# Pentatonic Escape Routes

### Don’t be a prisoner of the pentatonic box. Time to break out!

 Chops: Beginner Theory: Beginner Lesson Overview: • Create blazing pentatonic licks that span the entire neck. • Understand how to move a motif through the scale. • Learn how to develop variations on simple licks. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

We’ve all heard the cliché about breaking out of the pentatonic box. And for good reason. We all need to find new and inventive ways to open up the fretboard to the sounds we hear in our head. In this lesson, we will be looking at two-string ideas that will get you up and down the neck in a hurry. If you’ve been playing electric guitar for any length of time you surely have run into the minor pentatonic scale. If you’re not careful, you could be firmly planted in this box for years without out ever coming up for air and checking out what’s going on in the other positions of that scale. These quick pentatonic ideas, although still technically “box” patterns, will instantly get you on the move.

Let’s start with a simple idea in Ex. 1. It consists of four sixteenth-notes from the A minor pentatonic scale (A–C–D–E–G) in the 5th position. Once you get this phrase under your fingers, the rest of the lesson will come together nicely. The picking I use for this lick is a downstroke followed by a pull-off, another downstroke, and then one upstroke. I’ve seen many people start with an upstroke and change it up. It’s your call.

Now that you have the idea let’s break out and head up the neck. In Ex. 2, we move to the 8th position. If you want to think in terms of the pentatonic scale, we are moving each note in the motif up to the next available scale tone, with the same picking pattern. Put the two ideas together and start playing them two times each. We are going to keep going up.

Ex. 3 is based out of the 10th position and begins with a C on the 2nd string. Experiment with fingerings on each one of these. It helps to have a few different ways to come in and out of each escape route.

For Ex. 4, Ex. 5,and Ex. 6 we continue up the pentatonic scale. Learn how to visualize the scale that surrounds each fragment—it will help considerably when putting these into practice. Also, notice that Ex. 6 feels very familiar. It’s our original motif transposed up an octave.

Now it’s time to put everything we’ve learned so far together. In Ex. 7, I’ve written out a longer lick that connects each of our previous examples. As you can hear in the audio, I’ve taken liberties with the phrasing by ghosting some notes and palm-muting others. These come out naturally in my playing, but find the ideas and concepts that pop out in your playing and lean into them. That’s a major step in finding your own sound.

You’ve now made it through five different escape routes moving through five positions of the A minor pentatonic scale. In the heat of a gig you can pull any one of these out as a “repeater” that works up the crowd (think of all those fast licks in “Freebird”) or as a way to seamlessly transition to a different pentatonic box.

I altered our original motivic pattern for Ex. 8. I took our exact phrase from Ex. 1 and expanded it on the second repeat by reaching up and grabbing the A with my pinky. Yes, it’s a stretch, but it allows you to squeeze yet another variation out of this lick. Don’t worry, when you try this out with the previous licks it’s a bit easier since the frets are closer together.

Now, imagine you’re stepping out front to rip a dozen or so choruses on an over-caffeinated version of “Train Kept A-Rollin’” when you bust out Ex. 9, which is simply a “repeater” version of Ex. 8. And the crowd goes wild.

These have been heard in everything from Southern rock to metal and nearly everything in between. Make sure to practice these evenly with a metronome and experiment with them on other string sets and in other keys. Escaping from the box is something we all need to do at various points in our journey. Use this newfound freedom for good. You’ll be glad you did!

## Rig Rundown: All That Remains [2022]

Rig Rundown: All That Remains' Mike Martin & Jason Richardson [2022]

Celebrating The Fall of Ideals, Mike Martin upgrades with two smoking PRS Custom 24s, while Jason Richardson unveils two dazzling Music Man Cutlass signatures.

A lot of bands are lucky enough to carve a career with one big hit. If they’re even luckier, they’ll ride the wave of an impactful album for decades. But for melodic metalcore heavyweights All That Remains, who are honoring their game-changing The Fall of Ideals with a full album play, it’s not even their most-popular record. Following on the energy and success of that influential 2006 album, they released five straight albums that landed in the top 10 of Billboard’s U.S. Rock chart.

The coal fueling All That Remains’ locomotive is their propulsive guitar work. The original firepower was supplied by cofounding shredmeister Oli Herbert who was originally flanked by Chris Bartlett. Current rhythm rifleman Mike Martin replaced Bartlett in 2004 and provided the classically trained Herbert a solid substratum to dance all over. That duo defined ATR’s harmonious heaviness, Gothenburg groove, and aggressive attitude for almost 15 years before Herbert’s untimely passing in October 2018 just weeks before releasing their ninth trouncing album, Victim of the New Disease. Since then, the band has continued with blazing flamethrower Jason Richardson (Born of Osiris and Chelsea Grin).

