Loading the player...

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 4: Creative Pentatonics

Lesson Notes

Guitar Roadmaps Part Four – Creative Pentatonics

** As featured in issue 4 **

In this guitar lesson I'd like to give you some ideas with which you can spice up your modern guitar phrasing & improvisation by using something that you are more than likely already well familiar with, our old friend the minor pentatonic scale.

The minor pentatonic scale has built up a rather negative reputation particularly among Rock players as it is often viewed as a scale which can imprison you into a 'box' shape mentality. As far as I'm concerned though, I don't think that has anything to with with the scale itself, rather that the player who is complaining about the limitations of it. I personally find that it is a remarkably versatile scale if you use it in a creative way.

One particularly useful way that we can apply the minor pentatonic is by taking the formula for building the scale which means taking the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th degrees of a major scale and building it upon the 2nd, 3rd and 6th degrees of the same major scale. In the key of G that gives us the minor pentatonics of A minor, B minor and E minor. By using a pre-prepared backing track using a static A minor 7 chord, I can use these three scales in conjunction with one another to great effect. If we analyze the notes contained within them we can see how they relate to the A minor 7 static chord vamp.

A minor gives us the notes A, C, D, E and G, which in terms of scale degrees against A are: 1 b3 4 5 b7.

B Minor gives us the notes  B, D, E, F sharp and A, which in terms of scale degrees against A are:  9, 11, 5, 13, 1

E minor gives us the notes E, G, A, B and D, which in terms of scale degrees against A are: 5, b7, 1, 9, 11

We can see from the above that by playing the scales in conjunction with one another, we are able to achieve all of the extended tones of the 9th 11th and 13th degrees.

Because of the intervallic nature of the pentatonic scale, we are able to achieve some very fresh, modern sounding phrases by using a shape which we already know without having to think too hard about doing so. This is part of the beauty of the simple pentatonic scale. Because we are limiting ourselves to just five notes we are afforded a sound that is much harder to achieve by using a full seven note scale. We can further heighten the intervallic nature of the scale by applying techniques such as string skipping, which sounds great and isn't too difficult to achieve for the left hand. Incorporate this idea with some tapping techniques and you have a great formula to create some cool sounding lines!

I personally like to use the pentatonics built upon the 2nd and 6th degrees of any major scale together, particularly when using a minor 7 chord. To my ears they work remarkably well in conjunction with one another. To start with, try ascending on the A minor pentatonic and descend on the E minor pentatonic. Once you feel comfortable mixing the two scales together try doing it in different areas of the fingerboard. Sequences work really well with these scales too so be sure to experiment with them as much as you can. Hopefully this idea will change you view of the minor pentatonic scale from being a 'boring' scale to one which is full of wonderful possibilities. Have fun and see you next issue!


Up Next

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 10: Picking Mechanics

Rick Graham takes a deep dive into picking guitar techniques in this guitar lesson, including ...

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 9: Hybrid picking

In this Rick Graham guitar techniques lesson, Rick teaches you his approach to the hybrid ...

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 8: Extending Your Chord Vocabulary

Rick Graham shows you how to create limitless rhythm guitar comping skills and understand chord ...

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 7: Pentatonic Double Stops

Learn a new way to view your pentatonic scale in this Rick Graham guitar improvisation ...

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 6: Creative Pentatonics Part 2

Rick Graham teaches you how to play extended 3 note per string pentatonic scales in ...

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 5: Triad Improvisation

Rick Graham shows you how to use triads to create more melodic guitar solos and ...

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 4: Creative Pentatonics

This modern pentatonic soloing Rick Graham guitar lesson covers how to mix minor pentatonic scale ...

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 3: Melodic Arpeggios

Rick Graham gives you an insight into creating melodic guitar solos with less conventional arpeggio ...

Rick Graham - Guitar Roadmaps Part 2: 4ths & 4 Note Per String Patterns

This exclusive Rick Graham guitar lesson teaches you how to break out of scale shapes ...

You May Like

Andy James - Metal Edge Part 1: 10 Pentatonic Shred Licks

Andy James teaches 10 ground breaking fast pentatonic shred guitar licks in this metal guitar ...

Nick Jennison - Creating Drums On Acoustic Guitar

In this percussive acoustic guitar techniques lesson, Nick Jennison shows you how to emulate drums ...

Sam Bell - Extended Range Secrets Part 2: Seven String Guitar Approaches

Sam Bell continues our series of 7 string metal guitar lessons, stepping into the world ...

Nick Jennsion - Extended Range Secrets Part 1

Nick Jennison steps into the world of extended range guitars with this exclusive 7 string ...

Nick Jennison - An Introduction To Slide Guitar

Get started with slide guitar playing in this beginners guide to slide guitar with Nick ...

Giorgio Serci Creative Fingerstyle Guitar Inspirational Pieces Part 17: Englishman In New York

Learn how to play this amazing fingerstyle guitar arrangement of Englishman In New York by ...

Sam Bell Rhythm Guitar Concepts Part 11: Using Simple Syncopated Rhythm Parts In Arrangements

In this rhythm guitar lesson, Sam Bell shows you how to create space within your ...

Giorgio Serci Creative Fingerstyle Guitar Inspirational Pieces Part 18: Lullaby

Take this fingerstyle guitar lesson and learn how to play the beautiful solo classical guitar ...

Giorgio Serci Creative Fingerstyle Guitar Inspirational Pieces Part 16: Yesterday

Giorgio Serci teaches you how to play The Beatles classic Yesterday as a full fingerstyle ...

Sam Bell Rhythm Guitar Concepts Part 9: Chordal Tapping Extensions

Learn how to play the fundamentals of chordal tapping guitar techniques with this great guitar ...

Giorgio Serci Creative Fingerstyle Guitar Inspirational Pieces Part 15: The Lonely Man

Giorgio Serci teaches you how to play The Lonely Man for classical guitar; made famous ...

Danny Gill - Pentatonic Sequences That Can Be Used Anytime, Anywhere, And On Any Song Part 3

Rejuvenate your pentatonic guitar soloing with these great guitar exercises, sequences and routines in this ...

Chris Buck - Rock & Soul Part 5: Play With Repetition Part 2

Chris Buck presents you with more reasons to use repetition in your guitar solos as ...

Danny Gill - Pentatonic Sequences That Can Be Used Anytime, Anywhere, And On Any Song Part 2

Uncover some game changing pentatonic sequences and guitar licks with the help of Danny Gill ...

Giorgio Serci Creative Fingerstyle Guitar Inspirational Pieces Part 14 - Momentum (aka Matteo)

Giorgio Serci takes you through his fingerstyle guitar composition Momentum in this creative acoustic guitar ...

Sam Bell Rhythm Guitar Concepts Part 8: Using Triads To Create Melodic Movement Within A Part

Add a sense of melody and movement to your rhythm guitar parts using triads. In ...

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

Play more interesting pentatonic guitar licks and runs with the power of scale sequences. Danny ...

Giorgio Serci Creative Fingerstyle Guitar Inspirational Pieces Part 13: A Walk In The Park

The jazz influenced fingerstyle solo guitar piece A Walk In The Park is taught by ...

Sam Bell Rhythm Guitar Concepts Part 7: Spread Triads

Sam Bell gives you an insight into modern guitar chord voicings using spread triads to ...

1 2 3 18
Top magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram