Now welcoming Yvette Young to the JamPlay platform. Learn more about her unique style and talent, and be sure to Pre-Order her exclusive guitar course.

Discover   Pre-Order

Pentatonic Scales, Sequencing, and Lick Ideas (Guitar Lesson)


What are you waiting for? Get your membership now!
Chris Liepe

Pentatonic Scales, Sequencing, and Lick Ideas

Chris introduces the pentatonic scales as well as some of their basic applications.

Taught by Chris Liepe in Rock Guitar with Chris Liepe seriesLength: 19:35Difficulty: 2.5 of 5
This lesson can be considered to be a sort of introduction to pentatonic patterns and their basic uses. Pentatonics are such a huge part of guitar playing, and there are a ton of ways to apply them. In this lesson, we're going to get started by making sure you are comfortable with the 5 basic positions. Then, you will learn some pentatonic licks that utilize sequences.

Positioning and Fingering:
All of these scale positions exist primarily in a four fret grouping, so fingering should be fairly obvious. However, there are no concrete rules in terms of how a pentatonic scale should be fingered. After you have familiarized yourself with the scale position(s), use fingerings that make ergonomic sense. If your scale position deals with frets 2-5, but the first note in the sequence is played at fret 3, then the first finger will play all notes at the 2nd fret. The second finger plays notes at the 3rd fret. The third finger plays notes at the 4th fret and so on.

This rule is not a hard and fast 'must', and you'll see in my video demonstrations that I don't always stick to the rule. However, it is a great starting point. When it comes to practicing the provided sequence, use this fingering suggestion as a starting point. Keep in mind though that the sequence is really a great place to experiment with different fingerings.

Picking and Legato:
In the tab, you'll notice that I initially suggest that you pick every note unless otherwise indicated. Again, this is a great starting point, but you should EXPERIMENT! How does it sound and feel when picking only occurs during string transitions (only pick when you switch strings)? What happens if you try to play an entire descending position or sequence by only picking the first note and trying to handle the rest of the line completely with pull-offs?

Fragments:
One of the best ways to become musical with pentatonic scales is to take a part of one of the patterns and create a repetitive phrase out of it. Use a combination of legato, picked notes, bends etc. It's great to work with maybe two or three strings at a time when starting to come up with your own fragments. The lick I have included in the supplemental content section is a perfect demonstration of how to take part of a scale position and add some style to it. Learn this one, but don't stop! Take this lick as an example, and create your own ideas. Be sure to practice these ideas over backing tracks in different keys! Have fun! Leave questions!

Video Subtitles / Captions





Supplemental Learning Material

Select

Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


Brandon30Brandon30 replied on December 10th, 2015

I just think it would be great if instead of just showing a tab exercise that there would be a fingerboard view printout showing the notes in each position and showing how shifting the positions affects the keys. It is hard to understand simply by just watching a few brief examples/explanations.

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied on August 25th, 2015

I often wonder if i should shift or not shift when fingering scales. I end up doing it both ways!

klayton2000klayton2000 replied on April 9th, 2014

Enter your comment here.

klayton2000klayton2000 replied on April 9th, 2014

Very professional way to teach these lessons, thank you I've improving my playing a lot by taking this series.

photonphoton replied on July 12th, 2012

Chris, why don't you supply a fingerboard view showing the different positions you are going over. Its great to get used to the sheet music, but for general pattern shape, its easier for me when first learning, to see the structure on the fingerboard as well. Great Job.........

jdeandressijdeandressi replied on December 4th, 2011

Are these the Minor pentatonic scale positions and if so is there more than 5 or are these all the positions? Great lesson btw

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on December 7th, 2011

these can be major or minor depending on which note you call the root. If the root is "C" then you're playing Major pent, if the root is "A" then you're playing minor. Make sense?

GuitarLibManGuitarLibMan replied on December 3rd, 2011

Chris, great lesson and the comments cleared things up.

mathenmrmathenmr replied on November 28th, 2011

Are these the Major Pentatonic Scales or the Minor Pentatonic Scales? Or are they really the same thing? I'm confused.

creeglescreegles replied on September 27th, 2011

Hey Chris. On the Jimmy Page sequencing you don't show which notes should be hammered, pulled and picked. And you play it too fast in the video to be easily figured out.