Before All That Remains’ May 10th headlining show at Nashville’s Basement East, PG’s Perry Bean had to pick his jaw off the floor and re-screw his skullcap on after seeing the amazing instruments both guitarists Mike Martin and Jason Richardson brought on tour. Martin detailed his beautiful PRS Custom 24s while Richardson offered a sneak peek at his second batch of signature Ernie Ball Music Man Cutlass models.

Brought to you by D’Addario XS Electric Strings.

### Thanks Brian!

For this special set of shows, longtime rhythm guitarist Mike Martin brought out a pair of eye-popping PRS Custom 24s. First up is this remarkably, ruffled, quilted-maple top (on a mahogany body) that features a stunning “sub-zero-glow, smoked burst” created by Martin’s friend Brian Giampietro, who owns Brian’s Guitars in Cheshire, Connecticut. He dropped in an EMG 81 (bridge) and 66 (neck). The alnico V neck pickup is coil-tapped so Martin can clean up for the softer parts of All That Remains. Most of the band’s material is in either B standard or C# tunings. Martin uses Ernie Ball 2216 Skinny Top Beefy Bottom Slinkys (.010–.054) on both of his guitars and plays with custom Dunlop Tortex picks.

### Goosenecking

If the top wasn’t striking enough, the back of the flame-maple neck is sure to stop you in your tracks.

### Always on My Mind

The last seven years, this PRS Custom 24 with a charcoal-cherry burst finish has been Martin’s main ride. The custom order included the request for a stoptail bridge where the stock production models come with a PRS-patented Gen III Tremolo bridge. This one was delivered with PRS 59/09 humbuckers, but to match the high-gain needs of ATR, Martin replaced those with EMGs (81 and 85).

### The Legend of Jason Richardson

We were given a special treat when talking with All That Remains’ lead guitarist Jason Richardson, who was about to announce two new signature offerings from his Ernie Ball collection. The above Ernie Ball Music Man Jason Richardson Artist Series Cutlass makes a splash with its alder body, capped with a buckeye burl top that’s finished in a Majora Purple. (Richardson admits to being a video game nerd and got the color and name from the The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, which came out in 2000 for N64.) Additional accoutrements include a roasted maple neck with a sculpted joint, roasted maple fretboard, 24 stainless-steel, medium-jumbo frets, custom Music Man floating tremolo, and a set of custom-voiced Music Man ceramic humbuckers (only available in his signature models). One thing Richardson asked Music Man to do for his namesake speed machine was to coil-tap the humbuckers when the pickup selector is in the middle position, because much of ATR and his solo work requires fleet and fiery playing without a second to spare. All of Richardson’s 6-strings take Ernie Ball Paradigm Power Slinkys (.011–.048).

### To the Point

And he’s been hitting the strings with his new custom Dunlop Jason Richardson picks (1.364 mm) that combine the size of Dunlop’s Jazz IIIs with the profile and pointiness of their Tortex Sharps.

### White Walker

Here’s another one of Richardson’s new signature Cutlass dragsters that’s finished in empress white and set off with a subtly spectacular sparkle job. This one has an alder body and maple top (somewhat pointless to have the burl when it’s under a snow globe), separated by a sliver of walnut that’s sandwiched between the two core woods. Other than the ebony fretboard, this is the same as the previous stunner.

### Tell Me What You See

Here’s an Ernie Ball Music Man Jason Richardson Artist Series Cutlass finished in Rorschach red that debuted at the 2020 NAMM Show. The sandwiched wood between the alder body and buckeye burl top in this one is maple.

### Buckeye Burst

And the last signature axe that Richardson is carrying with him on this run is the Cutlass highlighting the exquisite nature of the buckeye burl top, with a complementary black burst that slightly rims the silhouette of the double cutaway.

### Tower of Power

Both Martin and Richardson are running through the Fractal Audio Axe-Fx III. Core patches for Martin revolve around the EVH 5150III, whereas Richardson lives in the Friedman Small Box and HBE realm. The changes are connected to a click track and are automated via Pro Tools.

## 10 Distortion Pedals Under \$100

### Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

### JHS Series 3 Overdrive

This OD is part of the company’s Series 3 line which offers affordable stomps with simple control setups. Along with volume and drive controls, it offers a body knob that tweaks the EQ and a gain switch that moves between more saturated and crunchier sounds.

