Pentatonic Riffs and Solo Ideas

The pentatonic scale is a multipurpose scale, and it can be used effectively for creating riffs, or as a soloing tool. FIGURE 15-1 shows a riff based completely on the A-minor pentatonic scale. Notice how only the bottom five notes are used—making for a catchy lick.

As a soloing tool, no scale has had more use than the minor pentatonic scale. FIGURE 15-2 shows a typical looping lick used by many players. It includes a bend with some string skipping through an E-minor pentatonic scale.

A sequence refers to a pattern; or an order in which to play a scale. We can apply a sequence to a scale with some very cool results. Using a D-minor pentatonic scale based on a sequence, you can make a long sequential lick, as shown in FIGURE 15-3. Eric Johnson is famous for these kinds of lines.

FIGURE 15-4 uses a G-minor pentatonic scale spanning the entire neck, played solely on the first two strings. This is also an effective way to take the scale out of its “box” and stretch it across the neck.

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