Eric Johnson Style Pentatonics

This lesson is the first concentrating on a particular player's style. I plan on doing many style lessons in the future and would love to hear from you what player you would like profiled.

We will start here today with Eric Johnson, who is one of my all-time favorite guitarist's. He is perhaps best known for his fast and fluid pentatonic playing among other things.

This lesson gives a quick overview on how Eric Johnson approaches rapid pentatonics in his playing.

Pay close attention to the picking hand, because I feel that is probably the most overlooked part of his playing when people are trying to perform some of his licks.

He has a very economical style that is incredibly smooth and fluid.

So good luck!!

Here is the PDF download for this lesson.

Eric Johnson Style Pentatonics PDF

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Eric Johnson Style Pentatonics


  1. sludgedawg on January 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Very nice lessons dude! Well taught…well demonstrated. Keep up the good work!

    • Carl Brown on January 22, 2010 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks a lot.. I plan on doing some more artist series lessons in the near future. Still trying to work out which players to cover. Any suggestions??? ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. David on March 12, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    CB – very nice…I just found your web site and now it’s at the top of my Faves!

    Just wondering:
    1) what amp(s) and pedal(s) are you using?
    2) are you a full-time musician?
    3) have you recorded?
    4) what is your music background? (I’m trying to teach myself music/guitar/jazz theory – it seems llike you’ve had some great music education.)
    5) I guess it’s just me but I find it incredibly difficult to figure out what EJ is doing…how do you do that?

  3. Carl Brown on March 12, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Hey David thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you around a lot in the future. Let me see if I can answer some of your questions.

    1) For all of my videos I use a Line 6 POD X3 Live recording direct into Logic Pro.

    2) I am a full-time musician through teaching, gigs and studio work.

    3) I have recorded in many bands, but I don’t have any recordings for my solo stuff available yet. Probably a little later this year I will begin releasing solo instrumental guitar stuff through the site. ๐Ÿ™‚

    4) I have studied with some great instructors. I studied classical guitar a lot through my teens and twenties, and I studied jazz theory and musicianship with the late Dick Grove. I find his jazz theory and musicianship materials to be the holy grail of musical knowledge. Check it out if you get a chance, my jazz lessons for this site will be primarily based off of his teachings.

    5) As for EJ, all I can say is he is my favorite player and I have just watched and studied and watched and studied him for so long that I feel that I can pick apart almost anything he does. The bad thing about EJ is that he isn’t a very good teacher so his instructional videos are more informative to just watch what he is doing and slowly dissect it than following along with the lesson. ๐Ÿ˜› But after learning a bunch of his stuff and watching countles videos as well as seeing him live I feel I have slowly come to understand a lot of what he does, but he is such a consummate musician I don’t think anyone will every nail everything about him.

    Hope that answers your questions, thanks again for taking the time to check out my site, I plan on trying to make it better and better as time goes by so stick around!! Cheers!! Carl..

  4. Paul on November 30, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks for making this video lesson! I just have a request. Can you make a video lesson tackling about Guthrie Govan’s legato licks & fast runs?

    • Carl Brown on December 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm

      I will check into it. I am not too familiar with his style but hopefully I can come up with something. ๐Ÿ˜€


  5. Ken on February 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Great lesson Carl. I think the 3rd group of 5 notes in example 3 on the PDF is one of the keys to his fluid playing. I didn’t really get it the first time I watched the video and when I first looked at the PDF I thought the repeated A note was a typo. But I watched the video again and finally got it. The position shift to the A note with the 3rd finger gives the line that “sleight of hand” feel. That little move explains a lot, and if I’m not mistaken, EJ uses moves like this all over the place.

    Thanks Carl. I’d love to see more EJ style lessons.

  6. Manny K on February 27, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Kudos on the great website and inspiring lessons! I’m thinking of getting new pickups and it looks like you are using DiMarzios. Would you please let me know which models they are? I love the sound you are getting from them, and it sounds like the line6 is emulating a fuzz face.

    • Carl Brown on February 27, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      Hey Manny, at the time I made this video lesson I was using a Dimarzio Fast Track 2, Pro Track and Chopper in my EJ strat. I have since gone back to the original EJ pickups.

      Thanks for watching!! Carl.. ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Zhiv on April 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Great lessons, exemple for beginners, intermediares and advances players.


  8. Mitch on April 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for this lesson Carl! I love EJ and have tried to figure out his picking technique forever. EJ is my favorite as well and I’d love to see more lessons in his style. Thanks again…

  9. Perry Robertson on August 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Carl Thanks so much for the breakdowns, I’ve always played by ear and have finally realized i need the fundamentals, I catch on really fast so wow thanks so much my playing has already improved like in the last 15 minutes no BS…..My best to you I will be contributing to your site, Your a great teacher…God Bless Thanks Bro!!!

  10. John on April 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Your videos are entertaining to watch and provide an accurate demonstration of technique and musical application visually to the fretboard ,and the pdf for the music stand.I also enjoy your approach to the music with the fine understanding of tone and effects..good job ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Carl Brown on April 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Hey John, thanks a bunch. I am glad to have you here at my site. Please let me know if you have any questions at all about any of the lessons.

      Cheers! Carl..

  11. John on April 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    My question for you is what chords can you play over the examples you provided here for the pentatonic lessons..thanks for response

  12. Warren on February 10, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Carl,

    Thankyou so much for all the amazing work you are doing on your 365 site. The EJ work has totally blown me away he and you are out of this world. I feel I have come on as a musician so much since I found your site. I have checked out your Jazz section, I love it and your approach.

    I enjoy the way you explain things, I find it clear and easy to understand. I have looked up many teacher on the net but you are the best I have found along with Andrew Wasson. Thank you once again for all the brilliant work on this awesome site.


    • Carl Brown on February 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      Hey Warren, thanks a bunch. If you like the few jazz lessons I have on the site I think you will really like the all new jazz guitar section I will be adding to the Premium section very soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Also, have you seen the “Soloing In The Style Of Eric Johnson” complete video course in the Premium section?

      Cheers! Carl..

  13. Ferdz on October 4, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Thanks man, I’m learning lots from you, Keep up the good work!!!

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