Unusual Pentatonic Runs

Some time ago I gave you some bending ideas using the minor pentatonic scale. In this lesson we'll add some runs that use the same notes hence can and should be used in the same musical 'arena'. So let's go on and explore them!

Usually runs of this type will use two notes per string. But I'm using three notes in most of the examples hence the word 'unusual' in the title. This will help the legato sound come out stronger as we'll be using hammer ons and slides on the same string to achieve that. Pay close attention to the indicated fretting hand fingers. Using only the 1st and 3rd fingers will facilitate your smoothness apart from helping you to build up speed. Remember that the least finger combinations you use in a scale run or arpeggio the faster you can execute it! That's good to keep in mind. The picking directions can be altered to suit your technique although the ones indicated can be very efficient.

All the six examples should be played slowly at first keeping in mind that quality comes always before speed. When you can handle them well enough start to move them around in all keys. The only drawback can be the register/frets you play certain keys at. When this happens you can replace the 3rd finger with the 4th if bigger stretches come in play. But do not alter their construction because then you'll lose the concept behind this lesson.

Next time you'll be playing on a blues be sure to find a place for these runs to jump in. You can do that in various manners. One of them is by playing a run starting on the chord's root every time. So if you're playing on a blues in the key of A with the chords A7 D7 and E7 in the rhythm you will play an A minor penta run on A7 a D minor penta run on D7 and an E minor penta run on E7! Obviously you will need to transpose some of the runs to the new keys to achieve that. Trust me that will sound very cool! Or you can use 3 different A minor penta runs on the A7 D7 E7 progression and you'll still sound great. Needless to say they'll work in any musical situation that calls for a minor scale/mode or arpeggio to be played upon. You just need to grab your axe and try them out on them. The results will be very encouraging so go ahead and get creative!

"Unusual Pentatonic Runs" - pdf format

Best wishes and remember to practice perfectly!

Jean-Pierre Zammit is a guitarist and instructor from Malta who has been playing guitar since the age of 14.

Zammit uses complex techniques, time shifts and scales in his writing, and always puts the song and the message he wants to portray first.

His is endorsed by Music Man guitars to use their Axis BFR models and Ernie Ball strings.

Jean-Pierre Zammit