This lesson will focus on the most basic scale we all know, the minor pentatonic and blues scales, you can also apply these principles to major pents but I have stuck to minor pents so when im talking about pentatonics alone its minor pents.

Pents built on 4th and 5th

Here?s another technique to expand your playing using simple pentatonics. Say you have a progression in Am, as in my example, now you could use A aeolian or you could use A minor pentatonic from a simpler approach. A aeolian is A B C D E FG, to make A minor pentatonic we lose the 2 and 6 notes, giving A C D E G. But if you look closely at A aeolian A min pent isn?t the only min pent scale we can from from A aeolian. If you think about the key of A minor the 4th and 5th notes from minor chords, so lets look at those, the 4th is D, D min pent is made from D F G A C, which are all found in A Aeolian, the 5th is E, E min pent is E G A B D, which again are all found in A Aeolian. So by playing simple pentatonics built of the 4th and 5th of the minor key you can create interesting sounds, it forces you to use different notes that you may otherwise avoid when playing root min pent. This is equally applicable for maj pents, so in C maj you could play F and G maj pents as well. Listen to the example, an Am C G Dm progression, where I solo using firstly Amin pent, then D min pent and finally E min pent (apologies for the dodgy quality, theres also a back track available if you want it pm me and I will email, send over msn etc). Each time I resolve to the tonic A but it always sound slightly different because of the different notes ive been using with it. The example here is more rock like than jazz, just the kind of mood I was in when it was recorded, these principles can be applied to blues or jazz.

Over #11 chord pent half step down

Speaking strictly modally when you see a #11 chord it screams Lydian, (1 2 3 #4 5 6 7) and that would sound fine. However depending on the sound your looking for it can sound a little safe, some might say a little dull. Certainly I don?t think you?d like to think you?ll go your entire musical career only playing Lydian over #4/#11 chords, so heres an easy alternative which sounds fantastic. My example is over an Famj7#11, I used that as it has a very easy voicing for you to record as a vamp and practice over should you wish.


now as I stated before you would traditionally play F Lydian (F G A B C D E) over that, but I would suggest trying E min pentatonic. E min pent (E G A B D) contains all notes found within F Lydian but lacks two of the stronger notes of that scale the root (F) and fifth (C) while the fifth of E min pent is the #4 of F, not having F and C, two safer notes means we play more harmonically interesting notes and phrases, plus its really easy, hey we?re only playing pentatonics, even though it sounds like your playing something more complex.

I have also provided a second example using the B min pentatonic in various positions over a Cmaj7#11 chord.

Moving pents over static chord

So we all know our pentatonics, just about as simple a scale as you can get, but theres no rule stopping us using more than one pentatonic scale over one static chord. Moving through two or three different pentatonic scales can really throw up some interesting sounds. Theres no die hard theory behind it, its all about experimentation, if someone said play Fmin pent over a B7 you might laugh, but have you actually tried it, it might sound great (beat disclaimer I haven?t tried soloing over B7 with F min pent, it could equally sound arse). In the example ive provided im soloing over a static A7 chord which eventually resolves to E7, I start out using A aeolian, then Gm pent, F# min pent and then Em pent and finally back to F# min pent before resolving to the E7 with a G->G# bend. The majority of the switching is in the first bar (!) where I go through A G F# and E, the second bar is E and then F# ( I use the term bar in the loosest sense of the word, ha ha). this approach has the huge advantage of stressing the less obvious notes, which leads to a big expansion in the harmony.

Pent played over 3rd of dom eg F# blues over D7

This is an interesting technique Doug told me about. In basic blues based soloing you would play a minor pentatonic scale based on the root of the I chord, and youd probably stick with that scale over the IV and V (that would be if you haven?t read my previous lesson J). However Doug suggested I try, using a minor pentatonic scale with a root based on the 3rd of the dominant scale, in the audio example I solo over Eb7 so I used the G blues scale, there is a change to Bbmaj7 where I just used the Bb Ionian scale. If we look at the notes of our dominant chord Eb Gb Bb and Db (1 3 5 b7) and the notes of the G blues scale IN RELATION to our dom chord G Bb C Db D F (3 5 6 b7 7) we see we get a nice chromatic set of note, the natural 7 found within the G blues scale means we have b7 7 and root all within our harmony, v.cool sound.

