PERFECT Pentatonic Scales (GUARANTEED!)

Do you want to develop your pentatonic scales for soloing all along and across the guitar fingerboard? If you do, then realize that you actually have to do a lot more than just learn a few guitar licks and riffs from your favorite songs...




In this video, I’m going to show you how (even if you know lots of pentatonic licks), you still might have a poor ability to solo because the notes in this area, (particularly the lateral note layout), are not as easily committed to memory and seldom developed for playing lead guitar as much as they could be.

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Work along with me in this lesson as I demonstrate a fantastic 2-string along the neck exercise for mastering the neck with the pentatonic scale patterns.

In this post I’m going to show you a simple Pentatonic exercise that you can do every day that will - “Guaranteed,” - help you develop an extremely high “Perfect” level of control over the Pentatonic scale.

This exercise is so straight-forward, that once you learn to do it, you’ll only need 25 seconds to run this exercise across the neck.




Here's each stage of the exercise:

(Key of Bb)


Stage 1). 6th and 5th strings



Stage 2). 5th and 4th strings



Stage 3). 4th and 3rd strings


Stage 4). 3rd and 2nd strings



Stage 5). 2nd and 1st strings





STUDY OF THE PATTERN:
Now that you understand how this exercise operates as a fully functioning drill. The next thing to do, is break it down in stages.

Start by learning each stage of the exercise and committing the stage to memory. Then slowly begin connecting one stage into the next.

Once all 5 stages are memorized treat the entire study as one concept and play it with a metronome all at once.

After this key has been developed, move the study to a new key each day rotating through every key for approximately one month.

If you spend the time studying this short Pentatonic exercise, it will help tremendously with getting you to think about your Pentatonic as traveling along (with the lateral span), of the neck.

Doing this work will also go a long way toward helping you think more horizontally when you improvise. Too often players play pentatonic in a vertical position.




CONCLUSION:
So many of our scale pattern exercises operate very vertical on the guitar, so going more horizontal with the scale will definitely get you to start playing phrases that move across more fingerboard positions.

You’ll find yourself coming up with all kinds of different phrases that operate across the fret-board positions, rather than operate within the positions.

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NEVER DO MUSIC THEORY LIKE THIS! | 5 Most Common Mistakes

Music Theory is one of the most commonly avoided topics of study for nearly all music students, but it doesn't have to be that way. In this post, I’m going to run through five popular "thought and belief" errors that students are either told about Music Theory or that they just flat out believe about Music Theory...




I'll discuss how to never think incorrectly again about theory and I'll give you fixes for five of the most common music theory mistakes that hold players back from using music theory to its full advantage. 

Whether you currently know a lot of music theory, or if you struggle through the most basic music theory concepts, you’ll find this video incredibly helpful. And, I guarantee that you will be interested in doing a lot more with music theory by the time that this video is over.

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Today we’re talking about learning and using music theory and my one and only goal is to make sure that you’re not learning and using theory in a way that limits you as a musician.

I don’t care if you’re very weak with music theory or if you’re more advanced, if you avoid the 5 things I’m going to discuss here and adopt the alternatives that I’m going to suggest, I promise you that, you’re going to have an easier time applying every music theory concept that you ever come across. Let’s get right into the first one...




1). Never Think Music Theory Won't Offer You More Choice
To explain this topic I’m going to use chords as an example. Every chord has another chord that is related to it and that related chord will both share notes and it will offer new notes. And, this exists across many subjects of music. Take for example a, “Dm” chord. 

More Choice from One Chord:



It has the notes of; “D, F, A.” But, two of the notes from that "Dm" chord are also found in the chord of “F maj.” Those are called "shared" notes.

The shared notes are the “F and the A,” notes. If we add the “D” root from our “Dm” chord into the “F maj.” chord we get a chord called “F maj.6.” And, if we add the “C” note into the notes of our “Dm” we get a chord called “Dm7.”

All of these chords are related and that’s because the notes of the key can be accounted for in more than one way. There’s notes that fit in the key and notes that don’t – which brings us to our next point. Wrong notes in a key are not always wrong notes in a song.




2). Never Believe Music Theory Creates Note or Key Limits
Just because a song might be composed in a specific musical key - it does not mean that other notes couldn’t be added to the song which do not fit inside of the key.

In fact, this is one of the oldest and most important rules of composing music, “if it sounds good, then leave it in the song.”

