Em to G Embellishment Riff

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In this guitar lesson, we’re going to cover an embellishment riff that I like using in songs that have an Em to G major chord change.

This riff comes right out of the E pentatonic minor scale, which hopefully you’re familiar with by now. Why E pentatonic minor? Well, the chords in question are Em and G, so those overlay perfectly with the Em scale. However, if you take a look at the notes that are being used, you’ll find they also are found in Root 5 B minor diatonic scale as well, which is relative to D major… which is the key the example chord progression is found in.

Personally I find it just a little clearer in my own mind to relate to it from Em, but either way is technically okay. Probably the B minor scale makes more sense to most people.

In case you want to play along, the chord progression I demonstrated this with is just D A Em G A.

Understanding your chords and how they integrate with your guitar scales is the key to finding riffs like this one. I recommend my Guitar Scale Patterns lesson as a great place to start.

Leave a Reply 8 comments

Rick - April 19, 2012 Reply


    Jonathan Boettcher - April 19, 2012 Reply

    Hey Ric, it’s a Takamine EF360SC… Japanese made.

Scooga - April 20, 2012 Reply

Hey what’s up JB. I’ve been pay close attention to your emails and things are becoming much clearer even though i play the bass the chord progressions are correlated. I can play a bunch of songs (300) that’s easy but knowing what’s going on inside the is hard and i won’t to thank you for making things clearer. PEACE!!!!!

revdrdark - May 8, 2012 Reply

Thanks for all the protips, man.
Always like to add the little flourishes to keep the proven grooves interesting.

terry7170 - April 15, 2013 Reply

I’ve been going to the sites you gave and all I get is blogs, no lesson.

    Jonathan Boettcher - April 16, 2013 Reply

    Hi Terry, I’m aware of this problem and I believe it is only on older versions of Internet Explorer. We’re trying to fix it, but in the meantime I would recommend upgrading to the most recent version of Internet Explorer, or else use FireFox or Chrome or Safari instead.

Dan - May 5, 2013 Reply

I don’t seem to pick up your lesson threw my computer……It was working a while ago…..Now I just get the comment section…..What up????

Douglas - March 5, 2015 Reply

Great ideas. A very useful lesson. Thanks and have a wonderful day.

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