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Pentatonic Madness

Introduction and the five patterns

Yawwwwnnnnn.... I KNOW I have talked about the pentatonic scale already in my two articles about the stretch pentatonic. And I KNOW a lot of people think that the pentatonic scale is a "beginners scale", suitable for your typical good ol' blues-licks, but not interesting if ya wanna shred...

Well, lemme see if I can show you some licks that might change your mind !

Cuz: Even if you don't use the pentatonic scale in the 3NotePerString - patterns, you can create some cool licks with it, and hopefully I'll be able to show you a few licks you might like and use in your own playing.

A lot of "shred"-guys use the pentatonic scale just as much as some others like the natural minor or harmonic minor scale. It just isn't always easy to tell...

Pay close attention to the playing of Greg Howe, Paul Gilbert, Todd Duane or Greg Howe... you will notice that they actually use the scale a lot, and it never sounds like "oh, there he goes with that same ol' blues licks again!"

OK, I showed you the 3NPS-pentatonic patterns already - in the STRETCH IT and the STRETCH SOME MORE articles. Here are the regular, basic pentatonic patterns. I guess you are familiar with at least one or two of those, cuz those usually are the first patterns most players learn. (You should be familiar with pattern No.3, it's like a "classic"... )

I put the pentatonic patterns (right side) next to the regular five major patterns (left side), so you can see where the pentatonic patterns are derived from. (I guess I don't have to mention that, if you take away the fourth and seventh of the major scale, you get the pentatonic, so if you i.e. have the C Major Scale (C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C) and you take away the fourth and seventh (F and B), you get the C Major Pentatonic.

I marked the root red every time it occurs in the patterns. So for example if you take pattern 3 and you wanna use it in the key of C Major, you move it so the lowest note on the low E-String is located at the 5th fret (A). As seen in the pattern, the root occurs at the second note on the low E-String... well, let's see... the lowest note is A, 5th fret, low E-String. Three frets above that we have: C. Right.

OK, you can position all those patterns like that, by locating the C and positioning the patterns based on that. That way, you can kinda "link them together", and you can cover the whole fretboard. Therefore, once you get used to it, you can solo all over the fretboard in every key. You just have to position those patterns appropiately.

Now, the reason why the p.s. (pentatonic scale) has that "goody ol' shoes"-image is because a lot of players tend to fall into the same old "either go up and down the scale or play the same ol' blues licks over and over again"-trap. I have to admit this happens kinda easily because of the "character" of the scale (2 notes per string, and a rather... harmless sound because of the lack of fourths and sevenths).

Licks, Licks, Licks ! >>