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Video Lesson: My number one favourite pentatonic shape of all time

We can't practise everything. There are so many techniques, licks, sequences and ideas out there that to practise them all would take several life times.

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But in that huge pool of exciting material we can practise, there are a few things what will do more for our overall skill level than most.

If you can find the vital and most effective things to practise, you can make more progress than anyone around you – and the sequence I am going to show you today will make that very obvious.

It's not just a really cool sequence that you can use to play fast and slow lines; it's also so simple that its impossible to hear in your playing. It isn't significant in any other way than its enormous effectiveness.

This is the one that will give you the biggest bang for you buck, the most from your practising and the greatest joy when you improvise and play

Claus Levin Sepstrup

Furthermore this a tool for improvising – it is flexible and can be played in so many ways as I will show you in the video.

Of all the sequences you could be practising within the 'two notes per string' (2nps) pentatonic scale format, this is the one to focus on and master. This is the one that will give you the biggest bang for you buck, the most from your practising and the greatest joy when you improvise and play.

The E minor pentatonic scale in a '2 notes per string' pattern is highlighted in red for this lesson. The A, D and G strings in bright red are the strings we are are going to apply this sequence to.

The E minor pentatonic scale in a '2 notes per string' pattern is highlighted in red for this lesson. The A, D and G strings in bright red are the strings we are are going to apply this sequence to.

(Image credit: Claus Levin Sepstrup / GuitarMastery.net)

You can play this sequence in any position on any strings but for this lesson I have chosen to use the first position minor pentatonic shape – and the A, D and G strings [highlighted in the diagram above] because we have a nice whole tone area to work with in that exact spot.

As I wrote earlier, this sequence is flexible even though it's almost the same few movements performed by your fingers each time.

Practise each example by itself. Use a metronome to keep your timing and when you can easily play the sequence without thinking too much about it and at a low level of speed, you can start practising while doing other things, like watching more videos or reading articles on MusicRadar.

Example 1

This simple 2nps pattern in 3/4 is applied to the D and G strings. Practise it slowly to a metronome and bring it up to speed. It's simple, but care is needed to play the picked and legato notes accurately.

This simple 2nps pattern in 3/4 is applied to the D and G strings. Practise it slowly to a metronome and bring it up to speed. It's simple, but care is needed to play the picked and legato notes accurately.

(Image credit: Image credit: Claus Levin Sepstrup / GuitarMastery.net)

Example 2

Now the pattern transitions to the A string. As with the first example, practise slowly and bring it up to speed, taking care to ensure your picking and legato falls on the correct note.

Now the pattern transitions to the A string. As with the first example, practise slowly and bring it up to speed, taking care to ensure your picking and legato falls on the correct note.

(Image credit: Image credit: Claus Levin Sepstrup / GuitarMastery.net)

Example 3

Combining the first two examples, it's time to bring these sequences together and extend the run. Practise it on a loop so that playing it feels second nature, almost automatic.

Combining the first two examples, it's time to bring these sequences together and extend the run. Practise it on a loop so that playing it feels second nature, almost automatic.

(Image credit: Image credit: Claus Levin Sepstrup / GuitarMastery.net)

Example 4

This time the sequence resolves itself on the G string, but the 2nps pattern should be familiar. Again, it's about accuracy and coordinating your picking and legato.

This time the sequence resolves itself on the G string, but the 2nps pattern should be familiar. Again, it's about accuracy and coordinating your picking and legato.

(Image credit: Image credit: Claus Levin Sepstrup / GuitarMastery.net)

Example 5

This sequence uses the same 2nps shapes and techniques as before but introduces some string skipping. But the good news is there is a minimum of wrist movement for your fretting hand. Practise slowly, repeat, and bring it up to speed.

This sequence uses the same 2nps shapes and techniques as before but introduces some string skipping. But the good news is there is a minimum of wrist movement for your fretting hand. Practise slowly, repeat, and bring it up to speed.

(Image credit: Image credit: Claus Levin Sepstrup / GuitarMastery.net)

Now it's time to watch the video and to your first steps towards mastering this essential core sequence.