New Monster Lick Showcases How to Create Legato Runs Using the Pentatonic Scale

by Glenn Proudfoot
Posted Mar 4, 2014 at 12:59pm

In this Monster Lick, I'm using the "B pentatonic major 3rd scale." This scale is very similar to the B Mixolydian scale, so keep this in mind if you're ever chasing that sound but want to give it a harder edge.

Why do I adapt the scale like this? As you might know by now, I base all of my playing around the pentatonic scale. By taking this approach with this tonality, I can still finger the scale somewhat like a normal pentatonic but have the added bonus of being able to keep the tough rock sound.

This lick is a real showcase of how you can create legato runs using the pentatonic. Predominantly, legato patterns within the pentatonic consist of two-note-per-string pulls and hammers. I like to adopt a combination of this with a wide intervalic approach to add an extra note to the patterns.

The tricky thing with creating legato patterns using three notes per string with the pentatonic is the that you will find you are repeating notes a lot of the time. But this can be used to add some chaos to the lick! I embrace the repeated notes but also switch between two- and three-note patterns to add some real madness to the tonality.

You'll notice that most of the three-note lines are based around the actual major 3rd note, which in this case is the Eb, the reason being that this extra note enables a more modal-style approach rather than the traditional pentatonic box form approach.

The Lick:

The stretches may prove a little too much for some. If this being the case, I suggest you start the lick in a higher position on the neck. As with all of these licks, just break it down into sections so it's easier to digest and see what's going on. The main thing is that you understand (from a theoretical standpoint) how I approach this. Once you understand the theory, you can go on and adapt it to your soloing and create your own version of this idea.

Note how I use the added note, in this case the Eb. This is the key for setting up the tonality and the runs. Wherever possible, I try to emphasize the note I'm adding to the scale as much as possible. This is what will give your playing a fresh, new sound.

I hope you enjoy this Monster Lick! Please join me on YouTube right here! Or contact me at glennproudfoot.com or my Facebook page.

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Australia's Glenn Proudfoot has played and toured with major signed bands and artists in Europe and Australia, including progressive rockers Prazsky Vyber. Glenn released his first instrumental solo album, Lick Em, in 2010. It is available on iTunes and at glennproudfoot.com. His latest album — a still-untitled all-instrumental release — will be available in March 2014.