Pentatonic Scales - Part 1

From Pink Floyd to Metallica, John Mayer to AC/DC, Pentatonic scales are the backbone of some of the most iconic guitar solos ever written. I am truly excited to begin a series on this and I invite you to follow along with me.

Pentatonic scales are an integral part of any modern guitarists inventory when it comes to playing lead solos, riffs and improvising. So much music (and rock in particular) really exploits the power of pentatonic scales.

If you want to be a proficient lead guitarist or a decent improviser you really need to master these scales!


At the end of this post I’ve written a lead guitar solo that incorporates what we will  discuss here, plus a few extra things...

I also put quite a bit of effort in to the backing tracks so it's an enjoyable experience playing along with the exercises. If you need to listen to this first for motivation, be my guest.

Is This Series For Me?

Good question - here’s what you’ll get…

  • The 5 pentatonic...
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A Life Saving Website

theory May 11, 2017

I just want to quickly share a website with you that I’ve found really helpful when teaching guitar. I believe it’s fantastic for any music student, and it’s free! It’s also accessible by students so they can train at home or on their devices and it’s even available as an app. The site is So good!


Theory, Recognition and Ear Training can be a tricky things to teach – especially in a half hour or 45min lesson, however I find that is incredibly useful for students to get better at recognising:

  • Notes
  • Intervals
  • Triads
  • Larger chords
  • Piano keys
  • Fretboard identification
  • Key signatures
  • and more

It’s also really helpful having access to the flash based theory lessons covering topics such as:

  • Notes on the Staff
  • Durations
  • Scale construction
  • Time signatures
  • Key signatures
  • Intervals
  • Diatonic triads
  • Inversions
  • Roman numeral analysis
  • and more

The above list is a small sample of the content we...

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Unlock the Guitar Fretboard

Uncategorized May 10, 2017

The guitar is a formidable instrument and many people can get a nice sound out of it, no doubt about it. However, when you can see the notes on the fretboard your guitar skills and awareness will sky rocket. If you can’t find notes quickly and you’d like to then I invite you to read on.


I’ll say this from the very beginning, this post will not be much help to you unless you know about the Chromatic scale. If you want to learn about that or need a refresher check out my post Music’s DNA: The Chromatic Scale. At the end of this post I’ll give some tips to learn the fretboard quickly.

Let’s dive straight into this one. Lets have a quick look at the C Chromatic scale. Let’s call the notes in the circles the natural notes. Between the natural notes are the in-between notes. Each in-between note can have two names, even though it is the same sound and is in the same location on the guitar. Note...

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The Major Scale

scales May 08, 2017

Greetings! If you’ve read my previous posts on the Chromatic Scale and Unlocking the Fretboard then you’re now ready to become acquainted with the Major Scale. This scale is probably the foundation of nearly every catchy song you know. The major scale is a sequence of notes from which we can build melodies, chords and even guitar solos. In Western music this scale is everywhere. You and major scales really need to get to know each other… Let me introduce you.

Scales Are Awesome!

Scales are extremely useful to us guitarists because…

  • They can help us learn the notes on the fretboard in a really musical way.
  • They’re a great way to build coordination and technique.
  • From scales we can learn to build ChordsModes and Arpeggios
  • Scales can be used for improvising, which is heaps of fun!
  • Understanding scales help us to better interpret music and analyse it.
  • Build a stronger ...
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Old School

Uncategorized May 03, 2017

One of the most helpful books in my personal guitar journey was “A Modern Method for Guitar Volume 1” by William Leavitt, often referred to as the “Berklee Book”. This book is over 50 years old, and yet it still sells everywhere because it’s so good. I’d like to pay tribute to this fantastic book, as well as a few others written by this dedicated author. A big thanks to the Berklee Press, who keep books like this in print.

My story

I first began guitar lessons when I was 11 years old. My teacher at the time suggested I get this book. So I did. And then sadly…it sat on my book shelf for about 2 years because I was an ambitious but distracted and irrational learner. But, later I changed teachers, and we worked through this book together and it totally changed my playing and approach to guitar more than any other book I’ve ever come across. You see, it’s written in music notation only. No TAB. It’s a book to...

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What is Music Theory?

theory Mar 14, 2017

Well, it’s basically the study of all things musical. This includes the bread and butter stuff like pitch, rhythm, scales, intervals and chord construction. But it’s also the study of how it all works together and how you can use it! Building your knowledge of music theory is probably the biggest investment you could make when learning any instrument, and…it doesn’t have to be slow or tedious.

How it Started

When I started learning guitar, all I wanted to do was play! I don’t think I’d even heard of the term “music theory”. My first teacher just showed me some chords to strum and I was off to a flying start playing guitar. This worked great for a few years. I would just learn more chord shapes, pick a song I wanted to play and then play it over and over till I memorised it. I learned a scale or two and then dabbled in improvising – which is making up guitar solos...

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