Exploring Pentatonic Patterns

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Exploring Pentatonic Patterns


Figure A takes G Minor pentatonic in an ascending-styled pattern. Of course there’s no one way to articulate this lick, but try using picked notes along with pull-offs and hammer-ons to get a smooth, flowing sound. Economy picking would also work for notes that are on adjacent strings where you can pick in the same direction across them both.



Taking the G Minor idea further, lets have a look at Figure B. Starting with a 4ths-based idea you can sweep or economy pick across some of the sections with the lick leading to the high Bb and back to G as an ending. Notice that the change of direction (the ascending note) doesn’t start on the beat except for the very first note. Again this is creating an interesting sound to the ear, almost like groups of 3rds, but should – or is intended to – be felt and played as straight 16th notes.



Figure C offers another pattern-based idea, using the first four note group to state an idea and then the following four notes to play a typical descending guitar-styled minor pentatonic lick. Try extending this lick further to see how it plays out across the rest of the fretboard. Many rock and blues players use these type of ideas to create long lines that sound like they’re building in momentum – either ascending, descending, or both. You’re only limited by your technique and creativity here so see what you can come up with. Try other keys, positions and articulations to get different tones too.


Don’t forget – a lot of these ideas are taking things that you might already know or have already played but applying them slightly differently to open up new sounds. Often there are little adjustments or takes on existing ideas that can make you sound like you’re playing completely new phrases and licks. Let me know how you go – more of this next month.