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Technique Rules! - June 2001
As I announced before, today I will give you some exercises involving pentatonic scale. It's based on the "two notes per string" minor pentatonic scale patterns that I presented last time. We will now form groups of six notes from this pentatonic scale and move them "upward" from low E6 string to high E1 starting from every string and vice versa (Downward from high E1 to low E6).
You can do this using alternate picking or pull-off / hammer-on approach. For alternate picking always start with a down stroke. This work best no matter if you are playing this "6 note" lick from E6 or E1 direction.
The pull-off / hammer-on version is a little different. I'll make the analysis of this approach on one group of 6 notes - which later repeats. We basically have 6 notes played on 3 strings and we divide them in 2 notes per string, right? So if you play it from E6, through A, to D string using "hammer-ons" every first note out of the 2 per a string will be picked and the other one "hammered". Those "picked' notes I play in the manner: downstroke (E6), downstroke (A), upstroke (D). Going in the opposite direction from E1 through B to G string the picking would be: downstroke (E1), upstroke (B), upstroke (G).
This is one of my favorite licks for building up a "pentatonic style" technique. I'll be using a lot of those on my next Shrapnel album. This one is also in the "vocabulary" of some of my favorite guitarists like: John McLaughlin, Eric Johnson, Zakk Wylde, … to name a few. So check it out!
P.S. The tab is showing you how I shift this exercise from one A minor pentatonic pattern to another on the example of given two patterns. Add by yourself the other patterns that I gave in the previous April 2001 "Techniques Rules!" and play them in the manner I did in the "Across the neck MP3" of this month's column. By the way I tuned my ESP "Vintage Plus- Strat" (which you can hear me playing in this sample) to E flat.
Tab For This Month's Technique Rules