Guthrie choose Spytunes way

Guthrie talks about scales!

Guthrie Govan is an old tutor and colleague of mine, at Bimm we worked along side each other.

During 2006 when I wrote the guitar manual for Bimm I designed the course around the pentatonic modes, for exactly the same reasons Guthrie speak about in this video. The course is still used in 2011.

Having been taught by Guthrie for three years I know how this man can play anything, literally, anything.

If guitar was a competition, Guthrie would win it!

In my opinion, Guthrie is the most accomplished guitarist and tutor around so it’s really nice to hear him saying how he choose the pentatonic modes when teaching scales these days.

What does this all mean?

Guthrie’s example use the Em pentatonic shape and the Em Dorian shape.

If you take the pentatonic modes all the way you need to learn this in minor:

Minor Pent
m3 4 5 b7
Aeolian 2 b6
Dorian 2 6
Phrygian b2 b6


In major you need to learn this:

Major Pent 1 2
Ionian 4 7
Lydian #4
Mixolydian 4


You need to learn this in all 5 shapes.

Should you want to start with Dorian, as Guthrie plays in the video, go to the Dorian mode for all exercises.

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6 thoughts on “Guthrie choose Spytunes way

  1. Stephen Heller


    Well you got me thinking and you are say man its about time! Well sometimes it takes letting it age a little its time.

    Ok. You are absolutely right so lets back up a little on Govan and go back a to Guru and your brain child or at least one of them this site. Putting it all together not easily done unless you believe you can.

    What I have learned from you stimulated by this bog!

    Once you know the timing/chords/basic concepts etc.. Then go back and simplify even when you think how simple can you make it . Well once you are through the beginners size of your teaching then start back with a two chord or three chord songs. Two chord songs make it easier to realize that three chord songs are also complicated by about another 33 % more then a two chord song. Ok I am rambling…. enought. Back to Govan, let take this back Guru once you know a basic I IV V song this is good because a lot of pentatonic options, you know what I am talking about. Well lets say the shell pentatonic form here is the I chord and the time of the song holds it together at least if you want a melody. Now as you work the song between I IV V as you move through the timing for each chord position, i.e. 123/123 o1234 1234 etc. slip in and out of the main pentatonic shell of l chord being selective where you rotate in anout over the pentatonic shell of the IV and V depending on the song. If you make a mistake as long as stay true to the main 5 notes of I chord pentatonic shell you begin to generate playing melody versus playing technique or exercises etc.. If you use a two chord song this is easier to understand. If this isn’t making sense then just start by strumming the chords in the correct time signiture with the chords in the right place and occationally slip in a 1 chord shell pentatonic or challenge your selve with a IV or V note during the right spot it always sounds right if you are leading out or leading back into the 1 chord position in the correct time signiture for the chord position. Whew! You can certainly make this simpler , Govan explanation shall keep most everyone in the dark except?


  2. Stephen Heller

    I have a practical example if you shall let me indulge!

    Let say in Cross Roads : Basically 12 bars blues in I IV V with A as the one chord. The timing is 4/4 ; assume one knows this to this point. Now a little ramble: Not as easy as it seems especially if you used a youtube clip to mimic the playing of the song, hey I started like this, this is a real a real BUT! (you got to know Sean Stephenson – Really THIS IS NOT A JOKE!) ok.

    Clapton uses a lot of A major / A minor pentatonic here having said this let simplify it by staying with the A minor pentatonic especially when on A for now, at least for this explanation, when you go to the IV chord you play either IV chord tones triads or major pentatonic for the IV if you go here and then rotate back to I pentatonic minor A pentatonic, when the turnaround occurs not biggy, you can either go V note E7 chord tones or go Eminor Pentatonic. Ok so if your really want to make it easy on your self ; when ever the timing changes to IV or V go immediately to lead chord tone or play in an out of it using the b7 or 5 note for the IV or V chord when you go there and then back to A minor pentatonic. The most important thing is staying with the time of the sound and switching rhythmatically correct. Keep up with the rhythm exercise and your chord theory, its all here believe me in the pull downs under this webs’ PRACTICE GUITAR tab. It works .


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