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Transform your guitar solos by breaking out of the stock pentatonic scale shape

Pentatonic
(Image credit: Joby Sessions / Future)

Guitar lessons: Most of us are familiar with shape 1 of the good old minor pentatonic scale – even if we don't realise it. Even seasoned, experienced players gravitate towards it. Eric Clapton, Angus Young and a host of blues-rock guitarists have based their careers around this staple shape. But here we’re looking at two scale boxes positioned above and below shape 1, allowing you to go way beyond the confines of the basic shape. 

Locking together with shape 1 like jigsaw pieces, these shapes will expand your soloing possibilities from four frets to nine. First learn the three shapes by playing each up and down in turn, then try the two licks that will help you stick them together.

The scale shapes 

Pentatonic

(Image credit: Future)

There are three scale shapes here – you probably already know shape 1. Take a look at shapes 2 and 5 and notice how they link up to shape 1, allowing you to extend all your shape 1 licks farther up or down the fretboard.

Sliding to change position 

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(Image credit: Future)

Two-string lick

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(Image credit: Future)

Learn more: The ultimate minor pentatonic guitar lesson: all the skills to get started