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on September 28th, 2011

Sorry about that. One of the reasons I don't really cover this is because you can kind of make it what you want to. You can pick the whole thing to get a very percussive sound, or you can use hammerons/pulloffs to make it more smooth. Experiment and see what works best for your playing and phrasing. As a general rule, if I'm going for a smoother sound I just only pick when changing strings. This makes it rhythmically sound but I can play it smoother and faster over particular runs.

rarsenrarsen replied on May 27th, 2011

Hi Chris, Are these Penatonic scales, C major with relative Am scales, are those actually the 5 positions of the Am scale? Also, if I want to solo and mix minor with major, do I use Am and C scales or do I use Am and A major scales? Thanks for your help! Ron

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on September 28th, 2011

Hey Ron, you can use these positions over Am AND C Major. If you want to solo over A Major you'd need to move each position so that you were playing over F#m or A Major. To figure out where to move them, simply figure out where all the "C's" are in the original position placements and move them so that all the "C's" are A's. Hope this helps!

iemoriemor replied on March 31st, 2011

Thanks Chris , yes its becoming more clear

iemoriemor replied on March 30th, 2011

Hi Chris , love your lessons but im a little confused about the scale position . I thought where you start the scale determines what key you are in like the third fret sixth string makes it a G scale but in the video you say its a C scale , fifth fret sixth string your in the key of A , and so on , could you please clear this up for me thanks , Jim

Chris.LiepeChris.Liepe replied on March 31st, 2011

sure jim- where you start the scale actually has nothing to do with the key, but rather what notes you are playing and what chord or progression you are playing under them. For example: If I'm playing notes C, D, E, G and A over a C Major Chord, I'm playing a C Major Pentatonic Scale, even if I start with the G note. The scale positions shared in this lesson can be defined as a Major Pentatonic Scale if played over a C Major Chord, or a Minor Pentatonic if played over an A minor because C Major and A minor share the same key signature. Does this make sense?

Rock Guitar with Chris Liepe

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Instrumental Rock carries with it many creative aspects both in writing and playing. By the end of this series, Chris will have covered almost everything you will need to know to create and play your very own melodic instrumental rock piece, with emotion!



Lesson 1

Rock Essentials Introduction

Chris Liepe introduces his Phase 2 Rock Essentials lesson series. By highlighting specific instrumental rock styles and techniques, Chris will help you become a more melodically creative player.

Length: 3:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

3 on a String Scales

Chris Liepe starts off his Rock Essentials series with a lesson on 3 on a string scales. Utilizing 3, 4, and 6 note sequencing, Chris begins to dive into instrumental rock style phrasing and provides several...

Length: 37:00 Difficulty: 3.5 FREE
Lesson 3

Pentatonic Scales, Sequencing, and Lick Ideas

Chris introduces the pentatonic scales as well as some of their basic applications.

Length: 19:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Chord Numbering

Chris Liepe takes some time to explain chord numbering. Understanding how chords are built will only help in your overall knowledge of the guitar.

Length: 16:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

The CAGED System

Chris breaks down the CAGED system and its chord chemistry. He covers both major and minor chord forms.

Length: 35:06 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Sweep Picking

Chris digs into the sweep picking technique. He uses the C, A, and E forms introduced in the previous lesson to help with finger synchronization.

Length: 27:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Introduction to Modes

Chris moves on to the subject of modes. He explains where modes come from, how they sound, and how they are used.

Length: 30:04 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Modal Pentatonic Scales

This lesson demonstrates how to modify the old trusty 5th fret A minor pentatonic position to make it sound modal.

Length: 10:30 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Modal Chord Progressions

How do you know which mode to use? There are giveaways with every chord progression, and Chris covers them in this lesson.

Length: 17:12 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Complete Major / Minor Scale Using Penatonic Scales

Chris demonstrates how to complete the major and minor scale by using pentatonic positions based on the roots of the I, IV, and V chords.

Length: 14:52 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Melodic Development

Chris Liepe utilizes everything he has taught in the series so far to demonstrate how to create catchy lead lines over a backing track.

Length: 15:30 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Implied Tonalities

Chris Liepe delves into the world of implied tonalities. This lesson details how a single arpeggio can be implied over various chordal sounds.

Length: 25:40 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Series Introduction Solo Lesson (Composed Soloing)

Chris teaches the solo that was used in the introduction lesson for this series. He uses the solo as an example of how to effectively compose your own solos.

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

2 Hand Tapping

It's time to give the right hand hand some work with two hand tapping on the guitar neck.

