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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.
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.
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