Pentatonic Sequences In The Style Of Tony Iommi

Learn to play six fun and easy pentatonic sequence licks/riffs in the style of Tony Iommi with Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman, aka Uncle D. These six pentatonic sequences are signature lick and riff ideas from the Godfather of metal, Tony Iommi, are sure to give you some guitar bliss and hopefully some ideas for riffs and licks of your own. So be sure to get the free tabs to go with the video instruction and you will rockin’ tonight!

Tony Iommi pentatonic sequences


How’s it going everybody? This is Darrin with bringing you this video lesson and today I’ve got six fun and not too terribly difficult pentatonic sequence riffs from Tony Iommi.

So right now, Guitar Control is giving away this really awesome daily practice routine to improve your lead guitar chops. This was put together by our very own Silvio Gazquez, a two-time Guitar Idle finalist. This routine covers the four main concepts that are necessary for lead guitar; alternate picking, legato, sweep picking and tapping. All the tabs and exercises are all included in this free ebook and there’s a link in the description where you can get yours.

So be sure to click on the link in the description for the tabs and let’s get close up and take a look at these.

Pentatonic Sequence-1

All right, so this very first one is actually not just in pentatonic, it has a minor sixth in it, so it’s more like a natural minor riff than a pentatonic riff. But you could think of it either way because we’re not doing the major second either and that’s in the natural minor scale. So it’s like partially pentatonic and partially natural minor, but this is a really cool riff and it’s also a really good exercise just for picking. So it’s really easy, it’s here in G minor. So we have our first finger here on the third fret and we’re gonna play that three times and then we’re gonna go to the sixth fret on the E string and then we’re gonna go to the A string; three, five, six, three, five… Then back to the sixth fret of the low E, back to the third fret of the A string and then ending on the fifth fret of the A string. So that riff just repeats and like I said it it’s like a kind of a good picking exercise because you just want to alternate pick it.

Pentatonic Sequence-2

All right, so moving along to sequence number two, this time it’s a segment out of Iron Man and this is a really good example Tony Iommi style. He does a lot of these and they are like signature riffs and licks that he just uses a lot and this is one of them. So we’re going to start here on the 11th fret of the D string and partially what makes this unique is not the notes, but the timing, it’s kind of swing that he puts onto a lot of his things that he plays. So starting on the D string we go 11 to 9, then we go to the A string and we’re going to go 11, 10, and 9… Then we’re going to move down to the seventh fret and then we’re going to go to the low E string; seven, seven hammer-on to nine and then another nine and then that just repeats…

Pentatonic Sequence-3

All right, now on to sequence number three and this one is also from Iron Man. So now we’re going to start off we’ve got this B5 chord here; so I’m on the seventh fret of the low E with my first finger and then the ninth fret of the A string with my third finger. So we’re going to play this as eighth notes, so this is one. And now we’re gonna do this little climb up the pentatonic scale; so we’re going to go seven, ten. And then we’re going to go to the A string; seven, seven, eight, and nine. And then to the D string, seven, eight, nine… So you can take that idea and hook it together with the previous sequence because they’re both from Iron Man and they’re played back to back more than once and sometimes they’ll do the previous one first and then this one or vice versa.

Pentatonic Sequence-4

All right, now sequence number four here is just more of kind of a little lick, but this isn’t a thing that he uses in soloing, he uses he uses it in the riffs of songs. It’s really recognizable and it’s pretty easy to play and it’s a staple in the Tony Iommi sound. So we’re going to start here on the fifth fret of the D string with your second finger and then my first finger is going to handle the fourth fret. So we’re going to pick and then we’re gonna go four pick four hammer-on to five and pull-off to four. So the counting on this is really kind of weird because this is the downbeat of one and then starting on the and of one we’ve got this, but it’s a it’s a sixteenth note tuplet… Then we’re gonna go to the seventh fret on the A string… recognize that? It’s in War Pigs and tons of songs, even in the later material like Falling Off The Edge Of The world… He uses that particular type of timing all the time so this is a good one just to practice to kind of get down so when you see those riffs in songs as you learn them it makes it much, much easier.

Pentatonic Sequence-5

Now we’re on to sequence number five and this is another one that’s just a more of kind of a lick, but this is just something that he does a lot. One of the things about this that’s worth mentioning why this is a good one to have is that he’s taking a similar kind of lick that you maybe have done before, like a really common kind of a blues lick, but he’s kind of switched it up a little bit. So we’re gonna start off here we’re going to barre our first finger across the 12th fret of the B and the high E strings and then we’re going to go to the 15th fret on the high E string and we’re going to pick that pull to 12 and then follow that with the 12th fret of the B string. So this is triplets, so there’s like one yel-low and then it just repeats… easy to play quick. So like a common one like that would be the… so I just think that’s a little bit different than how I see a lot of other people play it.

Pentatonic Sequence-6

All right, so the sixth and final sequence and this one is another one that’s more of kind of a lick and you should recognize this if you’re a Sabbath fan. So it’s all pentatonic and we’re gonna start off here on the 12th fret of the A string and we’re going to pick that and do a hammer-on to the 14th fret. So I’m using my first finger on 12 and this is an E minor pentatonic box pattern number one. All right, so we’re going to start here on 12 on the A string and we’re going to pick that and do a hammer-on to the 14th fret and we’re going to do the same thing on the D string and then we’re going to hit that 14 again with some vibrato on it. So these first four notes are 16th notes and then when you hit the 14 on the D string a second time it’s an eighth note… Then we’re going to do that again on the D string and then go to the 12th fret on the G string… and he just does just a little tiny bit of a quarter step bend… Then you’re gonna go back to the 12th fret on the A string again, pick, hammer, pick, hammer on the D string and that’s our first measure… Now going on to the second measure, this is a another idea where he has taken a lick that’s like a common kind of a blues lick and he’s kind of changed a little bit and I really have difficulty making this sound good or being able to play it at any kind of tempo. So what he’s done you’ve probably done before, it’s a really common lick, but what he does is he starts off on the 12th fret of the G string. So it goes 12 and then 14 bend followed with the 12th fret of the B and 12th fret of the high E…  it’s really hard to get that, I just don’t think I’d do it very well… And then on the 15th fret of the B string full step band with some vibrato… so the whole thing…


All right, so there you have it, six fun, not too terribly difficult, riff/lick sequences, however you want to look at them, in the style of Tony Iommi. So if you like this lesson be sure to give me a thumbs up and leave a comment down below if you have any questions about this or other guitar related topics. If you’ve not already done so please subscribe to the channel and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss any of the content we upload throughout the week. Well that is all I have for you today thanks for watching and have a great day.