Guitars OTHER Most Important Pattern - The "Toothbrush" [MAJOR]

How would you like to learn another guitar scale pattern on the neck that I use almost every time I play guitar? I'm not joking - I use this one pretty much every day! 

This scale pattern concept is applied nearly every time I rip out a lead in a major key. Plus, it's easy to learn and you'll be playing solos with it the first time you test drive it on the guitar neck... 

Perhaps some of you have seen my popular YouTube lesson that I rather strangely titled, "The Frying Pan Shape"...? If not, click here to watch it and to study the lesson plan you can jump to my blogger post.

That lesson used a fun method for getting players to focus on using the Minor Pentatonic Scale over several octaves applying a combined vertical and lateral approach. And, the feedback from you all was absolutely spectacular. You guys loved it. Right on! That's great, I glad it helped so many of you.

Using these scales in a combined lateral approach can allow any guitar player - regardless of skill level - to quickly move forward and make those initial steps toward performing improvising and soloing all across the fingerboard.

But, the "Frying Pan," shape covered a "Minor" key concept. What can be done about solos in "Major Keys?"  A lot of you were asking if there was a way to make the "Frying Pan" into a Major Scale format. And, guess what... There is!

In our first lesson on this "across the fingerboard" minor pentatonic sclae concept, we had discussed how the "along the neck" use of a Minor Pentatonic can be made even more simple by using a "Frying Pan" shape to "View" a moveable Minor Pentatonic all along and across the guitar.

In that lesson, the idea of extending the Minor Pentatonic scale along and across the neck involved linking together more than one scale shape along the span of the fingerboard. 

If you studied that lesson you noticed how easily this will help to form a series of linked shapes that will allow any guitar player to be able to move more rapidly along the span of the fingerboard.

With that "Frying Pan," idea, the guitarist can begin from anywhere on the instrument and move very quickly along the neck with access to more notes than we would otherwise have available within only one fret position. And, the good news is that this can also be done in Major keys...

Example 1). The shape below is a very popular Major Pentatonic pattern that guitar players will tend to learn very early on.

There's nothing "wrong" with the shape shown above. It is certainly a good one. It's easy to memorize and it can be used to make up solos in Major keys. However, since it is within a fretting position (vertically) this makes it somewhat limiting, (since we run out of room so fast).

Just as we had done with the Minor Pentatonic, (the "Frying Pan Shape"), we can once again attain a much easier access to more scale tones of the Pentatonic scale by forming an extended series of tones. We can apply a similar scale pattern to the "Frying Pan," by understanding the Major Pentatonic more horizontally along the neck. 

If we try this using the common Major Pentatonic scales, the amount of overlapping notes (when moving pattern to pattern), can become overwhelming very quickly.

However, once you learn how to play more laterally, the pentatonic patterns can be stretched along the guitar in an "across the neck" fashion. 

This allows you to not only have more access to notes, but you will be able to perform longer more flowing scale runs (and more lengthy sounding guitar licks), all across the fingerboard.

Now, we've already done this with the Minor pentatonic, so the next question becomes, "how can we easily learn to apply a more lateral pentatonic layout along and across the neck using another one of the most popular scales in guitar playing...?" the Major Pentatonic.

The easiest approach to take in learning to cover more ground with "Major Pentatonic" is by using another along the neck lateral pentatonic concept. 

Thanks to a brilliant comment from YouTube viewer "Trematric," (off of the "Frying pan" video), I've gone with the Major Pentatonic nickname of the "Toothbrush" shape. Thanks Trematric!

Just like the "Frying Pan" title, it's fun, it's easy to understand, easy to remember, and similar in how after you do this once, you'll never forget it for the rest of your life!

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

Example 2). Toothbrush visualization exercise...

Now think of "tracing over" the toothbrush shape with a series of notes taken from the Major Pentatonic scale...

Example 3). Major Pentatonic scale (low register position) key of "G Major."

This shape is the first in a series that can be repeated up through three octaves. Once again, that's a lot of distance across the neck when soloing. As long as you hold the "toothbrush" 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 "toothbrush" shape to a mid-range octave within the same key.

The new fingerboard area, and octave range, uses the exact same toothbrush scale shape and allows us access to a new area of the guitar neck with the same fingerboard geometry. Study the note layouts shown in example five below.

Example 5). Pentatonic scale (mid register position) key of "G Major."

To extend the range of the pentatonic scale pattern even further, we can extend our layout by yet one more toothbrush!

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

The scale patterns are all identical and follow the visualized shape of the toothbrush. Just like the "Frying pan" shape, the "Toothbrush" shape makes it easy to play through the patterns because they are so easily held 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, "toothbrush solo."

Example 7). The upper register major pentatonic scale shape.

Now that we've organized all of the toothbrush layouts (and have learned about how they connect back to the Major pentatonic scales), it's time to learn how everything connects together as one complete fingering shape on the neck.

Again, (just like the "Frying pan" shapes), the "Toothbrush" shapes can be connected and applied as one complete layout on the neck for solos or when creating melody lines. 

Once again, I'd suggest making a study of one toothbrush shape at a time, and then slowly combining them. Once all of them are committed to memory, the entire inter-connected Major Pentatonic shape will come together for you as the across the neck pattern shown in example eight.

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

Similarly to the "Frying Pan," this shape can work for any key and can also operate off of the 5th string. All that you'll need to do to extend this idea is spend some time working on creating new scale pattern layouts. 

Once you commit them to memory, try working with the shape in Major keys. You'll need to reorganize the layout for the locations of the Major keys, but it won't take you long to notice how the shape changes to produce them along the neck.

This pattern (like the good ol' frying pan), will also work just as great 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 Major Key guitar solo.




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