Guitars Most Important Pattern (The Frying Pan Shape)

How would you like to learn a guitar scale pattern on the neck that I use almost every time I play guitar? That's correct, pretty much every time! This scale pattern concept is applied every time I play in minor or major pentatonic scales, but I have yet to find a comprehensive easy to follow explanation of this idea elsewhere... 

This information may not be new, because it can be taken out of all kinds of other lessons on pentatonic scales. The thing is, I have never seen this specific idea presented in a simple and logical way.

This lesson will focus on playing the Minor Pentatonic Scale over several octaves using a combined vertical and lateral approach and it will give you an ability with the scale that you can go forward with to make your first major steps in more lateral improvising and soloing on the fingerboard.

The idea of extending the pentatonic scale along and across the neck involves linking together more than one scale shape along the span of the fingerboard. This will help to form a series of linked shapes that will allow players to move more rapidly along the fingerboard.

The process will allow players to begin from anywhere on the instrument and move more quickly along the neck with access to more notes than we have available within only one position.

Example 1). This shape is the most popular pentatonic shape known to guitar players.

There's no questioning that the shape shown above is both good and valuable because it can be so easy to memorize and apply for making up solos. However, it is within a position vertically and this makes it somewhat limiting, (since we run out of room so fast).

To gain easier access to more notes of the Pentatonic scale, our best plan would be to learn to extend the notes of this scale more horizontally along the neck. However, due to the amount of overlapping notes when moving pattern to pattern, the connections of these shapes can become overwhelming very quickly.

Once you do learn how to play more lateral shapes for the pentatonic and when you understand how it can be stretched along the neck in an "across the frets" fashion, you will not only have more access to notes, but you will be able to perform longer more flowing scale runs and more lengthy guitar licks laterally across the fingerboard.

But, the question becomes, how can you easily learn to apply a more lateral pentatonic layout along and across the neck?

The easiest approach to take in learning to cover more ground using an along the neck lateral pentatonic scale concept is what I've nicknamed over the years as the "Frying Pan" shape. It's fun, it's easy to understand, and after you do this once, you'll never forget it for the rest of your life!

Start by imagining what a frying pan would look like as if it were to be superimposed upon a guitar fingerboard diagram. I know it sounds goofy, but trust me on this.

Example 2). Frying pan visualization exercise...

Now think of "tracing over" the frying pan shape with a series of notes taken from the Minor Pentatonic scale...

Example 3). Pentatonic scale (low register position) key of "A Minor."

This shape is the first in a series that can be repeated up through three octaves. That's a lot of distance across the neck when soloing. As long as you hold the "frying pan" shape in your mind, you'll be able to carry on across all of the other areas of the fingerboard with ease!

Example 4). Re-locating the "frying pan" shape to a mid-range octave in the same key

The new fingerboard area and octave range uses the exact same frying pan scale shape and allows us access to a new area of the guitar neck with the same fingerboard geometry. have a run through the notes found in example five below.

Example 5). Pentatonic scale (mid register position) key of "A Minor."

And, to extend the range of the pentatonic scale pattern even further, we can extend our layout by yet one more frying pan!

Example 6). Re-locating the "frying pan" shape to a higher-range in the same key

The scale patterns are all identical and follow the visualized shape of the frying pan. It's so easy to play through the patterns because they are so easy hold in your memory. All it takes is one try and you've nailed it for life. Once you've practiced your fingerings and technique, you can move on to playing a few licks and even your first "frying pan solo."

Example 7). The upper register pentatonic scale shape

Now that we've organized all of the frying pan layouts and how they connect back to the Minor pentatonic scales, it's time to learn how everything connects together as one complete fingering shape on the neck.

The shapes can be connected and applied as one complete layout on the neck for solos or when creating melody lines. I'd suggest making a study of one frying pan shape at a time, then slowly combining them. Once all of them are committed to memory, the entire shape will come together as the pattern shown in example eight.

Example 8). The entire layout of an, "along the neck extended pentatonic." Key of "A Minor."

This shape can work for any key and can also operate off of the 5th string. All that you'll need to do is spend some time working on the new layouts. Once you commit them to memory, try working with the shape in Major Pentatonic. You'll need to reorganize the layout for the Major keys, but it won't take you long to notice how the shape changes to produce major tonality.

This pattern will work fantastic for playing lead or for composing worked out guitar melody lines. One things for sure, you'll use this idea nearly every time that you play a guitar solo.

Guitars Most Important Pattern "The Frying Pan"



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