Pentatonic Scales – Part 2


Let’s take things to the next level! If you want to shred pentatonic scales all over the fretboard you’re going to need more places to play them. We’ll add in another pattern and learn a few new moves! To top it all off… there’s another epic solo for you to sink your teeth into. Grab your guitar and let’s begin.

In my previous post, Pentatonic Scales – Part 1, I introduced you to the pattern below. (If you want to read that article first go here)

Minor Pentatonic Pattern 1.

We then put it through a practice routine where we did the following things:

  1. Ascending and Descending in 1/4 notes, 1/8 notes/ 16th notes
  2. Sequencing in 3 and 4
  3. Hammer on techniques
  4. Pull off techniques
  5. Slide techniques

We then put many of these techniques into action with our first pentatonic solo.

Basically, we want to do this same process with another pattern, plus add in a few more concepts for our routine.

Why?

The more variations we have to play a scale, the more potential phrases we have for our improvising and lead playing. Plus, we build awesome technique really quickly.

By the way you don’t need to do these routines for the rest of your life, you just need to do them to develop familiarity and coordiantion with the pattrerns. Once that happens you can run these routines more sparadically.

Pattern Number 4

Let me introduce your next pattern. It’s the A minor pentatonic scale in the 12th position.

Let’s label our first previously learned pattern… ‘Pattern 1’ and this new pattern…you guessed it… ‘Pattern 4’.

I know it seems logical after pattern 1 to do pattern 2, but personally, I think you’ll have more fun if you learn this one next.

Here it is.

Example: Am Pentatonic Pattern 4 

You might find using the 2nd finger on the B string throws you at the beginning. Play up and down this pattern a few times to get used to it.

The Big Picture

In the end I want you to know 5 patterns that you can effortlessly use all over the fretboard.

But the reason I want you to try this one next is because it’s similar in its fingering and it’s a good distance away from pattern 1, giving us a bigger range of notes to use in our solos.

Also, it’s important to know that the lowest root note in pattern 4 is on the 5th string, where as pattern 1 had the lowest root note on the 6th string. This is important so read this paragraph again!

Routine Time

Ok, let’s put pattern 4 through the its paces. As before, you can download the lesson guide here for your practice sessions.

Once you’ve worked on the routine and are comfortable with pattern 4 you can try solo #2 which is at the end of this post.

I’ve whipped up a backing track with a Hard Rock feel so you can experience this pattern in a different context, but all all you pentatonic skills can be used over a variety of backing tracks, as different genres draw out different ideas from your playing.

Let’s dig in with Pattern 4.

Ascend – Descend

You may notice that most exercises start on the root note (A) on the 5th string. We then play all the way to the top of the scale, then all the way down to the very lowest note in our position and then finish back on the root (A).

Doing this helps you become very aware of your lowest root note.

Let’s kick things off with 1/8 notes with a turnaround at the end so we can loop it in time with the backing track. I suggest you use alternate picking.

Exercise 1

Now, let’s try alternate picking with 1/16 notes. Don’t forget to use down-up picking.

Exercise 2

And here’s a new one: 1/8 note triplets with a turnaround at the end so we can loop it in time with the backing track.

Try to accent the first note in each group of 3.

Exercise 3

Sequencing

Here is sequencing in 3, played as 1/8 note triplets.

This works well because we’re working with 3 notes in each sequence. This creates a cool rhythmic effect against the straight feel of the backing track.

Exercise 4

Here’s sequencing in 4, played as 1/8 notes.

Exercise 5

Legato Concepts

As in the previous article, we looked at incorporating hammer on’s, pull off’s and slide approaches into how we play our scales.

Feel free to try the ideas we used previously for this pattern, but to save space and time I’m just going to give you some more ways of using legato.

First, let’s try a hammer on – pull off combination using a triplet followed by a 1/4 note. Once we have ascended, we reverse the idea to descend.

Exercise 6

Let’s change this technique slightly and put a slide on the end of it.

I use my first finger to lead all the slides when ascending and my third or fourth finger when descending. I feel it’s better to do a quick position shift rather than stick to the discipline of using my pinky. The big question is what would you feel more comfortable doing live on stage?

Exercise 7

We could also try a two string motif to add length to a phrase. Here’s an ascending idea using hammer on’s.

Also, this is a good one to try fast so I’ve written in 1/16ths. Remember, you only need to pick the first note on each string.

Exercise 8

Ok, so that’s the skill building routine out of the way for this post.

If you really want to develop your technique and master scales quickly and play them fast it’s such a good thing to run routines for coordiantion and creativity.

It may be slow to begin with, but if speed is what you’re after, you need coordination and discplined practice!

Pentatonic Solo # 2

Yippee! We’ve reached the bit where we get to play another solo. This time our solo will use both pentatonic patterns 1 and 4, so you can begin to see the relationship between them and experience using two locations on the fretboard.

Remember – the goal with these solos is to give you ideas for your own improvised solos. Do play along with the backing track and create your own ideas.

Tip: You might like to ascend and descend in pattern 1, then pattern 4 and repeat this a few times over the backing track just to get used to the hand shift from the 5th to 12th fret.

Don’t forget to grab the lesson guide here, it will give you laser focus when you practice.

Solo time!

P.S. If you get stuck with the solo try the slowed down track.

Pentatonic Solo Demonstration: Me showing you.


Slow Solo #2 75BPM: Solo too fast to learn? Try this.


Pentatonic Solo Backing track: Now you do it.


Complete Backing Track: You jam over this!


In the next post, we’ll look at how to use our scales in any major or minor key.

Once you’ve got this you can play along with a whole bunch of backing tracks and try out your scales in different locations. We’ll also talk about the ‘12th fret rule’.

About the author

I'm really excited to be teaching guitar. Not many people receive the joy that I feel when seeing the progress of each of my students. It's truly a privilege, and I'd love you to join me.  

As I'm sure you know, learning guitar is a long journey, so you must be committed to it. But, if you're willing to put in some hard work for some big rewards, come and join me! 

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