Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Major Soloing Scales and Pentatonic Lead Patterns

"I have learned the pentatonic scales up and down and connect them well but always revert to patterns 1 and a bit of 2 and 5 when guitar soloing. Any tips to ensure I don’t always fall into this trap?"

There is nothing wrong with favoring certain patterns. In fact, you really need to simplify things and get good at phrasing in one position at a time before you try to fly all over the whole fretboard. So it sounds like you're on the right track. And many accomplished players favor the same lead pattern you have put together.

"How essential is the major scale? Could I not get by soloing with just the pentatonic scale?"

About half of popular guitar melodies, riffs, lead solos and bass lines are played in major scale patterns. Just take a look at all the major scale song references in my guitar theory book. And music theory in general stems from the major scale and its structure. So you definitely want to know and play it well. But don't get ahead of yourself. I recommend focusing on the easier pentatonic scale patterns first. Be sure to learn lots of pentatonic scale songs while you're at it. Give yourself plenty of time to get comfortable with using the patterns and develop good technique. Then move onto the major scale patterns and repeat the whole process.

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