Advanced Pentatonic Movement

author: Brad204 date: 09/29/2010 category: soloing
rating: 7.7 / votes: 21 
This lesson is fairly advanced, so don't feel discouraged if you can't play these scales/licks. This is mostly to give you a bit more things to do with a pentatonic scale. Lets take a look at your average Em pentatonic scale:
e|-------------------------------12-15--|
b|-------------------------12-15--------|
g|-------------------12-14--------------|
d|-------------12-14--------------------|
a|-------12-14--------------------------|
e|-12-15--------------------------------|
Pretty cool I guess, but there's only one problem: two notes per string. Now you might be thinking: "Well what else can we do? There seems no other logical way to go up the scale!" Well that just means we need to use some illogical ways. Let's look at a pentatonic box position:
e|-|O|-|-|O|-|-|-|-|-|
b|-|O|-|-|O|-|-|-|-|-|
g|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|-|-|-|
d|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|-|-|-|
a|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|-|-|-|
e|-|O|-|-|O|-|-|-|-|-|
Looks kinda boring, but we deal with it. Now lets look at the same scale, but starting from the second note of the lowest string.
e|-|-|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|
b|-|-|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|
g|-|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|-|
d|-|-|-|O|-|-|O|-|-|-|
a|-|-|-|O|-|-|O|-|-|-|
e|-|-|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|
Notice anything? The two scales fit perfectly on top of each other!
e|-|O|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|
b|-|O|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|
g|-|O|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|-|
d|-|O|-|O|-|-|O|-|-|-|
a|-|O|-|O|-|-|O|-|-|-|
e|-|O|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|
Now you may be thinking: "Yeah, that looks nice and spiffy. But I can't stretch that far!" Well if you can't stretch that far, you can use tapping to reach the higher notes. If you can't tap or stretch, you might want to pick up one of those techniques before continuing. Now that seems all good and dandy, but a problem occurs. All of the notes we just added double up if we play the scale front to back, which can be a cool effect, but doesn't always sound the best. Well there is a solution. If the notes we're doubling are always on the adjacent string, why not take every other string out:
e|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
b|-|O|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|
g|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
d|-|O|-|O|-|-|O|-|-|-|
a|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
e|-|O|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|
 
 or:
 
e|-|O|-|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|
b|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
g|-|O|-|O|-|O|-|-|-|-|
d|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
a|-|O|-|O|-|-|O|-|-|-|
e|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|
There. Now none of the notes clash, and, with a little bit of stretching and string skipping, we can make some pretty nifty stuff. But another problem occurs. Going up and down in this fashion is all peachy, but we leave out tons of notes, and that isn't really going up and down the scale is it? Well here's what we do: Let's look at that same Em pentatonic scale again
e|-------------------------------12-15--|
b|-------------------------12-15--------|
g|-------------------12-14--------------|
d|-------------12-14--------------------|
a|-------12-14--------------------------|
e|-12-15--------------------------------|
Now I don't know about you, but the biggest problem I have with this position is the whole two notes per string thing. So why not make it 3 notes per string?
e|-------------------------------10-12-15-|
b|-----------------------8-10-12----------|
g|-----------------4-7-9------------------|
d|-----------2-5-7------------------------|
a|-----0-2-5------------------------------|
e|----------------------------------------|
Now you may be thinking: "Wholey moley, that looks impossible Brad." Well, it's not impossible, but it IS ver hard. You have to combine either tapping, or stretching with large position shifting, and those techniques on their own are difficult. But with enough practise, I'm sure anyone can play this. If you combine these two techniques into your riffage and shredding, you can make your pentatonic leads alot more interesting than the boring old two note style, and maybe even have more fun with it! Anyway, I hope this helps some of you who are bored of the pentatonic scale, or just need new ways of moving through it. If you have any questions about fingering and such, just give me an email and I'll be happy to answer it.
More Brad204 lessons:
+ Advanced Sweep Picking Arpeggiation Guitar Techniques 10/01/2010
+ Grand Theory Of Everything Correct Practice 09/28/2010
+ Alternate Picking Across Strings Guitar Techniques 03/26/2009
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