For example, if we had a song in the key of “E,” and, we decided to add a note that doesn’t exist in that key, (but it sounded good), that doesn’t mean that anything is wrong.

In fact, there’s a music theory term for doing exactly this idea, and that term is, “Non-Diatonic.” A note that does not exist within the key you’re working in. 

Here’s a typical riff idea (it’s in the key of “E”), and it uses the notes of; “E, G#, B, and D.”

Riff with Diatonic Notes:





Now, here’s a variation on that riff using a “non-diatonic” note placed into the mix - the note of “G natural.”

Riff with Non-Diatonic Note Added:




 As you can tell, the use of “G natural” along with that “G#” actually sounds pretty cool. And, this brings us to our next idea which is, “to learn and use theory by going with your sense of creativity first and focusing on what sounds cool, and then using your knowledge of theory to analyze everything later.”




3). Never Think that Music Theory Sets Creativity Rules
Music theory is a great help for understanding what has occurred within a piece of music. But, if theory were to be used to compose the theory would place walls around how a musician was thinking.

Since that approach would stifle creative thought, most musicians don’t use music theory as a method for composing their songs.

Musicians tend to compose using inspiration and creativity. Then, afterward, they would likely double-back (to their music theory knowledge), as a way to analyze what they’ve composed.

That looking back approach would work as a way to learn something more about the song structure that they’ve dreamed up.

Music theory is an amazing tool to be able to use as a way to deconstruct musical ideas and as a way to help understand more about a song that you’re practicing.

But, if theory gets learned and used as a way to compose music, you’ll (more than likely) end up with music that comes across as sounding kind of uneventful or maybe even boring.

And, this brings us to our next idea which is Music Theory is not a start or an end it’s a map.




4). Never Consider Music Theory as a Barrier to Creativity
When students are learning music theory - as they learn and study (and start to understand a few principles), they begin thinking of those principles as though they are rules that music is bound to.

And, that simply isn’t the case. As you learn new music theory principles, don’t think of them as a bed to lie in and never get up out of.

Instead, think of each new music theory principle as a new rung on a ladder to take you someplace else, (to take you someplace new).

Always remember that Music is an art-form, and just like we find across any other form of art, there’s no such thing as “Never” or “Always.”

Music is art, and it’s about creativity and where you take it should always be your own unique vision of it. Which brings us to our final point.

Learning and using Music Theory is nothing more than taking the music in our mind (or the music around us), and giving it a sensible strategy…




5). Never Think Music Theory Comes BEFORE Expression
The musical experience needs to come first and this means that the study of music theory needs to come from a focus on the characteristics of sound and keeping the sound expressive.

When it comes to the study of music, character of sound is the objective in every sense. Music theory may be a way of teaching and learning about it, but it won’t allow a musician to reach; melody, harmony or rhythm with color and texture.

In fact one of the most powerful tools for success in music is mistakes. When we make mistakes (during composing or improvising or even performing), those mistakes act as one of the best teachers possible.

The mistakes teach us what doesn’t fit in our music, and each mistake allow us to search for options and to become more flexible as musicians so that we can more quickly figure out what does work.

This is often referred to as musical sensitivity, and when done with integrity it is an incredible learning tool for musicians.


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10 Step Method to Memorize Scales Once and For All...

Imagine if you had a, "10 step scale learning weapon," in your arsenal that would allow you to quickly understand scales and play licks and lines more easily (and faster) than you ever could before! In this video I’m going to show you exactly that. And, from here on out, your knowledge for scales will reach a whole new level...




If you've ever tried to write melody lines, or play a lead on the guitar, (without really knowing your scale patterns), then I'm sure that you've already discovered how difficult it can be to compose a melody without proper scale knowledge.

With a low-end ability for guitar scale knowledge, not only will your melodic composing suffer, but you'll also quite likely wind up getting yourself incredibly frustrated after attempting to do this work without a good knowledge of your scales across the neck.

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Memorizing Scales on the Neck:
You’ve probably tried learning all your scales at least once or twice, and maybe you’ve perhaps met with some 'not so great' results.

And, I understand that, learning scales is complicated and it can feel really crushing when you don’t exactly know how a scale operates and when you don’t have a clear cut way of keeping a scale clear in your mind.





If you want to achieve more results with what you’re playing, if you want a better ear, and if you want a better sense of neck awareness, there’s nothing that can beat learning how scales operate and how your notes are aligned on the neck.

