Fly Up the Guitar Fretboard
Updated: Jan 22
A common question I get here in my guitar lessons in Vancouver is: How can I play longer lines that move from low on the guitar to high up on the guitar? My latest YouTube video shows you how to play one of two common runs that I teach to all my students who are taking soloing guitar lessons.
The main thing to note is that we really only need to memorize two ways to move quickly through the pentatonic shapes. While it's true that we can shift from shape to shape on any string, having to make that decision in the moment takes more brain power, and the reality is that we are still only playing the same five notes of the pentatonic anyway, so we might as well just memorize two quick and easy ways to do it. That way, whenever we want to move quickly up the fretboard, we have our "go to" roadmap to get there.
I call this one "Run Number 1" simply because it's the first one I teach and because it passes through our most common pentatonic shape. We start just below that shape, to give us more distance, then we pass through "shape 1," then slide into the "extension shape," as I call it.
In the key of A minor, this will take us from the third fret, all the way up to the 10th fret.
You can download a PDF of the pentatonic run diagrams using this link below:
Once we get to the top of the run, we can just play a simple lick to make it all come together. For example, here's the run:
And once you get to the top, play a simple lick right away, something like:
Or, after the run, slide one more fret up, to the 12th fret, then play one of my favourite licks of all time:
The video also describes how you can extend the run by either doubling back now and then, or doubling notes. Here's a good example of doubling back, then add a lick at the top:
If you'd like more tips on how to improve your soloing, check out the YouTube channel, or try my book, "Guitar Soloing Like a Pro" which is available on Amazon. More information about my guitar books are on my website.