,' exclusively for Shred Academy [website]. I recently watched this video which talks about the "Hopskotch Method," a way of getting out of the boxes of the minor pentatonic. It really works and is a great thing for soloing beginners, so I decided to type them out. The minor pentatonic scale is used in a wide variety of genres of music. Rock, heavy metal, blues, etc. The most common problem however for beginning soloists is that when they learn a certain box shape of the minor pentatonic, they get stuck within that box and their solos start to sound the same, and it eventually gets boring. Here's a way you can learn more about the 5 shapes of the minor pentatonic, how they fit together on the fretboard, and how you can break down the barriers between those boxes and turn them into a giant box that covers most of the fretboard.

Minor Pentatonic Box Shapes

There are 5 minor pentatonic box shapes. The most common one being:
Fig. 1
|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|-|o|
Now the remaining boxes follow it like this:
Fig. 2
|-|o|-|o|
|-|o|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|
|-|o|-|o|

Fig. 3
|-|o|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|o|-|

Fig. 4
|o|-|-|o|
|-|o|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|

Fig. 5
|-|o|-|o|
|-|o|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|
|-|o|-|o|
|-|o|-|o|
If we were to play them following each other they would look like this, all along the fretboard:
  F.1  F.2  F.3  F.4  F.5  F.1
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
You can see that, at the end, it starts back at figure 1, and that theyre all connected. Now, while improvising, to be able to solo between these boxes seamlessly, you don't want to just play some licks off fig. 1, then switch to fig. 2, etc. You have to try and take two boxes, and merge them into one giant box. To do this, we will take the 6 strings of your guitar in pairs. E & A, A & D, D & G, G & B, B & E. 5 pairs. Now what we'll do is take the first pair, E & A, and play the part of fig. 1 on those strings, and then play the part of figure 2 on those strings. So in the key of G minor, it would look like this:
e|-------------------------|
B|-------------------------|
G|-------------------------|
D|-------------------------|
A|--------3--5--------5--8-|
E|--3--6--------6--8-------|
Then we'll move on to the next pair of strings, A & D:
e|-------------------------|
B|-------------------------|
G|-------------------------|
D|--------3--5--------5--8-|
A|--3--5--------5--8-------|
E|-------------------------|
And we'll keep dong that up the 6 strings, so eventually we'll get this from the first 2 figures:
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------3-6-----6-8|
B|----------------------------------------------------3-6-----6-8-3-6-----6-8----|
G|------------------------------------3-5-----5-7-3-5-----5-7--------------------|
D|--------------------3-5-----5-8-3-5-----5-8------------------------------------|
A|----3-5-----5-8-3-5-----5-8----------------------------------------------------|
E|3-6-----6-8--------------------------------------------------------------------|
And if you look at the box shape now, it looks like this:
|o|-|-|o|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|
See what we did there was merge fig. 1 and 2, and made a big box. Once you are able to see the notes on the fretboard liek this, you're soloing will open up more than ever. If we do exactly what we did with fig. 1 and 2 to the rest of the figures, we'll come up with these:
Fig. 2&3
E|---------------------------------------------->
B|---------------------------------------------->
G|----------------------------------------5-7--->
D|----------------------5-8------8-10-5-8-----8->
A|----5-8------8-10-5-8-----8-10---------------->
E|6-8-----8-10---------------------------------->

E|>-------------------------------6-8-------8-10|
B|>-------------6-8------8-11-6-8-----8-11------|
G|>----7-10-5-7-----7-10------------------------|
D|>-10------------------------------------------|
A|>---------------------------------------------|
E|>---------------------------------------------|

|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|

Fig. 3&4
E|--------------------------------------------------------->
B|--------------------------------------------------------->
G|-------------------------------------------------7-10---->
D|---------------------------8-10-------10-12-8-10------10->
A|-----8-10-------10-13-8-10------10-13-------------------->
E|8-10------10-13------------------------------------------>

E|>---------------------------------------8-10--------10-13|
B|>---------------8-11--------11-13-8-11-------11-13-------|
G|>----10-12-7-10------10-12-------------------------------|
D|>-12-----------------------------------------------------|
A|>--------------------------------------------------------|
E|>--------------------------------------------------------|

|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|

Fig. 4&5
E|------------------------------------------------------------>
B|------------------------------------------------------------>
G|------------------------------------------------------10-12->
D|------------------------------10-12-------12-15-10-12------->
A|------10-13-------13-15-10-13-------13-15------------------->
E|10-13-------13-15------------------------------------------->

E|>------------------------------------------10-13-------13-15|
B|>------------------11-13-------13-15-11-13-------13-15------|
G|>------12-15-10-12-------12-15------------------------------|
D|>12-15------------------------------------------------------|
A|>-----------------------------------------------------------|
E|>-----------------------------------------------------------|

|o|-|-|o|-|o|
|-|o|-|o|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|

Fig. 5&1
E|------------------------------------------------------------>
B|------------------------------------------------------------>
G|------------------------------------------------------12-15->
D|------------------------------12-15-------15-17-12-15------->
A|------13-15-------15-17-13-15-------15-17------------------->
E|13-15-------15-18------------------------------------------->

E|>------------------------------------------13-15-------15-18|
B|>------------------13-15-------15-18-13-15-------15-18------|
G|>------15-17-12-15-------15-17------------------------------|
D|>15-17------------------------------------------------------|
A|>-----------------------------------------------------------|
E|>-----------------------------------------------------------|

|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|
|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|

Method Alternative

Another way to overcome the barriers between the boxes is to take 1 pair of strings, and go through all the box shapes on those two strings. So lets say, E & A. You would basically play this:
E|----------------------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------------|
A|------3-5-----5-8------8-10-------10-13-------13-15-------15-18-|
E|--3-6-----6-8-----8-10------10-13-------13-15-------15-18-------|

|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
And that would also increase your ability to improv and you will see the whole neck in a completely different way. For the rest of the pairs of strings, it would look like this:
A & D
E|----------------------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------------------------------|
G|----------------------------------------------------------------|
D|------3-5-----5-8------8-10-------10-12-------12-15-------15-17-|
A|--3-5-----5-8-----8-10------10-13-------13-15-------15-17-------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------|

|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|

D & G
E|----------------------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------------------------------------------------------|
G|------3-5-----5-7------7-10-------10-12-------12-15-------15-17-|
D|--3-5-----5-8-----8-10------10-12-------12-15-------15-17-------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------|

|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|
|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|

G & B
E|----------------------------------------------------------------|
B|------3-6-----6-8------8-11-------11-13-------13-15-------15-18-|
G|--3-5-----5-7-----7-10------10-12-------12-15-------15-17-------|
D|----------------------------------------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------------------|

|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|

B & E
E|------3-6-----6-8------8-10-------10-13-------13-15-------15-18-||
B|--3-6-----6-8-----8-11------11-13-------13-15-------15-18-------||
G|----------------------------------------------------------------||
D|----------------------------------------------------------------||
A|----------------------------------------------------------------||
E|----------------------------------------------------------------||

|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|
|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|-|o|-|o|-|-|o|

Conclusion

Well, that's it for the lesson. The minor pentatonic scale is a major milestone in the transition from rhythmist to soloist, and I hoped this small contribution helped you out along the way.
More NovemberRain273 lessons:
+ Hopscotch Method. Part 2 Guitar Techniques 06/13/2006
Comments
Your captcha is incorrect