Using double stops with the pentatonic scales – great exercise!

13 Apr

Hi there,

Thanks for reading my blogs – hope you’ve found them useful. Feel free to ask me via the comments or via twitter @jsmusicschool if there is something that’s bugging you that I can answer.

So whenever a new pupil comes to me for a lesson that’s been self taught for a while I ask them do they know their pentatonic scales. Many people tend to just know the first shape. If some people know all 5 shapes that is a great start. But the key to proper integration is utilising lots of different exercises so that you know them inside out and can use them properly in a musical context.

Here is 1 of many exercises to help you get to grips with the pentatonics. Double stops (playing 2 notes at a time) can give you a variety of other options for riffs alongside just single note melodies. Hundreds of famous riffs have been written with double stops. It’s also a great way of memorizing the pentatonic shapes as you are playing 2 strings at a time.

Let’s familiarize ourselves with the 5 shapes again


So in the exercise below i’ve transcribed it in the key of F#minor. So the first shape starts on the 2nd fret, 2nd shape on the 5th fret, 3rd shape on the 7th fret, 4th shape on the 9th fret and 5th shape on the 12th fret. (they connect together very easy, the 2nd note of one shape is always the first of the next)

What i’ve done below is gone ascending through each shape using double stops and then descending back down to the start again.

shape 1 F#m

shape 2 F#m

shape 3 F#m

shape 4 F#m

shape 5 F#m

Remember there are 12 keys in music so you can do this exercise for all 5 shapes of all other 11 keys.

You will find that this helps to integrate the pentatonics better and you’ll be able to come up with new exciting ways of improvising.

Thanks for reading

You can find other great tweets via the Jsmusicschool twitter feed @jsmusicschool @harvey_jsmusic @annie_jsmusic

Many thanks



Posted by on April 13, 2013 in Improvisation


Tags: , , , ,

4 responses to “Using double stops with the pentatonic scales – great exercise!

  1. Rob McDonald

    April 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    James, this doesn’t seem to work for us, none of the pictures are displaying in IE8

    • jsmusicschool

      April 18, 2013 at 11:45 am

      Mmm that’s interesting – have you tried it in other browsers? Few other people have mentioned similar things. Just thinking whether my posts are not compatible with IE8

      • Rob

        April 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm

        It works fine with chrome and dolphin browsers.

      • jsmusicschool

        April 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm

        Mmmm weird – i’m not that technical. Glad it works on others though. Eventually i’ll link this blog up to a new teaching site so i’ll get some IT guys to redesign it.


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