Sick Licks: Crazy Combination of the Whole Tone, Diminished and Pentatonic Scales

I'm using a pretty crazy combination of scales in this Sick Lick. We start with the whole tone scale then move into the diminished and finish with the pentatonic.

When I'm combining scales, I always base it around the pentatonic scale. As in, even though I might be using many different scales, I tend to focus the solo or lick around the pentatonic. Basically, I use it like my road map! This gives me the comfort of knowing that at any part of the lick I can quickly switch back into the pentatonic scale if I feel I'm getting too far away from the tonal core of the idea.

To give you an example: At the start of this lick, I'm using a whole-tone five-string sweep. What I'm actually focusing on is what box of the pentatonic scale does this arpeggio run through; in this case, it runs through the third box of the pentatonic scale.

You may think this is pointless, but I assure you it's not. I do this so that when I'm moving in and out of scales, it doesn't sound disjointed. By focusing on the pentatonic, I can easily -- at any time -- switch back to it anywhere on the neck. This allows a very smooth transition. This is what all the great jazz or fusion players, such as Frank Gambale, do with such mastery!

I start this Sick Lick with a five-string arpeggio using the whole tone scale; from here I move the same pattern up a tone and play the same shape arpeggio again before moving into the diminished scale. The three-finger tapping section is what I move into next. I'm using the diminished scale for this section. The arpeggio that I actually tap is the same shape as the arpeggio that I hammer with my right hand.

From here I switch my hand to fret the guitar over the top and I play two five-string arpeggios starting on the A string. The two arpeggios are the same shape; all we're doing is moving the shape up three frets and playing the same thing.

The next section is where I switch my hand back to the normal fretting position. Remember to focus on the note the left thumb frets, as this note creates the pivot so we can swing our hand back to the normal position while still sounding a note.

I finish this lick with a combination of the diminished and pentatonic scale.

It's important to note that I'm not just randomly adding scales or notes. These are all thought out and based around a tonal center. This is why it works.

I hope you enjoy!

Feel free to join me on Youtube here.

Australia's Glenn Proudfoot has played and toured with major signed bands and artists in Europe and Australia, including progressive rockers Prazsky Vyber. Glenn released his first instrumental solo album, Lick Em, in 2010. It is available on iTunes and at Glenn was featured in the October 2010 issue of Guitar World and now creates "Betcha Can’t Play This" segments and lessons for GW. Glenn also has a monthly GW column, "Loud & Proud," which offers insight into his style and approach to the guitar. Glenn is working on a project with Ezekiel Ox (ex Mammal) and Lucius Borich (Cog), which is managed by Ted Gardner, ex-Tool and Jane's Addiction manager. The band has done pre-production on 22 tracks and is set to hit the studio and finish their first studio album. The album is set for release in 2012. Glenn also is working on the followup to his debut album; it, too, will be released in 2012.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49