Chapter 23 - Pentatonic Position I

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Between the sextuplet chunking, sweep fives, bounce fives, rolling threes, and legato figures, the sheer variety of sounds that Eric could extract from a single pentatonic position was tremendous. But Eric’s explorations were only rarely constrained to a single position. More often, they fell end over end, cascading down the fretboard. It was this effortless free fall, seemingly unpredictable and yet always executed with unwavering picking accuracy, that was perhaps the most wondrous and baffling of all his feats.

Most guitar players lean nearly exclusively on the box fingering for pentatonic playing. And if you play in E, like most everyone does, this means that a vast swath of the fretboard between the 12th fret and the 4th fret goes untouched, like some kind of uncharted Mad Max wasteland. But Eric’s playing knew no such limits. His descending phrases managed a sonically invisible transition between every pentatonic position. His lines flowed from the 12th fret all the way down to the open string if he wanted, with no visible seams.