It has been a while since I last posted. Lately I have been looking for a inspiration.
Not only in my guitar playing but, in my drumming, my teaching and I guess in my life in general.
It is important that I always find new inspiration as a teacher, because if I am not inspired then, there is no way in hell I’m going to inspire my students.
This journey for inspiration has lead me to some interesting discoveries. One in particular is the use of the pentatonic scale. Yes I know, this is nothing new. Everyone uses it and it can be heard on pretty much every solo. But, I wasn’t listening to run of the mill rock solos. I was looking at some of most idolized lead guitarists and just how they develop such desirable sounds.
Now I’ve heard it often that the pentatonic scale is overused. It is often frowned upon by guitarists who think they know it all (we all know someone like that right!). But here’s the thing, after watching interviews of many great guitarists, guess which scale they use a basis for there solos. Yup you guessed it, the good old pentatonic scale.
So how can you stand out from the crowd by using a scale that literally every moderately accomplished guitarist uses?
Well first thing you got to do is to learn each one of those 5 shapes. Not very hard really. I have been guilty of not learning these all in the past. I used to think that I could just use the parts of each shape I liked and it sort of works. However, it really does make connecting the dots (or scales) a bit tricky. After really studying these shapes and knowing how to jump from one to the other no matter where you are sitting on the fretboard, you will really open up a whole world of new possibilities.
So here’s how to learn them.
- First make sure you can play up and down them all properly by looking at a sheet. This is not the funnest way to practice them but it will make sure you don’t mess them up later on.
- Make sure your fingering is correct and that you do it the same way every time.
- Use a metronome starting slow an building your speed up gradually.
- Play down one shape then up another.
Once you start to get your fingers around the shapes, it is time to put them to some use. Find a backing track in a desired style and key and get jamming along. Mess around with it, see what sounds good and what doesn’t. I spent a ton of my practice time in my teens doing this and it makes practicing fun.
Now time to make it sound even better. Start practicing some sequences. I intend to do a post or two on sequences some time in the future so watch this space. Sequences can be herd in pretty much every great guitar solo out. They make your solo sound awesome so get using them.