So, if you need to learn this, we can actually do something about it. I’m going to give you a breakdown of 10 things that you can work on (starting right now), to be able to gain a better comprehension for scales on the neck!





1). Learn about the most popular guitar keys first. And, because (as guitar players), we play so often from the open 6th and 5th strings, my suggestion is to start with the key of “E” and also the key of “A.”

Learn those keys as a specific tonality (Major or Minor) and get them onto the neck right away by using a key signatures chart and the "Guitar Scientist" website.




2). Note mapping is best done using a limited range across the guitar fingerboard. For example; the key of “E” Minor has one sharp, the “F#.” You can easily begin this mapping study by simply drawing out those notes on the neck within a 5 fret-range.

And, I’d suggest that doing this type of an exercise is a perfect chance for once again using the “Guitar Scientist” website.

5-Fret "E Minor" Note Map:



3). Once you’ve established a scale, you’ll want to work on it in pieces. One goal I would suggest is to never become over-whelmed with learning scales and learning the neck. Think slow, steady, daily progress.

This means take a section of your guitar neck, and study those notes in small areas.

You can go back to your layout on the Guitar Scientist website and start your study for this - by using limited octave range.



4). On the guitar, you’ll want to begin by developing your technique and your muscle memory for the scale segment you’ve chosen. Start slowly, and focus on committing the scale section to memory. Once memorized, begin working up some speed so that you technically start to feel a little more stable with the scale section.

Play the scale pattern with a metronome at different; durations, (quarter, eighth, sixteenth's).





5). The next stage of learning your scale is to start taking the scale segment that you’re working on, and play it laterally all over, all across the guitar neck keeping it on the same strings.

This will accomplish two things.

First, you’ll become more focused on the pattern itself, (no matter where that pattern is played on the neck).

And, the second thing is that this will help your left and right hand feel so that no matter where you play this shape on the neck, the left and right hand coordination will start feeling very connected, and very well-balanced.

Play the scale shape lateral along the span of the neck.

6). The next stage of learning your scales on the neck involves another level of technical control. But, this topic even goes beyond that.

What we’re going to practice next is called scale sequencing. A scale sequence is a mathematical note pattern using the degrees of the scale.

One of the easiest to learn is called the “Diatonic 3rds” sequence.

Here’s how a diatonic 3rds sequence works… 



7). The next area of study will involve expanding the working area of the neck within the scale that you’re practicing. And, one of the best ways to do this involves becoming fully aware of the unison tones for the scale that you’re working on.

So, let’s head back to the Guitar Scientist website to expand upon that “E” Minor scale segment we had, so that we can begin learning some new places to play scale notes by applying unison tones on the neck.

Expanded Range (new neck area):



8). Listening skills will be our next area. Once you start doing this, you’ll be amazed at how far this will go toward helping you memorize not only the scales on the neck, but also how they sound to your ear.

And, this work is actually very easy to do because it only involves listening and matching pitch to the sound of the scale tones as they move within a selected range.

So, what we’ll do is use that new scale range up at the 5th string’s 7th fret, and we’ll do some playing and pitch matching through singing along with each scale degree.

Play and sing the scale segment located from 5th-string seventh fret.
 






9). The next area that I want to focus on is to start using the scale to do some loosely structured composition with.

Now, this topic is often referred to as, “Noodling.” And that’s a great way to describe it really, because all we’re doing is experimenting with testing our way through notes, finding passages to connect with, so that we can begin getting a feel for the scale and what it’s truly capable of.

To do this, you don’t need backing tracks or anything other than your creativity and your imagination…

Use both scale segments (2nd and 7th position) to practice doing "Noodling."

10). The final practice topic that I want to complete this discussion on is the idea of taking the scale (that’s being worked on), into a direction of a much more serious melodic approach, in where there’s a composition that gets worked out.

This idea revolves around creating a composed idea that eventually will lead toward a final goal of improvisation.

This means that we need to become focused with the scale in a practice direction that has a goal of first creating a melody line, and then using that melody as a springboard to create some improvised lines as well. 

Example Jam:

Here’s how this would operate...
  • 1. Create a simple jam-track in a key (E minor) 
  • 2. Record your jam on a looper pedal 
  • 3. Play it back and compose a worked out melody 
  • 4. Use the melody to start testing out some improvisation




CONCLUSION:
If you want to develop your awareness of scales on the neck, your skill for playing them, and your technical control for using scales up to a really high level of ability, then taking a scale through these ten steps will go a long way to helping you completely develop them.

