Pentatonic Scale Licks and Runs



Strumin Blues
Strumin Blues

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Johnson, Steven
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When I first started out playing lead guitar, I would always get stuck and then blindly wing my way through solos. Ok... call it Jazz! Don't get me wrong... some of the best solos are played just like that. For example, Neil Young playing "Rockin' In The Free World" live. Whew!!! But, I wanted to know more about the so called "Rules of the Road." I heard about this scale called the Pentatonic Scale. I read somewhere that if you wanted to play lead guitar, then this was the scale to learn. So... I took a couple of guitar lessons from a great guitar player here in Austin, Tajas named Billy White (Dokken, Billy White Trio, Watchtower fame) and he introduced me to the pentatonic scale and all 5 patterns(positions). This my friendz out there in guitar land is where I started to hone my lead playing skillz. Not only that, but it opened my mind to much more and to other aspects of lead playing. I started out learning where all the "A" notes were on the neck. These would be my root notes if I where playing a simple blues / rock progression in the key of "A". Then I would start learning all the 5 patterns in the Key of "A". After you get compfortable with that, learn some licks and riffs using the patterns you've just learned. Take a look at the two videos below and see what you can get out of this very simple 5 note scale. Don't forget... folks like Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Santana, Randy Rhoades, Van Halen, DimeBag, Zakk Wylde, Angus Young, and Kirk Hammett are just a few that exploit this scale to no end, Like I said... everybody uses these scales all the time! - Riffmaster


Guitar Tab

Pentatonic Scale Licks and Runs

The Pentatonic Scales "Penta meaning 5 in Greek" are basic versions of the major and minor scales. The Major and Minor Scales have 7 notes and the pentatonic scales only have 5 excluding the 4 and 7th tone in major and the 2 and 6th tone in minor(natural minor). Minor Pentatonics are used relentlessly in Blues and Rock music among others styles. Once learn the five minor forms you can play them in all keys. We will focus only on the minor pentatonic forms for now but will dedicate another file just for the major pentatonic.



The A Pentatonic Scale

Here is patterns one and two starting on the 5th Fret


Licks and Runs





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Updated: 3/17/07