Pentatonic Scale One-on-One Lesson 3
- Diagonal Position Shifting

We have reached the last of our Pentatonic Scale "Position Shifting" lesson. This is undoubtly the final step.

In this lesson we will combine all of our accumulated knowledge - knowing how to shift position on any string, as well as shifting position horizontally - covered in the previous pentatonic lessons. The result is called diagonal position shifting.

The diagonal approach is the most effective way of covering ground on the guitar. Also, it is probably one of the most requested type of runs by my students. Nothing looks cooler than starting a run from the lowest notes on the low e-string, going all the way up to the highest notes on the high e-string.

In the first pentatonic video I explain two easier diagonal patterns, in the second video two advanced. The material presented in this lesson is in the key of E minor, and so are the accompanying backing tracks. In other words you can jam around with the E minor pentatonic scale - and give these horizontal tricks as shot!

The two easier shapes are excellent for rock phrasing - especially when adding some palm muting and vibrato. Even though I labeled these patterns as "easier", you can of course make them advanced by speeding them up.

When thinking diagonally, we can look at the E minor pentatonic scale like this:

Advanced horizontal pentatonic shifting

I personally believe you should not start by learning the pentatonic scale by practicing these kind of diagonal scale shapes. Even though it's a faster way of visualising the diagonal run - you will not be as flexible when playing the scale in different keys, or when playing it horizontally, purely on two strings (etc.)

In other words, if you are not yet comfortable with the pentatonic scale - keep practicing the different box shapes (see below).

Good luck,


Pentatonic scale3 backing (90 bpm)
Backing track slow

Related lessons:
Pentatonic Scale lesson 1
Pentatonic Scale lesson 2



     E minor pentatonic boxes



     Lesson Questions, Feedback & Comments

post 12th January 2007


thanks again Kris,
This really is helping me move from box to box, and do it diagonaly
post 15th May 2007


Atlast i reached the final step of box shifting ad all the credit goes to kris, thanx a lot!!!!
post 15th May 2007


hey kris, i wanted to ask can we play in any pentatonic minor scale boxes, i mean here the key is E minor, but when i am improvising, can i play in other keys also, i mean A minor or C minor? I hope u get my question as i am not gud in english
Kristofer Dahl
post 15th May 2007


Congratulations Anirudh biggrin.gif - yes you can use different keys!
post 16th May 2007


post 11th July 2007


i am...

.... ok, maybe not yet, but after i practice this lesson for a few months...
post 9th August 2007


Is there any way you can post the tabs to the patterns in this lesson.

Thanks... Keep rockin' these awsome lessons Kris
Farbror Kudde
post 29th October 2007


man you are crazy kris tongue.gif
post 18th February 2008


how do you know what keys you could use
Jon Lambo
post 23rd March 2008


Hey Great set of lessons Kris, the pentatonic ideas have improved my playing tenfold.
post 18th October 2009


I love your lessons ! awesome !

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