Pentatonic Scales Drill in All Keys

Published on 26 January 2016
For more information from the source site of this video please visit: This is a sample video from the Secret Guitar Teacher website (see link above). It’s from the Secret Guitar Teacher's Gym section of the site and is pitched to intermediate students learning to improvise lead guitar. If you would like a copy of the printout please contact me via the Secret Guitar Teacher site at . Here’s the abridged transcript: In this gym session we are going to drill the pentatonic scales in five positions through 12 keys. Its important to say at the outset that the scope of this exercise extends from being applicable and useful to the relative beginner all the way up to being a great warm-up that pro lead guitarists use. Later we’ll be giving you some indication of how to approach the exercise yourself depending on your experience level. This session starts by assuming that you have already learnt the scale patterns and can play them one after another from memory. This lesson is about how to get the most out of drilling them. We start in the key of E. We play through the first position nice and steadily with an even rhythm. Then, as we get back towards the start we take note of where the pinky falls.. and then after completing that first position pattern we come back to that note but on our second finger. So, without missing a beat we launch into the second position. Same again with the transition into the third position .. little finger…fourth… fifth… Then as we get back to the start of the fifth position focus attention on this note here… that’s the key note … E …ask yourself which note is next in the chromatic scale … answer F so we start the next run on the low F… again without missing a beat… So, you can see that the main task is to get used to those transitions from one position to the next and from one key to the next. Practise that then have a go at drilling through as many keys as you can, based on each note of the chromatic scale.. E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D and D# Now unless your guitar has 24 frets then you will bump into the problem of running out of fretboard on the higher keys. For example in D# I can’t fit the fifth position in. In this case simply jump down an octave. OK, so have a go at practicing that and once you have got it going smoothly start working against the metronome. Depending on your level of experience you want to set yourself appropriate targets like this. So for a beginner or near beginner first aim to play through all five positions just in the key of E at 80bpm (1 note per beat). That would look like this: Then, without trying to speed up, expand the exercise to include keys of F, F#, and G. This level 2 target will help build stamina. Once you have achieved level two, speed up the metronome and aim to add a couple more keys to the sequence – that’s levels three and four. By level five we have worked up to 120bpm still at 1 npb, but we are now playing through all 12 keys. Let’s show you how that looks: If you are up to this level already by all means join in – if you’re not don’t hesitate to fast forward through the demo once you have got the idea. If there’s one thing more boring than playing scales its watching someone else play them! From here out we simply work up to greater and greater speed. Notice that by target 7 we start doubling the notes per beat, then quadrupling them. This is partly to save you being driven mad by the metronome and partly to help improve your own sense of timing. When you do that, remember the trick we showed you in an earlier Gym lesson – set the picking speed on the first note before you start. Let’s finish by demoing level 8 – 4 notes per beat at 60 bpm: Now that is pretty much as fast a speed as I feel I need to get these scales up to, to perform at the sort of level that I am used to gigging at. Levels 9 and 10 on the list are tough targets, but they’re there for the guys that really want to get up to shredding speed.