Length: 31:26 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

Thoughts on Practice

With so much material out there, what should you focus on? How much time do you spend on a certain topic? How do you progress? How do you measure progress? Chris covers all of these topics in this lesson.

Length: 17:16 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Get to Know Chris Liepe

Chris Liepe offers up some insight into his past. Hopefully this lesson will help you further your own goals as a guitarist.

Length: 11:42 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only

About Chris Liepe View Full Biography Chris Liepe was born on September 17th, 1981 in Portland OR. His first instrument was piano which he pursued until discovering his love for the electric guitar in high school. He became fans of such groups as Soundgarden, Collective Soul and U2 inspiring him to start singing, songwriting and helping others in their musical endeavors with teaching, co-writing and album production.

Having moved to Colorado with his family, he began gigging, recording and teaching in a number of music stores as well as out of his apartment until deciding to pursue music full time. He moved to Denver, CO to complete a Bachelors in Music Technology and was then hired on by Sweetwater Productions, a division of Sweetwater Sound and one of the largest, most successful recording studios in the Midwest.

Chris spent nearly 4 years at Sweetwater as a producer, recording engineer, studio musician and writer. During this time he had the privilege of working with many artists including Augustana, Landon Pigg, Jars of Clay, and Mercy Me. He also wrote for and played on numerous independent albums and hundreds of radio/TV commercials.

Wanting to get back to his favorite State in the world (Colorado) and feeling the urge to 'go freelance', Chris moved to Greeley, CO and opened his own recording and teaching studio. He continues to write and produce music for artists and agencies and is happy to be among the proud JamPlay.com instructors.

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

Our acoustic guitar lessons are taught by qualified instructors with various backgrounds with the instrument.


Danny Voris Danny Voris

Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

Free LessonSeries Details
Trace Bundy Trace Bundy

Trace Bundy talks about the different ways you can use multiple capos to enhance your playing.

Free LessonSeries Details
Jessica Baron Jessica Baron

Jessica kindly introduces herself, her background, and her approach to this series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Jim Deeming Jim Deeming

Jim discusses the importance of setting goals. He provides some tips that will help steer your practicing in the right direction.

Free LessonSeries Details
Rich Nibbe Rich Nibbe

Rich Nibbe takes a look at how you can apply the pentatonic scale in the style of John Mayer into your playing.

Free LessonSeries Details
Hawkeye Herman Hawkeye Herman

Hawkeye teaches several Robert Johnson licks in this lesson. These licks are played with a slide in open G tuning.

Free LessonSeries Details
Mitch Reed Mitch Reed

Mitch teaches his interpretation of the classic "Cannonball Rag." This song provides beginning and intermediate guitarists...

Free LessonSeries Details
David Isaacs David Isaacs

JamPlay welcomes David Isaacs to our teacher roster. With his first lesson Dave explains his approach to playing guitar with...

Free LessonSeries Details
Don Ross Don Ross

New fingerstyle instructor Don Ross introduces himself, his background, and what you should expect in this series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Robbie Merrill Robbie Merrill

JamPlay welcomes bassist and founding member of Godsmack, Robbie Merrill. In this short introduction lesson, Robbie showcases...

Free LessonSeries Details

Electric Guitar Lesson Samples

Our electric guitar lessons are taught by instructors with an incredible amount of teaching experience.


Dennis Hodges Dennis Hodges

Learn a variety of essential techniques commonly used in the metal genre, including palm muting, string slides, and chord...

Free LessonSeries Details
Lauren Passarelli Lauren Passarelli

Lauren Passarelli offers up her wisdom on purchasing a guitar. She also includes information regarding proper setup and care....

Free LessonSeries Details
Emil Werstler Emil Werstler

Emil takes you through some techniques that he uses frequently in his style of playing. Topics include neck bending, percussive...

Free LessonSeries Details
Bumblefoot Bumblefoot

Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal pulls out all the stops in his blistering artist series. Dive into the intense,...

Free LessonSeries Details
Larry Cook Larry Cook

In this lesson, Larry discusses and demonstrates how to tune your bass. He explains why tuning is critical and discusses...

Free LessonSeries Details
Dave Weiner Dave Weiner

Dave "David J" Weiner returns with a lesson on how to play with style and attitude. He covers all the basic techniques you'll...

Free LessonSeries Details
Billy Sheehan Billy Sheehan

Billy starts his artist series off with a lesson on something he gets asked the most to explain: right hand 3 finger technique.

Free LessonSeries Details
Steve Stevens Steve Stevens

Steve Stevens shows some of his go-to licks and ideas while improvising over a backing track he made.

