Advanced Pentatonic Licks in ALL Positions [Lead Guitar Lesson]

Advanced Pentatonic Licks in ALL Positions [Lead Guitar Lesson]

If you're looking for some cool licks that can help you get unstuck while improvising, then this lesson is definitely for you!

In this lesson, we're going to focus on pentatonic licks combined with slides all over the guitar fretboard. Actually, we cover in this lesson, way more techniques such as the string skipping technique, legato technique, hybrid picking, and chromaticism!

Those licks are most powerful when used as connectors. Either for:
- Connecting multiple ideas and gluing them together, or
- Connecting multiple areas of the fretboard.

All of our licks will be played using the Minor pentatonic scale in A. However, you can apply them to any other key you want and you don't have to have the positions of the minor pentatonic scale memorized, as I will be giving you the tablature and standard notation which will help you to follow along.
I would also like to give you this piece of advice. Don't try to memorize the licks as is. These are only tools, and we can mold them and twist them as we like in order to come up with our own variations and own versions of the licks. How many variations can you come up with ;)?

Lick #1 - 2 Strings Pentatonic minor Hot Sliding Lick!

The first lick uses only 2 strings (the G and B strings). And we're covering all the five positions of the pentatonic minor scale. For techniques, we're using slides and Hammer-on pull-offs.
We're sliding from one position to another by sliding on the G string and hammering on pulling off on the B string.
The pattern: start on fret 5 on the G string, slide up to 7 using the second finger (middle finger), hammer-on on the B string from 5 to 8, then pull-off from 5 to 8.
We repeat this pattern of sliding and Hammering-on pulling-off on all the other pentatonic positions until we get to the first pentatonic position an octave higher on fret 17.

Now create your own variation of the lick!

Lick #2 - String Skipping Slides Minor Pentatonic Lick

The second lick is about string skipping and sliding using octaves. Obviously, we're playing in A minor pentatonic, but this time we're starting from the fourth position.
The lick also uses 2 strings solely, however, this time it's the G and high E strings.
The pattern: String skipping between the high E string and the G string, starting with the high E string on fret 15 (which is the G note).
Play the G note on fret 15 then proceed to play fret 12 on the G string (which is one octave lower), from here slide down to fret 9. Repeat the same process starting on fret 12 on the high E string.
BUT, make sure to read the tabs or watch the video lesson as there are some variations and breaks in the pattern to make it sound more interesting.
The motion of up and down the fretboard and alternating between octaves is what makes this lick captivating and interesting!

N.B: You can download the tabs for this lesson (and ALL the other lessons) for FREE by signing up at the bottom of the page.

Lick #3 - Minor Pentatonic Unison Slides Lick

Lick number three is also using most of the fretboard!
The technique used in this one, the what I call unison slides. Just like the name suggests, we're playing the same note (or pitch) twice.
However, we are doing a unison on two different strings. Let me explain this further.

The pattern: play a note of the minor pentatonic scale on the G string, then slide (from nowhere) into that same note but on the D string. You may use other strings, but this one is the most convenient.
This pattern might be hard to nail at first, as you need good fretboard visualization but it's very rewarding!

Continue with the other notes of the A minor pentatonic scale (C, D, E, and/or G). As I mentioned earlier, you don't have to go through all of the notes, you can skip some of them or even add others that are outside the scale. I show you how to do this inside the video lesson.

Lick #4 - Minor Pentatonic Legato Slides Lick

Lick number four uses a bunch of techniques, from hammer-on to slides when it comes to the fretting hand. It's preferable to perform them using the legato technique.

The literal meaning of legato (from Italian) is 'tied together' but in musical terms, it means that you should smoothly play the notes, not leaving any space between the notes. In this case, it means using hammer-ons and pull-offs, and slides.

For the picking hand, you can either pick downstrokes to make everything move fluidly or even use Hybrid picking (which I briefly explain in the video)
As for the pattern, we are starting on pentatonic position 5 starting from the 3rd fret and going through positions 1,2, and 3. However, we're only playing small portions of those positions and the pattern is repetitive.
You need to consider every pair of strings together; we start with the low E string and the A string. Play fret 3 on the low E string and hammer-on to fret 5. Then proceed to play fret 3 on the A string and hammer-on to fret 4 and from fret 4 hammer-on to fret 5. The next thing you need to do is slide from fret 5 to fret 7. Remember to only articulate the note on fret 3 as the rest should be all played legato.

The pattern repeats on the D and G strings, however, this time you start from fret 5, consequently you need to move everything up 2 frets. It also repeats on the B and E strings but starts on fret 8.

Very slidey and powerful lick!
If you wish to execute this using the hybrid picking technique, watch the video as I briefly explain how to do this.

Lick #5 - Minor Pentatonic Slide and chromatic Lick

Last but not least lick of this lesson on pentatonic minor licks is also tricky because it forces you to have good finger coordination and feel the groove.
We are using slides and chromaticism on the first position of the pentatonic minor scale. I also advise you to play this lick using legato.

Start from the high e string on fret 8, slide up to fret 10, and then back down to fret 8. From here pull-off chromatically all the way down to fret 5. Meaning pull-off from 8 to 7 then from 7 to 6 then from 6 to 5.

Repeat the same process on the other strings, and you can descend the scale as much as needed. In the video, I stop on the D string.

Personally, I like to create tension, by stalling on fret 8 after sliding up and down. Just enough to keep the listener hanging before I pull-off all the way down to fret 5.
Author: Jack Haddad
Jack Haddad is an expert Guitar educator and teacher and has been helping guitarists, through his innovative methods, get incredible results on the guitar, whether they want to jam with friends or rock out on the big stage.

You can find out more about Jack Haddad's teaching here:
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