Learn how to cover the entire fretboard with Joe Bonamassa’s soloing scale secret

Joe Bonamassa
(Image credit: Future / Jeff Fasano)

“I learned a lot of [scales] in blocks. So, when I play, my mind goes, I’m in this block‚ I’m in that block‚ I’m in this block‚ [pointing at different areas of the fretboard]; and then so on and so on. 

“I learned how to play in every key on every fret and that was a big thing. You find a lot of these extra notes‚ just in the process of moving down the neck.” 

Learn these five pentatonic scale shapes and, just like Joe Bonamassa, you’ll be able to improvise solos that cover the entire fretboard, thinking in blocks as you go. 

The most important thing to note is that all five shapes are the same scale; that’s why you are guaranteed to be in one key across the whole fretboard. Simply move each shape up one fret to play in Bb – move up another fret for B, and so on.

Building the chord sequence

TGR364 Joe Bonamassa Blues tip

(Image credit: Future)

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Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa is one of the world’s most popular and successful blues-rock guitarists – not to mention a top producer and de facto ambassador of the blues (and of the guitar in general).