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Go beyond the normal boundaries of the minor pentatonic scale with this lick

It always amazes me how far you can push the standard minor pentatonic scale. It's one of the first scales we all learn and - for most of us - is the basis for our soloing.

It's incredible to think that there are so many possibilities with just five notes! The options really are endless, and this should be your motivation. It doesn’t matter what's come before you - there are always plenty of ways to bring something new to the table with this scale.  

The secret to developing any scale for your soloing is to learn as many different techniques as possible. For instance, I'll draw on anything from jazz to country to rock, blues or fusion for inspiration. I then try to incorporate as many of those ideas into my playing as I can. 

As a player, it's always very important to practice out of your comfort zone, meaning that you should always be looking to challenge yourself. You don't have to master every style, but you should be open to learning from anyone and in any style.

The Lick

(Image credit: Glenn Proudfoot)

The techniques I'm using are a combination of legato, arpeggios and right hand tapping. The way I approach this lick is by joining two of the traditional pentatonic box shapes together. Be mindful of the fingering patterns, hammers and pulls here, as they're the key to making this lick flow. 

As we're using the pentatonic scale with a three note legato pattern, the stretches become quite extreme, especially in the lower positions of the guitar. It's important to keep your thumb centered behind the neck, as this will allow your fingers to really open up. 

The other thing to focus on are the transitions between techniques - the legato to the arpeggios, then the arpeggios to the tapping. It should be your goal to make these transitions as seamless as possible. 

My approach with a lick like this is to break it down into sections, the first being the legato, then the arpeggios and lastly the tapping section. I would practice each section separately and then work up the speed. From there I would focus in on the transitions and from there, put it all together! 

The other important thing to remember here is that you don't have to play this lick note for note, or play it as quickly as it is shown in the video. There's a ton of information here and no matter your skill level, there are plenty of ideas to draw from and incorporate into your own style. 

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy! 

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