Sunday, June 6, 2010

Descending Minor Pentatonics

I think it would realistic to assume that all guitar players have encountered the minor pentatonic scale in one form or another. Whether purposefully applied to your soloing techniques, or simply being aurally consumed during your favorite rock song, the scale is known to virtually everyone; Bobby McFerrin even demonstrated how even non-musicians can sing the scale with relative ease. After playing through many examples from Jason Becker and Shawn Lane (both of whom used elaborate note groupings) I decided to create a few exercises that would be fun to play through and optimize the alternate picking approach. As a famous Swedish rocker once said, "Sometimes less is less and sometimes more is more!"

There are 10 examples given, all of them assess a grouping of some sort and offer a new variation to the standard two note per string descending pattern. The groupings are written into the tablature; there are descending 4's 5's and 6's and some examples have obvious chromatic passages added into the mix. The fingerings adorn the tablature and ALL examples begin with a downstroke, followed by strict alternate (up/down/up) picking. You can elaborate even further if you wish, this is only but a small fragment of what is possible with the scale, and we're barely scraping the surface of what we can do with an 'outside' approach and applying it to progressions. Then there are the other 4 positions available to you, which can also be treated in the same fashion. I hope you find the examples worthwhile or, at a minimum, cure a day's worth of your idleness.

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