One key to becoming a more versatile blues soloist is learning to combine the minor pentatonic and major pentatonic scales to create guitar lines that go beyond the minor pentatonic scale. As a prerequisite to this lesson, you should have a basic understanding of the finger positionings for the minor pentatonic and major pentatonic scales, particularly the first and second positions of both scales.
I tap with my middle finger and begin this lick by flicking the string with the finger to get the sound going, doing a "phantom" pull-off to the A note at the fifth fret. I then play a sequence that goes "hammer, tap, pull" and repeats as I move across the strings, initiating the first note on each lower string with a "hammer-on from nowhere."
What we’re going to be doing today is drawing on this knowledge to learn how to combine the minor and major pentatonic scales to create patterns that give us a very unique and interesting sound. For this example let’s start off by running through the first position of A minor pentatonic starting on the fifth fret of the sixth string.
I begin in ninth position with a fairly compact shape that spans the ninth to 12th frets. At the end of bar 1 and moving into bar 2, the fret hand shifts down two frets and spreads out to cover a four-fret span, from the seventh fret to the 11th. Use your first, second and fourth fingers to fret the notes.
I start off with an Amaj7 arpeggio, beginning on the seventh, G#. The first three beats incorporate legato phrasing [hammer-ons and pull-offs used in combination]. I play a total of five notes using the "2-2" form [two notes per string]. I then move to a D augmented arpeggio with a #11, again using the 2-2 form but only playing a group of four notes this time.
If you treat each note of a chord as a different voice, paying attention to how each note transitions to the notes of the next chord, your playing will take on a new maturity. This is known as voice leading. Think of it as directing a choir on your fretboard rather than playing a series of shapes.
I start in the seventh-position B minor pentatonic box pattern with some string skipping and hybrid picking, using my pick-hand middle finger in conjunction with the pick. I hit the first note, on the low E string, with a down-stroke, hammer-on the second note, then pluck the third note, on the D string, with the middle finger, followed by another hammer-on.
On beat three of bar 2, I flip my fret hand over the neck and perform the arpeggios on top of the fretboard. Here, I use my thumb [indicated by the t in the finger prompts below the tab] to fret the low E [sixth string, 12th fret] so I can make the fret-hand transition over the neck without skipping a beat.
Welcome to part 6 of "Learning Mozart's 25th Symphony in G Minor." We are getting close to finishing this piece, which might sound surprising considering we have only learned four minutes out of the full 10-minute piece. However, don't worry, because there's going to be a lot of repetition between now and the end.
This video is bonus content related to the May 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.