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Lesson Series

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Danny Gill - Pentatonic Sequences That Can Be Used Anytime, Anywhere, And On Any Song Part 1

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 59 **

Well I had to do something to spice up the title of this lesson because let’s face it, ’pentatonic sequencing’ sounds a bit bland. However, and I kid you not, the amount of ideas that can come from a few well-practiced sequences can be awesome. So, what is a sequence? Good question; a sequence is when you play the notes of a scale in a specific repetitive pattern as opposed to randomly playing scale tones. The equations can be very mathematical. You may have heard players referring to certain sequences such as a ‘group of 3, group of 4, diatonic 3rds', etc. In this lesson we’re going to take a look at 2 sequences using the E major pentatonic scale and how you can ‘make them your own’.

Sequence 1

In this first example we are going to descend the E major pentatonic scale skipping a note each time. If this is new to you I would recommend practicing in pairs of notes until you get a feel for the pattern. Check out the tab and the video and go slow at first. (see EX 1 on the PDF)

The magic starts to happen in EX 2 when you mix up the rhythm a bit. Here’s one example but the possibilities are endless! Mess around! Try starting on a note other than the downbeat of ‘1’.

For our next adventure in EX 3 we’ll take this sequence and expand it on the neck using the top 2 strings.

Sequence 2

Now we’re going to skip 2 notes. The interval we end up with is a 5th. If you’ve ever played a power chord, you have played a 5th interval!
Check out the video and read through EX 4 on the PDF. This idea is also a great alternate picking exercise due to the string skipping.

I also love the sound of 5ths when played together (just as in a power chord). These chord bits in EX 5 can be useful in your rhythm playing as well as in your lead playing.

Until next time, some things to remember:

Take things at your own pace. One sequence can go a long way! Mix up the rhythms and repeat some of the notes to create licks. Start on beats other than the downbeat of 1.

Expand the fretboard to play these sequences in other positions. Sequences are a great way to familiarize yourself with scale patterns.

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