Free LessonSeries Details
Michael Mennell Michael Mennell

Mike introduces himself and his series.

Free LessonSeries Details
Mark Brennan Mark Brennan

Mark Brennan teaches this classic rock song by Jethro Tull. Released on the album of the same name in 1971, this song features...

Free LessonSeries Details




Join over 485780 guitarists who have learned how to play in weeks... not years!

Signup today to enjoy access to our entire database of video lessons, along with our exclusive set of learning tools and features.



Unlimited Lesson Viewing

A JamPlay membership gives you access to every lesson, from every teacher on our staff. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many times you watch a lesson. Watch as many times as you need.

Live Lessons

Exclusive only to JamPlay, we currently broadcast 8-10 hours of steaming lesson services directly to you! Enjoy the benefits of in-person instructors and the conveniences of our community.

Interactive Community

Create your own profile, manage your friends list, and contact users with your own JamPlay Mailbox. JamPlay also features live chat with teachers and members, and an active Forum.

Chord Library

Each chord in our library contains a full chart, related tablature, and a photograph of how the chord is played. A comprehensive learning resource for any guitarist.

Scale Library

Our software allows you to document your progress for any lesson, including notes and percent of the lesson completed. This gives you the ability to document what you need to work on, and where you left off.

Custom Chord Sheets

At JamPlay, not only can you reference our Chord Library, but you can also select any variety of chords you need to work on, and generate your own printable chord sheet.

Backing Tracks

Jam-along backing tracks give the guitarist a platform for improvising and soloing. Our backing tracks provide a wide variety of tracks from different genres of music, and serves as a great learning tool.

Interactive Games

We have teachers covering beginner lessons, rock, classic rock, jazz, bluegrass, fingerstyle, slack key and more. Learn how to play the guitar from experienced players, in a casual environment.

Beginners Welcome.. and Up

Unlike a lot of guitar websites and DVDs, we start our Beginner Lessons at the VERY start of the learning process, as if you just picked up a guitar for the first time.Our teaching is structured for all players.

Take a minute to compare JamPlay to other traditional and new methods of learning guitar. Our estimates for "In-Person" lessons below are based on a weekly face-to-face lesson for $40 per hour.

Price Per Lesson < $0.01 $4 - $5 $30 - $50 Free
Money Back Guarantee Sometimes n/a
Number of Instructors 87 1 – 3 1 Zillions
Interaction with Instructors Daily Webcam Sessions Weekly
Professional Instructors Luck of the Draw Luck of the Draw
New Lessons Daily Weekly Minutely
Structured Lessons
Learn Any Style Sorta
Track Progress
HD Video - Sometimes
Multiple Camera Angles Sometimes - Sometimes
Accurate Tabs Maybe Maybe
Scale/Chord Libraries
Custom JamTracks
Interactive Games
Community
Learn in Sweatpants Socially Unacceptable
Gasoline Needed $0.00 $0.00 ~$4 / gallon! $0.00

Mike H.

"I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar!"
 

I am 66 years young and I still got it! I would have never known this if it had not been for Jamplay! I feel like a 12 year old kid with a new guitar! Ha! I cannot express enough how great you're website is! It is for beginners and advanced pickers! I am an advanced picker and thought I had lost it but thanks to you all, I found it again! Even though I only play by ear, I have been a member a whopping whole two weeks now and have already got Brent's country shuffle and country blues down and of course with embellishments. Thank you all for your wonderful program!


Greg J.

"With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace"
 

I'm a fifty eight year old newbie who owns a guitar which has been sitting untouched in a corner for about seven years now. Last weekend I got inspired to pick it up and finally learn how to play after watching an amazing Spanish guitarist on TV. So, here I am. I'm starting at the beginning with Steve Eulberg and I couldn't be happier (except for the sore fingers :) Some day I'm going to play like Steve! I'm self employed with a hectic schedule. With Jamplay I can fit in a random session when I have time and I can go at my own pace, rewinding and replaying the videos until I get it. This is a very enjoyable diversion from my work yet I still feel like I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Thanks a lot, Greg


Bill

"I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students."
 

I am commenting here to tell you and everyone at JamPlay that I believe this is the absolute best site for guitar students. I truly enjoy learning to play the guitar on JamPlay.com. Yes, I said the words, ""enjoy learning."" It is by far the best deal for the money.



Join thousands of others that LIKE JamPlay!