The first thing you’ll need to realize is that this is going to take quite a bit of time to be able to get down. Mainly due to the work involved of making it through all of the keys.

In this video we only did a general overview with our work using the key of “E” Minor. Of course, there’s a lot more work that could be done on that key.

And then, there’s all of the other keys of both major and minor plus there’s the modes, and other scale variations. It’s a lot to cover, but over time things will start to work out and you’ll be able to use your scales on the guitar at a really high level of performance.


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How to Start Fingerpicking (in 4 Moves!)

If you have poor right-hand (pluck hand) fingerstyle playing posture, you won't be able to accurately play fingerstyle guitar, (and you'd likely welcome an easy way to fix it). There's nothing worse than feeling like you can't properly hit notes as a guitarist, and this video will help you fix that!...




In this video, I’m going to show you a "4 step plan" that can repair the most common fingerstyle playing posture flaws to give you a nice, accurate, smooth feeling pluck-hand playing posture sooner than you think.

I’m going to show you how to hit correct notes all the time, develop the best flow to your music, and fix up your sense of timing as well.

When you apply the easy drills shown here, you will start to feel better about your fingerstyle guitar playing almost instantly. Plus, these drills will work towards permanently fixing your bad fingerstyle playing habits once and for all.

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We’re talking all about fingerpicking in this post. And, if you’ve had trouble trying to develop fingerpicking – if you’ve maybe found it too difficult maybe too complicated, then you are going to LOVE this lesson.

For a lot of guitar players out there, (who’ve tried and possibly given up at learning fingerpicking), the reason for your bad results (most commonly) tends to be your plucking hand’s posture.

If you don’t have that pluck-hand posture correctly set up, then you’re going to experience a lot of trouble reaching some good high level fingerpicking performance.

And, that bad posture… it won’t just hold you back, it might even cause you to give up learning how to fingerpick all together.





1). PLUCK-HAND POSTURE:
The first thing we want to do is work on establishing the best possible hand posture. To really get this to work, we need to look at some of the world’s finger-style masters, (which are generally the classical guitarists).

We need to examine how a master player like the legendary Andrés Segovia plucks, or how the very distinguished Christopher Parkening has his hand when fingerplucking, or how the world-renowned Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia had his fingerpicking hand posture.

Andrés Segovia:




If we were to examine the best of the best we'd start to notice that they all share a common trait in how their plucking hand posture is established.

And, in order to learn how to get your own fingerplucking hand results up to a really high level… your first move is to start duplicating the hand posture of the greats, because in doing that, you’ll also (over time) start to DUPLICATE their results…

Posture Explained:




2). DEVELOPING ACCURACY
Once you begin to develop your hand posture you’re well on your way to bigger and better things. So, the next move you need to make is to get acquainted with an accuracy exercise.

The exercise that I’m about to show you is easy enough to start doing right away, so you can add it into your daily studies and it’ll immediately help you with getting a more automatic sense for where the strings you need to pluck are located.

Plus, it will also help with developing a well executed feel for your hand position, (and doing this will lead you to the next level of fingerpicking skill).

Accuracy study:





3). DEVELOPING FLOW
The next move for developing your fingerpicking ability is your flow, (also often referred to as your feel, or groove). 

This area of fingerpicking is all about doing some heavy investing into gaining that capacity notice and to also control the feel of the phrasing while maintaining the feel for the beat in time.

Plus, it also involves becoming more tuned in to what happens technically as you’re working to master a part that you’re learning.

To help you begin gauging some higher level dexterity for this, we’re going to slightly modify the exercise that we just performed back in the accuracy section.


Flow Development Exercise:






4). DEVELOPING FLUIDITY
The last move that I’d like you to work toward developing is the skill of becoming very fluid with what you’re performing.

This is something that can only be taken care of with a metronome, (or some other time keeping device, like a sequencer, or a drum machine), and (of course) a lot of repetitive practice.

The trick to nailing this part of your guitar playing is getting into the habit of setting aside a daily practice routine.

Within your routine, you need to establish a series of exercises (and eventually musical pieces), that will help you to gain a higher level of fluid movement when you’re performing anything that you have set aside as a fingerstyle accomplishment for your playing.

So, let me help get things started in this department with a short, repetitive scale exercise.

Developing Fluidity:



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