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String Pair Pentatonic Exercise

This guitar lesson will cover using string pairs to go up and down the fretboard with the five pentatonic scale shapes. Using string pairs to go through scale shapes is a great way to start playing up and down the fretboard instead of just staying in one position to play your pentatonic scales. It is a good idea to learn all five shapes for your pentatonic scales before you try to play something like this. If you don’t know all five shapes, this exercise is still a good workout for both of your hands. This exercise is in the key of C major. We have provided you with the notation and tab for the example.

Let’s start out by going over the picking on the right hand. It is important to pay attention to the up and down-stroke indicators in the tab. If you don’t see an up or down-stroke symbol then you should hammer-on or pull-off that note depending on whether you are ascending or descending. If you look carefully you will notice that every time you change which string you are playing on, you start that string with a pick stroke. Every time you pick a note you should be alternating up and down strokes. So, if the last pick stroke you used was a down-stroke, the next one should be an up-stroke. Even though there are a lot of legato parts to this exercise you should still keep your alternate picking going.

Another thing that you should be aware of when playing this exercise is the sliding that is used to shift to the next pentatonic pattern. Look at the second measure in the example. The slash between the 5 and the 8 indicates that you should slide from the 5th to the 8th fret. When you play the 5th fret on the 1st string with your 4th finger, you will need to slide up to the 8th fret. This will set you up to play the next pentatonic shape.

You don’t always have to use just the 1st and 2nd strings to go through the pentatonic scales up and down the fretboard. Try using any other two strings to go through all five pentatonic shapes all the way up and down the neck. Applying this idea to all of the string pairs will help you to understand how to work your way up and down the neck. Try applying this idea to your major and minor scales too. Exercises like this will help you get used to playing up and down the fretboard instead of just staying in the box shaped scale patterns.