Skip to main content

Send your blues into overdrive with this fully tabbed lesson on Joe Bonamassa’s blazing pentatonics

Want to shred pentatonics on electric guitar like Joe Bonamassa? Of course you do! And guitar instructor Juan Antonio is here to show you how.

In this lesson, appropriately titled Joe Bonamassa’s Blazing Pentatonics, Antonio demonstrates several JoBo techniques that will get your shred up to speed.

But before that happens, Antonio points out, “The first thing I want to mention is if you’re going to sound a lot like Joe Bonamassa you don’t only want to get to the blazing pentatonic runs – you want to begin with a solid blues phrasing type of base.

“That’s going to mean studying your vibrato, studying your bends and more importantly, studying some blues-oriented-style phrasing.”

(Image credit: Juan Antonio)

As far as tackling the runs, Antonio begins by demonstrating phrases played in four-, five- and six-note groupings, which he outlines in both vertical and horizontal fashion.

He also displays what he calls “2-3 extended pentatonic” patterns, “extended pentatonics with movements” and “wind-up licks.”

Finally, he puts it all together. Doing this, Antonio explains, is “going to give you a sound that’s not so symmetric or mathematical like a lot of the more rock-based players.

“It’s going to sound a little asymmetrical because you can start blending groups of four and five or six in there and it’s going to start moving along the rhythm. It’s not going to be as predictable."

(Image credit: Juan Antonio)

Antonio wraps up the lesson with a final piece of advice – to use a bit of pentatonic weaving, which he defines as “mixing the pentatonic scale with another type of diatonic scale.”

He explains, “In the case of Joe Bonamassa, you can mix it with either Dorian or Mixolydian.

In this specific case I’m doing the pentatonic scale with an added natural ninth.”

You can check out the JoBo lesson in full above, and for more from Juan Antonio head over to his official YouTube channel (opens in new tab).

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

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.