Polyphoneek Lesson 6: Different Pentatonic Positions In A Minor

This month we will be combining several different pentatonic shapes with some dorian and minor scale notes, all over the neck. We will also be incorporating a range of techniques […]

This month we will be combining several different pentatonic shapes with some dorian and minor scale notes, all over the neck. We will also be incorporating a range of techniques including alternate picking, legato and sweep picking.

It is important to know all five of your pentatonic positions, and the seven modal shapes all over the neck before tackling this short solo. This will help you both learn the piece and understand what you are playing, so a little time spent revising these will be very worthwhile.

lesson 6 - different pentatonic positions a minor

We begin with some alternate picking in position five of the A minor pentatonic on the G note at the third fret of the low E string, ascending up to A at the fifth fret then the C and D of the third and fifth frets of the A string. We then slide into position one of the A minor pentatonic to the E at the seventh fret of the A string. Then carry on up the scale with the G and A at the fifth and seventh frets of the D string, and finally the C and D notes on the fifth and seventh frets of the G string. From the D we slide up again into position 3 to the E at the ninth fret of the G string, before finishing the phrase by going from G to A at the eighth and tenth frets of the B string and adding vibrato.

The next phrase begins with a bend from D to E at the fifteenth fret up to the seventeenth fret of the B string with the third finger, then add the G note at the fifteenth fret of the high string with your fourth finger. Then release the bend back down to the D, and head down to the C at the thirteenth fret and then down to the A at the fourteenth fret of the G string. We then bend up from the G to the A an octave higher at the fifteenth fret of the high E string then release the bend, and then bend back up and add vibrato.

Now we sweep (all down strokes) pick an A minor seventh arpeggio in triplets starting on the G (the seventh) at the tenth fret of the A string using our first finger. We then hammer on to the A at the twelfth fret of the A string using our fourth finger, and then continue our sweep to the C at the tenth fret of the D string using our second finger, followed by an E at the ninth fret of the G string using our first finger. Then using our second finger we play an A at the tenth fret of the B string and finally a C at the eighth fret of the high E string. We then hammer on to the E at the twelfth fret of the high E string and back off again down to the C, then hammer on from nowhere to the A at the tenth fret of the B string. We then begin to sweep back up from the E at the ninth fret of the G string up the same shape till we reach to C at the eighth fret of the high E string.

The next bar is all played legato descending the A natural minor scale from the E at the twelfth fret of the high E string in sixteenth notes. We us our fourth finger for the E, then pull off to our second finger to the D at the tenth fret and then the C at the eighth fret before sliding down to the B at the seventh fret. Then we re-descend using the same fingering from the D at the tenth fret down to the C and the B, then we slide from the G to the A at the eighth fret of the B string and add vibrato.

The next section starts in the first pentatonic box with a similar to bend to the one in bar three. Except this time we bend from the D at the fifth fret of the G string to the E at the seventh fret using our third finger, and fret the G note at the eighth fret of the B string while we bend and back down again. We then descend in triplets for three notes from D to C at the seventh and fifth frets of the G string then down to the A at the seventh fret of the D string. From here we slide down to the G at the fifth fret and pull off to the F# at the fourth fret, finishing by going from D to C at the fifth and third frets of the A string.

The final bar consists of a similar lick to the previous bar using both the major and minor A scales. We begin by bending up from B to C# (major third of A) at the fourth fret of the G string, followed by a similar triplet going from the A at the second fret of the G string down to the F# and E at the fourth and second frets of the D string. We finish this solo with a pull off from the C (minor third of A) at the third fret of the A string to the open A string, and then bend the G at the third fret of the low E string up a tone to A and add vibrato.

This short solo contains a range of techniques and blends major, minor pentatonic and dorian. Having a large repertoire of techniques and scales will add interest to your solos.

Harry Houghton

About Harry Houghton

Writer and music tutor.