Eric Johnson lick and the hexatonic scale

One thing I never hear people
talk about is hexatonic scales.
Usually we either deal with
pentatonics (5 notes), or diatonics
(7 notes), but hexatonics fall
right in the middle.

You can think of it as either a diatonic
minus 1 note, or a pentatonic with
1 extra note.

This particular hextaonic scale
that I’m showing here (minor
pentatonic plus the major 2nd)
has a cool sound and you can
create some “Eric Johnson”
sounding licks.

CHeck it out.

Hey, guys. Claude Johnson here from
and yes, I am feeling a little crazy today,
got my frog hat going and it’s all good though,
because today I want to show you this really cool lick.
I just kind of discovered it on the fretboard.
It’s got like an Eric Johnson tonality.
It goes like this.

What’s special about this lick and what
gives it that sound is that I’m using a
special scale, which is a hexatonic scale.
Hexatonic is six notes. Now, I’m sure you’ve
all heard of pentatonic scale, which is five notes.
If you haven’t, please check-out,
get up to speed on the basics.

This scale is like the G pentatonic scale,
but I’m adding the A note with it. So think
of your G pentatonic scale here on the 10th
fret of the A string. Just add in that A, six-note scale.
We’re going to be hitting this A here and here.

So the lick goes like this. You start off
on the 10th fret of the D string and then 10th
to 12th. Go to the G string again, 10th to 12th.
So your first four notes are like this.
Then you go up to your B string and you go 11th to 10th.
That’s where you’re hitting that A.
So you can emphasize that with a little
bit of vibrato. Then you just go back down.

When you get back down to your D you can use
sweep picking to hit your G string again.
So you have this. And then, again, you can
hit that low A coming down. So real slow.

Check the tabs and I just want to mention
that hexatonics, there are different ones.
A real common one is the southern rock scale.
So, for example, if you’re in A pentatonic here,
you can add-in the 4th. So you have that 4th.

In this case, we’re not adding the 4th,
we’re adding the 2nd. In both cases it’s
like almost like a major/minor scale, but
with one fewer note. Or you can think of it as
a pentatonic adding a note. I hope that made sense to you.
If you need more information on kind of all
the scales and how they connect, check out
Killer Guitar Control Secrets at
and I’ll decode a lot of stuff for you,
including major versus minor pentatonics
and all that cool stuff.

Anyway, this is just a cool lick and
I hope you enjoyed it. Again, get the
link to get the tabs and I will see you
next time. Rock on.

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Wavatar Annette Elizabeth sykes

Awesome and inspiring, still struggling with my first few lessons, but what a sound to aim for. So glad I am learning from you. Annette

Wavatar Mike

No worries…..”FrogHat” was a great group!

Wavatar frank aragona

fog was and still is a great band mike are u a fool for the city lol

Wavatar Mike

Great scale and no worries about the hat…….”FrogHat” was a great band!

Wavatar Fabian Sifuentes (Kainan)

AWESOME!!! Gonna work on that type of scale…EJ is one of my FAVE guitarists! Cliffs of Dover is my personal “listen to when I’m feeling down song” cause it uplifts me! Great scale! Thanks a million!

Wavatar Mark in PA

Funny about the Hexatonic Scale…. I am working on THE ROVER by Zeppelin and in the performance notes it references how during the solos Page throws in the Hexatonic Scale…. all the masters must be hinting that we all should learn it!!

Wavatar Chris

Brother, I have a Martin D-28 with a pickup in it. I would like to ask you a couple of questions. Can you contact me when you have a sec.
Chris Antal

Wavatar Manhattan Mark

Hey claudfrogster… you’re right .. that sound is very pretty… and I’m Man enough to say so.. yes “Pretty” LOL…

Wavatar Mark

Cool Claude, thanks. For us Eric Johnson fans is there any more you can offer for us to capture his unique phrasing, scales, sound, feeling etc. Broken down for a hack like me would help a lot.

Cheers….. nice hat btw…

Wavatar Kyle

Cool! Thanks!

Wavatar Greg Ori

This scale reminds me of the F /Dm stuff that Eric clapton played on the original Disraeli Gears album . World of Pain/ White room etc. Thanks for sharing that .

Wavatar Greg Ori

oh yea.

Wavatar Mark Helfant

Hey Claude,

That sounds great! Would you mind sharing what effects and amp settings you’re using with your beautiful SG?



Wavatar Aaron F.Owens

Thank you. That was great. I started to poke around here and now have to figure out which DVD to get first. See you soon.

Wavatar Francisco Jose Sunsin

I a ready buy the Guitar Control Method, I am Left hand guitar player, I learn to play in Right hand guitar, I am try to use the Guitar control like a Base to start my Left hand guitar , Thanks Claude Johnson

Wavatar John K

Thanks Claude! That is a Very COOL Lick. Eric Johnson is one of my favorite guitarists… the ONLY guy I’ve ever seen who can play the really difficult & “obscure” stuff from Hendrix’s ARE YOU EXPERIENCED Masterpiece album. See & hear him do that title cut plus LOVE OR CONFUSION on the Awesome DVD “Live From Austin Texas”… recorded December 14, 1988 for the Austin City Limits TV program. He also does CLIFFS OF DOVER, DESERT ROSE, and other great tunes he’s written. It’s no surprise that he’s toured with Steve Vai & Joe Satriani… he is a master of the instrument.

