Exploding Your Pentatonic Scale Chops

A fantastic way of improving your pentatonic scale chops is to master the same exercise using different guitar techniques. By experimenting with different techniques you improve your pentatonic chops in a very creative way. It also helps to improve your versatility as a guitarist. The more techniques you master the better!

Let's take a look at an example to see this practice strategy in use…

For this example let's use the A minor pentatonic scale. We will play the exact same exercise using alternate picking, sweep picking and then legato. Here we go…

A Minor Pentatonic Exercise: (Played Using Alternate Picking)

For this exercise you will need to pick down-up-down-up consistently. In other words, you need to alternate pick the exercise starting with a downstroke. Notice also that I've put the fretting-hand fingerings that I use to play the exercise. Of course, you are free to change them if you don't find them comfortable for you.

Pentatonic Scale Exercise Using Alternate Picking

A Minor Pentatonic Exercise: (Played Using Sweep Picking)

Notice how this exercise has the exact same notes and fingerings as the first exercise. The only difference is that we are using sweep picking to play some of the notes.

 Pentatonic Scale Exercise Using Sweep Picking

A Minor Pentatonic Exercise: (Played Using Legato)

This exercise has the exact same notes and fingerings. The only difference is that we are using legato technique to play it. Notice the extensive use of pull-offs. I really like the sound of this variation, as it sounds a bit smoother and flowing than the other two.

 Pentatonic Scale Exercise Using Legato

Here are a few pointers to help you get the most from these exercises…

  • Initially learn each exercise without a metronome. Make sure that you play the exercise with both hands as relaxed as possible.
  • Once you have memorized the exercise and can play it comfortably, practice it to a metronome.
  • Start off at a very slow speed. Over a period of days (or weeks/months) gradually speed up the metronome speed until you reach your speed goal.
  • Always practice the exercises at a speed where you can play them perfectly. If you are making mistakes, then you are playing too damn quickly. Slow down!

I hope you found this helpful! Work hard at these exercises and see your pentatonic scale chops explode.


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