pentatonic scales

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Learn how to create twisting “outside” licks.
  • Develop a keen sense of weird phrasing.
  • Understand how to target chord tones.
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Great music tells a story. It builds on a plot and holds the listener’s attention as the story unfolds. We are especially moved by soloists who bare their souls and who keep us riveted with every twist and turn from their narrative. Pentatonics are the backbone of modern guitar vocabulary. Partially because they just sound good, but also because they lay so easily on guitar. There are several ingredients that make a guitarist sound brilliant, but one of the most important is chromaticism. Could there a be a way we could combine these two? Let’s find out.
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With a few minor fingering adjustments another world of musical expression can be unlocked.

Beginner

Beginner

  • Look at the pentatonic scale in a new light.
  • Understand how to navigate diagonally across the fretboard.
  • Use this newfound knowledge to create more musical phrases.
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Likely the first melodic device any improvising musician learns is the pentatonic scale. It’s a simple pattern to learn on guitar, it’s easy to play, and it always sounds “correct.” It contains mostly the “good” notes and usually you don’t need to think too much about which notes to avoid. What’s not to love? After a while, however, a certain sameness begins to emerge, and one begins to wonder, “Is there something more here?” Well, it has much more to offer than what you see on the surface.
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Rethink your approach to pentatonic shapes by pushing the limits of your picking.

Advanced

Beginner

• Visualize different string groupings for pentatonic scales.
• Understand the basics of economy picking.
• Learn how to create lines in the style of Eric Johnson, Shawn Lane, and Joe Bonamassa.

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When I first heard about economy picking, the simplicity intrigued me. The concept is relatively straightforward: After a downstroke, if you're moving to a higher string, you make another downstroke. If you travel to a lower string, that requires an upstroke. Many beginners often intuitively do this. It wasn't until a bit later that I adopted a regimen of strict alternate picking for scales and sweep picking for arpeggios. But the idea of economy picking echoed in my mind. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have one picking style that could fluidly transition from arpeggios to scales? As time went on, I explored players like Django Reinhardt, Frank Gambale, and George Bellas, and economy picking naturally found its way into more of my technique.

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