Wavatar Mike Smith

nice lick actually sounds like a Joe Bonamassa style 🙂

Wavatar Des

Claude, good stuff, you are a mine of information. I wish there were more time in the day.

Wavatar Mark 4 Rok

Here is a cool LITTLE lick Scale: A, B, C, Eb, E, F, G#. See how phreeky you can get with that.

Wavatar JR

nice lick…

Wavatar Paul

You Nut. What have you been smoking? LOL! Nice lick. Eric Johnson is a great guitar player and composer. Claude I wish you zoomed in on your guitar neck when showing how to play these licks. Then using the tabs for referance when I forget it. TNXS.

Wavatar Terry brown

Thanks Claude I will try the hexatonic scale…… you say…..

Wavatar Gerald

your last two videos would not launch, this one included

Wavatar Christopher Goodsell

Love this new lick you emailed me, been practicing it today…I really enjoy all the licks,chords and modes you send.In the future looking forward to learning
all the vertical scales.I have been out of practice for awhile now.Getting ready to challenge my 17 year old son in a play off.

Wavatar David Ryan

Just wanted to thank you for all the cool licks you provide for free!

Wavatar Steve

Very cool flavor to this scale, and yes it does remind me of Eric Johnson’s style.

Wavatar Bill green

Thanks Brother you have convinced me to start learning and playing guitar agin I’ve been playing piano as of late I want to teach my grand children to play after all it’s the universal. Language that sets our souls free thank you agin.Bill

Wavatar justin

very cool

Wavatar benjybob

nice one

Wavatar Donnie M

Nice one, Claude! Love Eric’s stuff! Tough fingering at the end, though (at least for me).

Wavatar ray gambol

Hey Claude, i have been trying to find tab for an old Prince song. “Adore”. U know that song? Can u play it? Can u share the notes? Thanks!

Wavatar Bob

Thanks for the tip-always love the extra;s

Wavatar Evan Hadnot

Nice – I will work with it.


Wavatar George Wright

beautiful stuff man- just keep it up!

I Put a Hex (spell) on U – c3- Screamin Jay Hawkins – Nina Simone- The Animals

Wavatar John Nathan

…awesome…thanks man!

Wavatar Barry Beitel

I’ve always been a fan of Eric Johnson. His “Cliffs of Dover” piece from “A Via Musicom” is still one of my all-time favorite guitar pieces.

Wavatar steve howland

thanks Claude. Appreciate the help. love Eric Johnson’s

Wavatar Ed

Nice. So you are 1-2-3b. Very nice sound. I might have played that note progression 1000 times without getting that sound. Hey, I still watch “Secrets” now and then. Thx.

Wavatar D. Burke

I find this very interesting… hexatonic scales…as I noticed that several song melodies I’ve investigated use them.

Just curious…in the tablature of the lick, I actually count only five different tones(pentatonic), not six (hexatonic). I guess that’s because not every note of the hexatonic scale needs to be used. Just caught me off guard that the D (2nd) is added to the C-minor pentatonic scale, but the flatted 3rd (Eb) of the C-minor pentatonic scale is left out. So it’s still appears to be a five tone(pentatonic) lick. But, apparently, it’s five tones from a six tone scale.

Wavatar D. Burke

Ooops, my bad. Ignore my earlier post.

I see now six tones. Duh. It appears to be a G-minor pentatonic scale, plus the major second(A).

The six notes of the scale are: G -A-Bb-C-D-F.

Got it…finally.

Wavatar Jon

That sounded very nice when you ran through it FAST @ around 2:33 – 2:36!

Wavatar Lisa D

Love your easy goin LOL extensions, grab my attention deliveries. Never know what’s coming next! PHD: Penta, Hexa, Dia, 5, 6, and 7 note tonics to get down. Thanks Claudio. From still learnin. Rock on …


actually a good lesson…thank u your sound is terrible and fizzy but u are a good coach

Wavatar David Wallace

Seems like a pentatonic with an added 13th? Cool sound and one I’ve been trying to incorporate lately to change it up a bit.


Wavatar Drake Johnson

Hey Claud; Eric Johnson is a Great Player, no doubt about that one, Steve Morris is another Great one, but you don’t get to hear much from him lately ! Also, he had a guy oper for him in Minneapolis one night, Larry Mitchle, he was very good, don’t know if he’s still playing, but his album was recorded with the former leader of the Youngbloods ! Can’t recall the title of it off hand ! Anyhow, that was one great show aswell ! Great job on the Johnson lick, and keep rockin, when I get my arm fixed, I have a lot of work to get caught up on my playing, and hope to back to making my fingers working to try some of what you have shown in your video lessons ! Thanks a lot Claude !

Wavatar Jonh

Thanks !! It has familiar sounds !!

Wavatar roger rabbit.

hi claude. nice one .short and sweet. keep them coming.roger………..

Wavatar Cadman

The “Sound” from the Guitar – what “Pedal” does that !?!?!?

Wavatar Pete Sprague

Good lick Claude, Definately going to try it. I remember playing it a long time ago in Cliffs of Dover. Love that song.

Wavatar Matdude


Wavatar NOEL G.