Here is the link to my dmusic site Beatallica , here youll find the relevant audio file, the order is 1 45 pent jam, fmaj7#11 vamp, cmaj7#11 vamp, static A7 vamp with moving pents, G blues over Eb7., once ive done the next lesson I will post the audio file for that and remove the one for lesson 1 so if you want it for keeps get downloading now. As an aside most of the tracks for these lessons were done with a squire bullet strat which one of my friends sons is getting for xmas, sounds good I think youll agree (in the right hands anyway, ha ha). I apologise but there wont be any tabs for this lesson. Its been done over a period of two weeks and with starting college on monday i wont have time to transcribe it, feel free to have a crack yourself. As always lots of feedback please, gives me ideas of where to go for the next lesson, though i have a good idea whatll be, i think its time we raised the bar a notch or two, muhahahaha.
the beginning sounds like a joe satriani composition!!!!
he is a big fan of major pentatonic scales, so its close on the approach as well as tone too, man (y)

that extract was SO him, as in his early days he built his tunes round a a looped drum beat....

heh, i actually stumbled upon that first idea by accident the other day.... it is a very good, and simple way of expanding your sonic arsenal.... the best things in music are often discovered or found by accident....

3rd idea is cool too, its essentially harmonizing chord tones, and building cool phrases with unusual (in the context) notes.

great lesson - its one of those things that opens up your musical mind!

it got me thinking of writing my own lesson on unusual uses of minor pentatonics, though in a different genre
glad you all liked it, has anyone tried oany of this stuff out. The best way to learn is to record vamps of the appropriate chords and solo over them, youll soon get some really cool sounding stuff. I would love to hear some recordings of your efforts.
Originally posted by bangoodcharlote
I'll record stuff, just tell me how.

probably the best way is to check out R&R FAQ https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/announcement.php?s=&forumid=40#3.2

lots of helpful advice on getting your palying heard.
im working on the next lesson, gonna be a while but thats lucky for you as wer're taking things to a whole new level, for now you need to learn the altered scale (super locrian), half/whole diminished, whole/half diminished and mixolydian bebop (mixolydian with a natural 7 passing tone)
I thought it was sort of funny how you ended each phrase on the first bit with that same sustained note. I guess it illustrated the point and that's pretty good.

A good bit to solo over would be a I-IV chord progression...very moody blues, like in "Since I've Been Loving You" it utilizes several scales including C minor pentatonic and C natural minor, among others of course. Oh....and what is the name of the recording program you're using? I really want to put some of my stuff out there.

I'm going to write my own lesson now.
i use cakewalk guitar tracks 2. As stated in the text i did deliberately end each phrase on the tonic to show how its function differs within each of the pentatonic scales.
um,, how is F lydian,, f g a b c d e f....isnt it Bb c d e f g a Bb....
meow :3
This was an excellent lesson.

Definately gonna have to try this stuff out...

(when i get done with my classes... and my exam... ... blah...)
Teaching vs. "Stude"-ing really opened my eyes to what this jazz stuff is all about, so maybe this will add something to the lesson for the visual learners (raises hand.)

Ok, you have 7 modes, that's 3 major, 3 minor and one oddball, which is Locrian.

If I play a C major chord, I have three basic scale options:

Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian

-in a sense, which one I use depends on whether the "C" is the 1st, 4th, or 5th chord of my key, and this is the essence of modes for me.

Alright, you all know Ionian mode, I assume?

To get started with major modes, record a C chord over and over, or have a really devoted friend play it for you.

Now try starting the Ionian mode at the eighth fret. That's Ionian.

...my houseplants know that.

Alright. Now try starting that scale a perfect fourth higher (same fret, 8, just on the A string instead.) You'll now be playing the Major/Ionian scale off of the F, which is also F Major, but it becomes C Mixolydian with the C chord. Now by ear, construct the rest of the scale, the notes on the low E string. That shape is the Lydian shape - trust me, or if you don't, go ahead and check your scale charts.

Ok. Now try starting that Ionian shape we're so familiar with two frets above F, on the 10th fret of the A string.

That's C Lydian mode. Again, check your scale chart. See?

Now with minor's it's exactly the same. If you play an A minor chord, try starting Aeolian at the fifth fret. Then move it up a string (a perfect 4th) and it becomes A Phrygian. Move it up two frets, you've got A Dorian.

..eventually, you will wind up playing the same scale shapes as outlined on the scale charts anyway, but approaching it this way is easier to understand if you're a beginner (well, assuming you know Ionian and Aeolian, the two most essential mode shapes to learn.)

Same applies to pentatonics.

...I call this my "Wild Thing" approach to modes. Wild Thing is an A power chord, then D, E, D, and again A. 5th fret E, 5th fret A, 7th fret A... This is where you're modes reflect the standard scale shape over any given chord (barre chords).

This says essentially the same thing as the other lesson, but it's another approach to it. It's a less theoretical, more visual way of understanding how all of this works.

Good luck!

edit: made some corrections - now it IS right.
"Virtually no one who is taught Relativity continues to read the Bible."

Last edited by Bubonic Chronic at Oct 13, 2004,