Thanks for the post.
Pentatonic scales are a big batch of knowledge that will take some time to learn and digest and eventually put into your playing.
Most guitarists learn a pattern or two and play them up and down and think that they have learned all they need to know about pentatonic scales. That's a bit like saying... "I know the alphabet. I can say my ABC's forwards and backwards. I don't understand why I'm not a great novelist by now."
So, in the book I give you several steps in your learning of these scales - to get you from learning the alphabet to actually using it.
- Practice all of the pentatonic forms ascending and descending
-practice the pentatonic forms in all of the keys
-practice connecting them together to play in all the keys the full length of the guitar
-practice the common pentatonic patterns
-Practicing soloing using pentatonic scales on A Minor Pentatonic Blues, G Major Pentatonic, and Aroud the Pentatonic World. Make up your own solo using the scales suggested.
Let's go through these.
STEP 1 - PRACTICE ALL OF THE FORMS ASCENDING & DESCENDING
Start off by learning the fingerpatterns of the forms. Here's how to practice this. Pick a form. Play it slowly and carefully up and down. Each time you make a mistake go back and do the whole form again. You need to teach your fingers the correct way to play the form. Once you can play the form up and down perfectly with consistency. Then move the form up a half-step and do it again (up and down). Don't worry about knowing what key you are in yet, just focus on playing the form accurately. Work your way up and down the neck playing the scale at a slow to moderate speed.
Once you have really learned one form then start learning another form using the same process. This process, if done correctly, should take around 2 weeks.
When you can play all five forms (ascending and descending) with confidence and accuracy then move to the next step.
STEP 2 - PRACTICE ALL OF THE FORMS IN ALL OF THE KEYS
Now, its time to move past just playing the finger patterns and begin to assimilate these finger patterns with their associated keys. Each pattern has an associated major and minor root (as shown on the diagrams). So, let's start with the key of C. Play each of the five pentatonic forms ascending and descending in the key of C. You want to start with the form that can be played in the lowest position. Don't start with your favorite form and then figure out the others. Force yourself to learn where each form is on the neck. So start with whatever form is the lowest one in that key on the neck. Then move up the neck switching forms as needed. When you get higher on the neck you will need to flip back to forms you previously did only now they would be an octave up.
Once you can play all of the forms on the entire neck in the key of C, then move around the circle of fifths keys. So, they would be in this order... C - G - D - A - E - B - F#. F - Bb - Eb - Ab - Db - Gb. This exercise when done properly should take you, at least, 30 minutes to get through all of the keys.
STEP 3 - PRACTICE CONNECTING THEM TOGETHER TO PLAY IN ALL KEYS THE FULL LENGTH OF THE GUITAR
Look at the Bonus Resources Book pgs 104-107. These are the patterns that I want you to play in all keys the full range of the instrument.
Pick a key. Identify the form you need to use to play at the lowest part of the neck. Play that form ASCENDING, then move up to the next form in that key and play it DESCENDING, then move up to the next form in that key and play it ASCENDING and so on, until you run out of neck. Then work your way back down in a similar way. When you get back to the bottom of the neck again, then move on to the next key and do it all over again. Choose your keys in the cycle of the circle of fifths as outlined above. This should take you about 2 weeks to learn this and will take you at least 30 minutes or more to do this and go through all of the forms in all of the keys.
STEP 4 - PRACTICE THE COMMON PENTATONIC PATTERNS
OK, now that you've gotten enough practice on the forms and how they relate to each other in different keys, now it's time to move beyond just playing them up and down. You need move beyond viewing these scales in a linear (up and down) fashion. In the lesson book I outline several common pentatonic patterns. Pick a pattern and learn the basic idea. Then pick a pentatonic form and play the pattern ascending and descending. Go to the next pentatonic form and play the same pattern up and down until you've worked through all of the five pentatonic patterns. Move to different keys, different parts of the neck. Play them in a connected form shape (ascending in one form, descending in the next).
Once you can do this with one pattern then try the others. This should take you about a week to learn and at least 45 minutes to go through all keys and all three patterns.
STEP 5 - PRACTICE SOLOING USING THE PENTATONIC SCALES
Now that you've learned the forms, what keys they are in, where they are on the neck, how they connect to each other, and several helpful patterns to play with them, you should be able to look at the entire neck of your guitar and immediately see this grid of connecting pentatonic forms which will form the basis of which notes you can choose from when you are soloing.
Now from this grid of appropriate notes you have a palette of notes to choose from when soloing. Begin experimenting, using the play-along tracks, trying to play different melodic ideas using the pentatonic scales. Play them in different parts of the neck. Don't always start with the same form. Vary the forms up. Vary the area of the neck that you start your ideas from.
You will sound clunky and bad at first. Keep trying. Eventually you will start to make better and better musical choices. This takes a few weeks to a lifetime to do this with as much accuracy as you need to. The goal is to be able to play through your fingers the ideas in your head. If your head can think it - your fingers can play it. That's the goal.
So, as you can see, there is quite a bit of material there to work through regarding pentatonic scales.
It's not easy but it's one of the most important skills you need to have as a guitarist for soloing and knowing the neck of your instrument.
This whole process took me about 3 months to learn and I use it every time I pick up the instrument.