Pentatonic riffs in the 1st shape

16 Jul

Hi There,

Thanks for reading my blogs so far.

In today’s blog you can learn how to use various different techniques to play some riffs just using the 1st shape of the Minor pentatonic scale

When starting out on your pentatonic scales you need to realise that it takes time to be able to use the scales in a musical context.

Learning the 5 shapes is just the initial step, then it’s all about integrate various techniques like ascending/descending in groups of 3 to randomise the scale

Here’s the picture of the 1st shape of the Emin pentatonic (probably the most common key in rock and pop music due to the chords that belong to it)









  • The wavy line at the end of each sequence means vibrato
  • As it’s in Em you’re going to start on the 12th fret 6th string
  • He’s a riff that incorporates a hammer on and a pull off in one sequence:

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:


For the 2nd riff we’ve got a few ‘full’ tone bends. This means you are bending the notes to reach a desired pitch of 1 tone above the starting note (1 tone = 2 notes) so G to A would be a full tone for example

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:


For the 3rd riff i’ve introduced a different sort of bend where you bend up and bring it back down to create 2 notes with one picking strike:

Here’s an audio clip of me playing it:


That should give you a few ideas on how to create riffs / solos / melodies from your pentatonic scales that randomize the scale and utilize different techniques.

Thanks for reading

You can also find regular guitar tips on my twitter feed @jsmusicschool



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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Improvisation


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