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Add some "outside" color to your pentatonic licks with this cool chromatic concept

Guitar instructor Juan Antonio has shown us how to master Joe Bonamassa’s blazing pentatonics and Eric Johnson's Koto technique, and now he’s back with another pentatonic hack.

In this lesson, he tackles a cool “outside chromatic pentatonic” concept he learned from classical and electric guitar player, composer and instructor Andre Nieri.

“The concept is a simple one that consists in moving the pentatonic scale either up or down a half step and then resolving the line back to the original tonality,” Antonio explains.

“The best part of the specific topic is the way Andre applies groups of notes within the pentatonic scale to create a cascading feel. This can be then applied to any note grouping of your choice.”

As Antonio demonstrates in the video, “the cool thing I learned from Andre is the actual type of application. What he does is he creates a grouping of notes, so this opens the door to doing groups of threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens… whatever type of grouping of notes that you might want to do or that you might already be doing. Then you just apply a subtle movement either to the left or the right of your scale and come back.”

He concludes, “It’s a fairly simple kind of concept, but something really cool, because you can apply type of note groupings that you already know from the pentatonic scale. Just move it up or down a half step.”

To try it out for yourself, check out the video above and the tab below.

(Image credit: Juan Antonio)

(Image credit: Juan Antonio)
Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.