“One of the enduring challenges for guitarists
is to become fluent in all five pentatonic
scale shapes,” he says. “It’s one thing
to memorize the scales, but to really develop
a vocabulary of licks outside the standard
root-on-the-sixth-string form, I find that
it helps to view them from a relative-major
perspective.” To that end, Skolnick regards
the A pentatonic minor shape that starts
on the 3 (C) in Fig. A as a root-position C
pentatonic major scale.
Now let’s journey through the remaining
scale forms and unearth the triads within.
On the bottom three strings of the C pentatonic
major form shown in Fig. B, lurks
the C/E triad delineated in Ex. 2a. “I find
this grip ergonomically suited for licks
with hammer-ons, pull-offs, and a Hendrix-
style chordal stab,” (as demonstrated
by Ex. 2b.)
Play through the next scalar shape shown
in Fig. C, and notice how the previous triad
can be repurposed as Ex. 3a’s twelfth position
C/E chord arpeggio. Explore the scalar
notes above this time, and dig Ex. 3b—a
very David Gilmour-esque melodic phrase.
For the final scale form shown in Fig. D,
we’ll drop down an octave to second position.
Heads up—this scale has Ex. 4a’s full
fifth-string-root C major barre chord contained
within. Take advantage of this fact
to cultivate sweeping, arpeggios-based
runs like Ex. 4b.
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