I start this lick on the eighth fret of the high E string. You'll notice I'm combining two patterns of the pentatonic together, and I do it throughout the lick. As we are traditionally taught the pentatonic scale in the box form (or two notes per string), this will be a new way of thinking for some of you.
What I love most about this scale is that tonally there are no surprises for the listener; it is harmonically beautiful whether played fast or slow. Obviously, this particular lick is to be played with some speed, but if you break it down, you could use any line from it and lead into a bend or slide — and it would sound incredible.
Today, GuitarWorld.com presents the exclusive premiere of a new music video by Australian guitarist Glenn Proudfoot, a former Guitar World columnist who now writes the Sick Licks and Monster Licks lessons for GuitarWorld.com.
In this week's Monster Licks, I am — once again — pushing the boundaries of the minor pentatonic scale. The harmonic qualities of this scale really resonate with me. I know this may sound strange because this lick is played at high speed, but for me, the scale never looses its melodic beauty, no matter how fast or slow it’s played.
In the first installment of my new Monster Licks series, I'm going to take you through my extensive pentatonic lick library. These licks are the product of many years of hard work, and I'm glad to be sharing them with you! The straight (minor) pentatonic scale often gets overlooked when soloing. I find that most guitarists tend to head to the blues scale or other variations of the pentatonic because they find the straight scale a little limiting.
In this Sick Lick, I'm in the key of D minor, using a combination of scales: the pentatonic blues scale, diminished 7th scale and an augmented scale. I'm constantly searching for ways to convey power and aggressiveness while not straying too far from the tonal core of my playing. It’s not easy, and it's something I'm continually developing.
The diminished 7th scale is a great way to maneuver around the the guitar, especially when you adapt three string arpeggios. The shapes you can create have a fantastic flow and make it easy to move up and down the neck freely.
In this Sick Lick, I'm using the B diminished/augmented and B minor pentatonic flat 5 (blues) scales. This lick is based around the wide intervalic shapes that are created when combining the diminished and pentatonic. This style is very heavily influenced by Shawn Lane and his use of wide intervals to create runs.
For this Sick Lick, I'm using the A minor pentatonic and the A minor blues scale. I tend to find that the straight pentatonic gets forgotten about or is often substituted for the blues scale. Why? Because the blues scale sounds darker and more aggressive and is a common sound for rock and blues soloing. Having said this, the straight pentatonic scale is totally killer when used in the right way.
This Sick Lick is based around the E pentatonic scale and the diminished 7th scale. The more you explore the possibilities tonally with soloing, you slowly come to the realization that you can pretty much use any note on the fretboard as a passing note in any given key. Jazz guitarists are the masters of using passing notes. You can apply the same thinking and technique to rock soloing.