Blowing Your Mind With The Pentatonic Scale

author: mayermick86 date: 10/17/2012 category: scales
rating: 4.6 / votes: 16 
Blowing Your Mind With The Pentatonic Scale
The pentatonic scale is very common scale that often gets used over and over again in the same "classic", yet to the motivated guitarist possibly considered boring, concepts through out various styles and forms of music. This lesson is going to show you two theory concepts to use the minor pentatonic scale in new ways to hopefully help inspire you as well as a new technique for each that breaks out of the "box" shape a lot of players get stuck in. I strongly urge players of any degree of skill to attempt to learn the example's provided to under stand the concepts in technique used to break out of typical "box" positions. I also would highly recommend drawing a fret board diagram and circling the notes of the scale first then using a high lighter to draw lines and make shapes that look easy or interesting to play. A visual aid such as this can be very helpful to see the scale in a new perspective and be used to invent new licks of your very own. The first concept we are going to look at is playing a minor pentatonic scale from a perfect 5th above our tonic. In this case we will pretend some one is playing in the key of "E" in some situation where normally they would play the E minor pentatonic scale. "B" is the perfect 5th of "E", so we will begin constructing our scale from there. To build a pentatonic scale start from our tonic note "B" and move forward a step and a half giving you "D", from there move a whole step up to "E", then another whole step up to "F#", followed by a step and a half up to "A" finally. Playing this scale with the notes B, D, E, F#, and A will be playing a different mode of the B pentatonic scale and in relation to E the intervals you will be playing are a major 2nd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, and minor 7th. This creates a "suspended" sort of sound and sounds great over a multitude of situations. Example 1. is a string skipping and tapping line to be played in the key of E. All the note's involved are from the B pentatonic scale.
e------------------------------------------------------------12-----12-14-17
b-------------------------------------------t-------------------------------
g---------------------------11-----11-14-16-19-16-14-11-14-16--14-16--------
d----------t----------------------------------------------------------------
a-12-14-17-19-17-14-12-14-17--14-17-----------------------------------------
E---------------------------------------------------------------------------

|-t--t--t-----------------t--t---|
e-19-22-19-17-14-12-14-17-22-24~-]
b--------------------------------]
g--------------------------------]
d--------------------------------]
a--------------------------------]
E--------------------------------]
Next is a really cool way to apply the minor pentatonic scale in a colorful jazzy/blues kinda way over a major chord or key. Again this will be for soloing over the key of "E". This time though we will be building our minor pentatonic scale from the major 7th of our tonic or in other words a half step behind "E". Using the same step wise pattern described in the paragraph above to make a pentatonic scale we have the notes D#, F#, G#, A#, and C#. Note that these note's do not use our root note for the key of "E" or it's perfect 5th "B", this creates an interesting "jazzy" sound by neglecting to use some of the chord tones. In relation to the key of E you are now playing the intervals of a major 2nd, major 3rd, augmented 4th, major 6th, and major 7th. This implies the E Lydian mode as you are already using every interval of the Lydian mode besides the tonic and perfect 5th. If using this pentatonic scale in a "chromatic-bluesy" sort of manor you can create some cool major blues sounding lead ideas as well. Example 2. is a lick the utilizes sweep picking to and is to be played over the key of E major. All the notes used in this example are from the D# minor pentatonic scale from the above paragraph plus a few "bluesy" chromatic notes .
e-------------------------------------------------------]
b------------------11h14h16p14--------------------------]
g----------------13-----------15--14--------------------]
d--------11h12h13---------------16--16h14s11------------]
a------13-----------------------------------13----------]
E-11h14---------------------------------------14h11s12~-]
Now the real trick is to try these concepts out in your own playing and inventing your own musical phrases. Hope you enjoyed the lesson and it inspires some mind blowing pentatonic licks and ideas of your own.
More mayermick86 lessons:
+ Theory Break Down Of The Half-Hole Step Diminished Scale Soloing 09/27/2012
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