This is a fun and rewarding exercise that will help you get a lot more out of your pentatonic scales. By “back track” I essentially mean that the next-to- last note of each run then becomes the starting note for the following run, and on and on. In other words, a scale of 12 notes can literally become a smooth run consisting of approximately 24 or more notes. It also will help you develop a more sophisticated way of phrasing, and help you to create many more useful licks.
This is a technique that is equally at home with open-string positions as well as closed, and we will work on both during this lesson. I also emphasize that flatpicking or hybrid picking can be used successfully for this particular kind of run and, in fact, it’s a great way to begin to learn a very subtle use of hybrid picking.
Combined with some of the pull-offs I’ll also be illustrating, these will become licks and scales that really “speak,” and are great for all genres of guitar playing — blues, R&B, country, rockabilly or even Jazz!—Arlen Roth