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Pentatonic Puzzle Solutions

By May 29, 2015 February 3rd, 2017 Lessons

What if you could take Yngwie’s mastery of sequenced ideas and apply it to Eric’s signature pentatonics using downward pickslanting? Well, now you can!

Yngwie and Eric

Yngwie’s mastery of sweeping and Eric’s alternate picking approach give us two great solutions to ascending pentatonic fours!

We recently gave Cracking the Code viewers a cool homework assignment: find a way to play ascending fours, against the pentatonic scale, using the Yngwie Malmsteen and Eric Johnson downward pickslanting system. It seems simple enough, but it’s something we don’t see very often on guitar, and for good reason — the picking and fingering can both pose challenges.

With a basic understanding of downward pickslanting mechanics, though, we can design a couple of really nice solutions to this problem that pay fantastic creative dividends.

In this lesson, we explore solutions to the daunting challenge of pentatonic fours — utilizing the DWPS system that you already know — that will help unleash your creativity with pentatonic, whole tone, and diminished sequence ideas.

Check out the complete lesson — including tablature — on Guitar World!

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  • Anders says:

    Hello troy
    Just watched the pentatonic puzzle. great stuff!
    For me the picking mechanism is so powerful that my left hand can’t keep up . Could
    You tell me what fingers you are using ? Especially for the second set of 8 notes where you have the same fret numbers on 5th and 4th string . Thanks

    • Troy Grady says:

      Hi Anders! It sounds like you’re referring to the EJ-style solution with pure alternate picking. The fingering is indeed the biggest challenge in that solution. I use three-note-per-string fingerings, and in the download pack I have it tabbed out with fingering indications. We normally don’t include fingerings because there are usually multiple ways to do something which can work. And that’s true here as well. But this is the specific method I use and I think it’s the (possibly) the most efficient, even if it’s complicated. You can grab the download by signing up to the mailing list, or if you’re already on the mailing list, you should have received that email in our last update.

  • Ants says:

    Great work man!

  • Chris Jason says:

    Hey Troy,
    Just wanted to tell you, your series has been extremely informative and has made me completely rethink my right hand technique and I can finally say I can see results in my overall playing, so thank you very much!
    I just wanted to ask you this though, should I anchor my right hand or not? I’ve seen different players take different approaches and I’ve not found much difference between the two (it could also be because I can’t play as fast yet). Do you have a Cracking the Code video for this?

    • Eric Dohner says:

      I’m not Troy, but I’ll take a stab at this given what I’ve seen him say — anchoring in some way seems to be almost unavoidable, be it “wrist-on-bridge” or “fingers-on-body.” I’ve used both with about the same success.

  • Bryan Chambers says:

    In Frank Gambale’s instructional video Speed Picking he demonstrates the sweeped version of pentatonic fours that is very similar to this.

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