HERE’S A SOMEWHAT EXTREME
but quite useful application of the February
2011 issue’s “Modded Pentatonic” concept.
Take the open-position E minor pentatonic
scale in Fig. 1, add a note on each string, and
you’ll have the E rockabilly scale in Fig. 1a,
which is named for the rockabilly-approved
descent in Ex. 1. Fig. 2 shows a moveable shape
in the key of G.
Like the minor pentatonic scale, the rockabilly
scale has five moveable, overlapping
fingerings, illustrated by Figures 3 through
6. Whenever you shift positions—whether
ascending or descending—your index finger
always plays the lowest of the three notes on
each string. Play each of these five fingerings
starting from whichever string contains the
root as the lowest note. From there, ascend
and descend completely through the fingering,
and finally re-ascend back to the starting
root note, as in Ex. 2. Ex. 2 is written in a
triplet rhythm, but you can play these fingerings
with a straight eighth-note feel as well.
Once you’re comfortable playing and
hearing the five fingerings, try connecting
and shifting between them any way you
can think of (see Ex. 3 for starters). You can
play everything in this lesson with alternate,
sweep, or hybrid picking, or you can use a
legato technique—whatever works for you.
Spend some time with the rockabilly
scale, and you’ll have another fairly simple,
highly effective way of adding new colors
to your pentatonic and blues-based-playing.
Go cat go!