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How to Use Open Chord-Based Pentatonic Scales to Improvise a Folksy Solo

Lesson description: This lesson grew out of my study of Dave Rawlings's endless tasteful fill playing. He has this magical ability to just float through the changes of the song, without ever overplaying, and yet never really doing any sort of repetitive pattern. Thinking about this led me to Clarence White and Jerry Garcia, both influences on Rawlings, who both also possess this ability.

What I observed about them is that they are all very comfortable with their open position pentatonic scales, and this is something us more rock-ish players tend to neglect. So, I composed a little solo that goes through some interesting changes as a way to work with this idea.

The principle is simple: on your major chords, you can use a major pentatonic with an added b3rd, and on your minor chords, you can use a minor pentatonic with an added b5th. It's a quite a guitar life hack!

Video version:

Format: Sibelius-created digital score with tabs & standard notation

Delivery: Tablature is available as convenient .pdf download, and my custom made backing track is included as a free extra! You'll find the download links on your checkout page and in your email. We encourage you to make a customer account when you check out, so all your future purchases can be found in one place.