\$99 street

jhspedals.info

### Nobels ODR-Mini

Thanks to an extremely dedicated following among Nashville session cats, the other green stomp is now offered in a downsized setup. It can run up to 18V for increased headroom and sports glow-in-the-dark knobs for those extremely dark stages.

\$79 street

nobels.de

### TC Electronic MojoMojo

This all-analog distortion offers classic, vintage-inspired tones with a familiar control setup of volume, gain, bass, and treble. The real secret sauce is in the voice switch, which allows you to move between a more natural sound and a bass cut.

\$59 street

tcelectronic.com

### Boss DS-1

Since 1978, the DS-1 has been a go-to for generations of guitarists. It offers a scooped sound that can take you from grunge to shred and has been affordable for decades.

\$58 street

boss.info

### EarthQuaker Devices Plumes

Although loosely based on a classic circuit, EQD has replaced the 4558 IC with a JFET op-amp for a more mid-focused sound. In addition to the standard controls, the toggle switch moves between two different clipping options or no clipping at all for a wide-open clean boost.

\$99 street

earthquakerdevices.com

### Electro-Harmonix East River Drive

A JRC4558 IC-loaded circuit that creates the classic symmetrical overdrive sound, this is an all-analog affair that is true bypass, housed in a rock-solid chassis, and can run on a 9-volt battery—which is included.

\$77 street

ehx.com

### Fender Hammerstone Overdrive

One of the newest entries on this list is a retro-looking stomp that offers some interesting features under the hood. The original circuit allows you to control the mids before the gain stage, plus there’s an internal trim pot to wrangle the high end.

\$79 street

fender.com

### Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

One of the most popular stompboxes of all time has been shrunk down to a mini-sized wonder. With an oversized drive knob and two smaller tone and level controls, this green monster aims to cop all the classic midrange tones of the original.

\$79 street

Ibanez.com

### Pro Co Rat 2

Is it a fuzz? Or a distortion? Or an overdrive? Well, thanks to the famous filter control, you can blur the lines between all the different flavors of dirt. It offers a totally analog signal path, glow-in-the-dark graphics, and the trademark heavy-duty enclosure.

\$79 street

ratdistortion.com

### MXR Distortion+

There’s no mistaking that shade of yellow. This dead-simple setup offers output and distortion controls along with a vintage-sounding germanium clipping circuit that does everything in its power to blur the line between overdrive and fuzz.

\$89 street

jimdunlop.com

## Blackstar Introduces the St. James Amp Series

A lightweight, portable amp series developed after months of forensic examination of vintage valve amps.

The St. James series offers amps in two formats: an EL34 design creating classic British rock tones and a 6L6 model with crystal clean tones and higher gain, both available as Celestion-equipped combo or amplifier head with matching vertical 212 cabinet. Designed to be simple to use but highly versatile, these amps offer an intuitive two-channel setup that delivers Blackstar’s best-ever clean and overdrive tones.

These amps are ideal for gigging players in search of a great-sounding valve amp at less than half the weight of traditional valve-driven amplifiers, as well as studio players looking for elite tone with the convenience of built-in tools used for recording applications. The models’ light weight is attributable to several factors in construction and design, namely the candlenut wood cabinet and custom Celestion Zephyr speaker, all without sacrificing the all-valve signal path creating the sound and feel of a traditional valve amplifier.

<p>Blackstar St. James 50 Watt 6L6 Combo Amp</p>

### Features

All four amp models feature two-channel 12AX7 preamp tube circuitry, along with three power switch options to fit the user’s need:
• the 50W full power setting, offering the loudest clean headroom;
• the SAG setting, proving the softer, vintage-feeling dynamic compression of a power supply ‘”sag,” most noticeable on the loud transients (attack) of the sweetest tube amps;
• and a 2W low power setting for recording or smaller gigs, delivering a more overdriven power amp tone by controlling HT (high voltage) and bias in the power stage, delivering a more natural tone than the usual “power soak” load resistor method often used.

### See How These Players Reacted to St. James | St. James | Blackstar

For more information, visit: www.blackstaramps.com. Blackstar will be exhibiting at Booth 5723 (Hall D) at The NAMM Show, June 3-5, 2022, in Anaheim, CA.

U.S. MAP pricing is as follows:

• St James 50 Watt 6L6 Combo Amp: \$1299.99
• St James 50 Watt 6L6 Amp Head: \$1199.99
• St James 50 Watt EL34 Combo Amp: \$1299.99
• St James 50 Watt EL34 Amp Head: \$1199.99
• St James Vertical 212 Cabinet Black: \$749.99
• St James Vertical 212 Cabinet Fawn: \$749.99