Advanced Pentatonic Lessons 11-15


Advanced Pentatonic Lesson 11


If you are familiar with the positions of the Blues scale and the Major Pentatonic scale you are aware of the idea that the notes of the scale found anywhere on the fretboard are still part of the same scale. In other words, take the notes of our scale , G A Bb B C Db D E F G, you can find these notes anywhere on the fretboard. And, they will still be the same scale regardless of where they are on the fretboard or what octave they are in.

The Positions are just a way of learning where all the notes are in a comprehensive manner. The Positions form all the notes of the scale across the length of the fretboard into groups of notes. They create what we call Positions, Patterns, Boxes, Formations, CAGED, etc… that we use commonly in describing how to play a scale across the fretboard length-wise. The Positions are also useful to help memorize the scale across the fretboard.

And even though the Positions create more “Boxes” they all contain the same notes and also show us how to look at all of these Positions as one big scale and someday leave the Positions idea behind. But for learning scales on the fretboard, the Positions are important in our quest to memorize and learn them as one big scale.

I’ve included all the Postions of the G Minor and Major Pentatonic, and the Blues Scale across the fretboard. Notice how each Position over laps with the Position above and below it. It’s good to explore each of the Positions individually and then as one big scale. There are a lot of classic moves that fit nicely related to the Position they are played in. Then it’s good to take the things you know from one Position and move it to another Position. This will help eliminate any intimidation they cause you and help you use each new Postion as well as the Positions you are familiar with. Plus, once you start using the unfamiliar Positions more you will gain confidence across the fretboard lengthwise as opposed to Position-wise.

The diagrams show the Minor Pent, then the Blues scale (which is actually the Minor Pent with a b5 added), then the Major Pent scale which you can see is completely different than the other two scales, and then I‘ve shown the Super-Imposed scale across the fretbard, which contains all the three previous scales.

I did not include any Position makers for the G Super-Imposed scale. You can do that on your own if you wish but you will see when you do it that the Positions will have larger overlaps than the other scales, and some of the Positions can be strung across six frets to get them correct. It can make things more confusing I believe.

When experimenting with the Super-Imposed scale you can consider playing any note on the fretboard except for the M7, b9, and #5.

In the G Super-Imposed scale these three notes are F#, G#, and D#.

Common practice is to think of it as a chromatic scale and just omitting those three notes. But, you will see in up coming lessons that these three notes also have a place in your “musical vocabulary”. So, essentially a chromatic scale works, but in these lessons we are really dealing with the Minor to Major movement and to get your ears keen to that. It’s the sound that’s important. So, don’t worry about the Chromatic scale just yet. We still need to define the important sounds of the Dorian and Mixolydian modes first…all in due time.

It’s a good time for you to start looking at this scale across the fretboard. As the lessons proceed, we’ll be venturing into the other area of the fretboard.


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Advanced Pentatonic Lesson 12


This lesson shows a tune that is pretty much out of the Super-Imposed scale. The tune is “In the Mood”, yep the one by Glenn Miller.

This example shows a use for the Super-Imposed scale in Jazz.

The intro is played in the G Super-Imposed scale in the first pattern we’ve learned and have been using all along in these lessons. But, it also spreads the scale out to a lower position. So the intro covers notes between the open strings and the 5th fret.

And, the first slide in the intro is there to emulate sound of a horn. You can incorporate other slides into this lick to give it even more of a horn sound, so experiment with them.

In the verse of the song, it plays a very common motif that includes the root, M3, and 5th of each chord being played. This is similar to a past lesson where the lick moved with the appropriate chord. In the verse the melody spells out each chord.

The chords at the end are a good example of three note chords that are plain a day easy to see when you look at the G Super-Imposed scale. You can see they are buried within our scale. This opens another exploration of the Super-Imposed scale…chords. Ahhh, we’ll be digging in deep on that later.

Wait, what’s that note during the intro at the 2nd fret of the E string?…it’s F#, the M7 of the G chord. That’s not in our scale, that’s forbidden fruit for these Pentatonic scales. But wait…This note does work against the G major chord. It’s an Interval in the G Major Scale, not G Major Pentatonic, but the Major Scale starting on G.

Also, F# is also a note in a D Major chord, which is a chord that can be built from the G Major scale. And, the D chord is a common chord we find in a lot of songs/progressions we play in the key of G Major…right?

As far as Pentatonics goes, this note doesn’t have a place, but as far as the G Major chord goes, it does. There will be more examples down the road that include this note. But, experiment with it in your improvisation and you’ll find other places it fits. You’ll find it works nice placed between the Root and 5th as in “In the Mood”, you’ll also find it works great moving from Root, M7, b7 against a Dominant 7 chord and sometimes a Minor chord. Again, we will look at some of these moves in other lessons.

Yeah, know, my playing sucks, just trying to get too much done at once.


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Advanced Pentatonic Lesson 13


This is another example played between the open strings and the 5th fret.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Albert Lee on this one. This has a focus on small groups of chromatic tones, the minor to major movement, and chord tones/arpeggio notes.

You can really see the power of the Super-Imposed scale on this one.

This gets the fingers twisted at first but this style slips and slides in just about any kind of music.

It’s the slides, hammer-on’s, and pull-off’s that really make it swing.

The fingering is up to you but I start by using the third, second, and first finger, respectively, on the opening chromatic run on the B string, then I use my second finger for the slide on the G string, then the first finger for the 3rd fret of the B string. At this point my hand and is pretty much in the position of playing the first position of the G Blues scale.

Have fun!


Audio for Lesson 13



Advanced Pentatonic Lesson 14


This example is played in the same area as the last few examples, between the open strings and the 5th fret. But, it extends things a little higher up to the 7th fret. So, this is covering the area between the nut and the 7th fret.

And, again this is in the style of Albert Lee. But, it will fit many styles of music if you phrase it to fit other styles.

In the tab, I broke this example into three sections. The first section is in an area you should be familiar with, the second section is a chromatic series of 6th Intervals landing on the b7 of the G7 chord (more on this below), the third section is  similar to the last lesson, it’s not exactly the same but similar.

The second section incorporates two notes that are not in the G Super-Imposed scale, the #5 (D#) and the M7 (F#). Once again displaying these notes that aren’t in the scale do have a place at times.

If you look at just the notes on the D string, you’ll see we are moving chromatically from G to F# to F, or Root, M7, b7 respectively.

If you look at just the notes on the A string, you’ll see we are moving chromatically from E to D# to D, or M6, #5, 5 respectively.

The little move is something I picked up years ago from a Steve Lukather solo, maybe Rosanna or Hold The Line, or maybe it was Larry Carlton.

Try each of these chromatic movements individually on each string by themselves. I know the Root, M7, b7 is used quite a bit in Blues solo’ing. I’ve never tried the M6, #5, 5 movement on it’s own but I’m sure is works. Give it try.


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Advanced Pentatonic Lesson 15


Yet another chicken-pickin’ fest.

I broke this tab into two sections only for learning purposes. It works almost as two individual lick tied together.

The beginning starts out with almost a banjo-type chromatic run/sound up and down, with a Root note thrown in the middle. It then continues with a series of common open string moves, which includes a passing tone move from the M7 into the Root (F# to G). Then it ends with an arpeggio into the final Root note.

Try moving all of this up a whole-step to the A Super-Imposed scale, this is tricky but doable. It will really get your fingers rolling, and it will prove how great Albert Lee’s technique is cause he can play this kind of stuff at the drop of the hat, anyway on the fretboard.

Have fun!


Audio for Lesson 15