Blues Guitar Institute

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A Quick Lick to Help You Connect Pentatonic Boxes

Lesson ID: TB005

Pentatonics are tricky little devils.

On the surface, it’s hard to fathom that five little notes could give guitarists so much pleasure and yet, at times, so much pain.

A well-placed pentatonic lick is golden. Not having a clue how to dance outside the trusty pentatonic boxes is not.

Unfortunately, many of us get caught in the pentatonic box trap. You know the one?

You are super comfortable playing – even improvising – in box one, but the minute you want to venture out the fretboard seems like a minefield.

VIDEO: E Pentatonic (Mostly) Lick That Connects 3 Pentatonic Boxes

In this video lesson, I show you an example of a lick in E that connects three pentatonic box patterns on the fretboard into one flowing lick.

We start up in the 3rd pentatonic box and work backwards through pattern two down to pattern 1.

Check out the video to get this one under your fingers.

Boxes Aren’t Scales

The lick itself is fun to play and it’s worth adding to your repertoire.  But there is one key concept at play here that is worth highlighting.

Hopefully, a lick like this will get you thinking about your scales a little differently.  Scales exist all over the neck and that’s a prime reason why I’ve been practicing my scales on one string lately.

Click here if you’d like to read more about this one-string approach to scales.

The pentatonic box patterns are good for building up muscle memory in familiar note sequences, but remember that these boxes aren’t the only way to learn scales. They are just one method of practicing pentatonics.

Don’t get me wrong, I practice my box patterns too. I just make sure to throw in the one string scale method to reinforce the idea that scales are all over the neck. Not just in neat little disjointed boxes.

How about you? Do you practice pentatonics in the box patterns, one-string or not at all?

Let me know in the comments section below.

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