Guitar lesson on opening up the pentatonic scale

Click to hear the audio lesson from SoundCloud. See below for timings. Please share and tell all your guitar buddies 🙂

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In this lesson, Dan and I return to look at the Pentatonic scale and how it can be used over a Blues major shuffle or over a minor Blues progression. We look at a couple of notes which can be added for a different ‘flavour’ and be used to change the feel of your improvising. Here we add in first the tritone or flattened fifth note to play the Blues scale. Second we add in the major second or ninth note to play a hexatonic scale or the pedestrian minor scale.

There are a couple of backing tracks we use around 19 minutes and 29 minutes in.  The first is a Chicago Blues Shuffle Backing Track (E) and the latter is called Soulful Chill in Eminor, by Elevated Jam Tracks.  Concluding with some cud chewing about rhythm playing, we hope that this lesson has something of value in it, whatever your skill level.

Keep listening as we release more invaluable content over the next few weeks.

Personally, Dan and I have continued having our lessons over the lockdowns and while I get to grips with being a double-father. It has been pretty intense teaching in a Secondary school over the past couple of years with a baby / toddler and we have also had some incredibly disruptive work on our house; however, Dan and I have been discussing it though and we’re ready to start releasing our content again! We are utterly excited and happy to be doing so.

You can find Dan’s album on Spotify and other streaming music sites, like Apple Music (click the links to take you to his album ‘Flight’)

We have also had some interest from TrueFire and some other people and we are looking forward to exploring the courses and lessons which have been made available to us and developing this link in the oncoming weeks and months.

We are really hoping that your engagement and participation will be inspiring for us again, as it always was and we hope that you find our content useful.

Timings for the SoundCloud audio version:

00:01:40Dan’s album during lockdown – album on Spotify called Flight
00:02:26Introduction to the TrueFire Platform
00:02:54We will be hopefully making shorter and concise lessons
00:03:14What is the plan for our lesson today?
00:04:32How to get slightly away from the position 1 pentatonic box and give yourself a few more options to play
00:06:00Start with the pentatonic Em pentatonic in position 1
00:06:35Mirror on the octave position
00:07:03Change to the Blues scale by adding a Bb (b5)
00:08:08Why do people get locked into these patterns?
00:09:59Blues playing – minor over major chords
00:10:07Greg Koch – TrueFire video on Jeff Beck
00:11:18Let’s look at neutral notes
00:13:27What else is there that we can add to both a major or minor blues scenario?
00:14:21The b5 note is already playing outside the key as a deliberate tension or flavour
00:15:39Played on it’s own it sounds like Nine Inch Nails – Hurt
00:15:45Adding the second, F#, works in both a major and a minor scenario
00:17:09The octave up position with the F# added in
00:18:08This is called the hexitonal scale or the pedestrian minor
00:19:09Setting up the first backing track: Chicago Blues Shuffle Backing Track (E) (
00:19:37Soloing over the backing track with pentatonic position 5 only
00:20:40Now we use the Blues Scale (adding in the Bb note)
00:21:46Now the hexitonal – adding the F# or the major  second
00:22:51Put it all together – Blues and major second 
00:24:11The added F# changes the vibe quite drastically
00:24:49Play through the Blues note quite quickly as an inflection
00:25:26Nine Inch Nails use of the b5 and the Ace of Spades
00:26:35A standard track in Em rather than the major Blues Shuffle
00:27:57Interlocking pentatonic shape like a jigsaw on the fretboard
00:29:12Elevated Jam Tracks – Soulful Chill in Eminor (
00:32:16Follow down through the positions and keep your rhythmic intent
00:33:26Following rhythmic play through the scales
00:35:31A simple way to increase interest in a pentatonic scale by adding the F# note
Please use the timings to visit and revisit this episode

Last ten lessons for new arrivals or those who want to brush up on this content

Curt Mangan Strings / Website:

And 9 of our older videos – a format we are veering away from to focus on our audio podcast releases.


Keep watching, listening and getting in touch.  We really want to hear from you!

You may want to check Dan Davies out in action.  You can find Dan’s album on Spotify and other streaming music sites, like Apple Music (click the links to take you to his album ‘Flight’)

Enjoy your musical journey and be in touch!

Gary and Dan

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