Mixing Metal Guitar Scales: Egyptian and Pentatonic

Many guitar scales are used to play metal music. Some of them are exotic, some are common. In this lesson I share with you some mix I like of The Egyptian scale and the regular pentatonic old friend.

Ultimate Guitar
Mixing Metal Guitar Scales: Egyptian and Pentatonic
There are many music scales that are used when it comes to metal. Generally speaking about main genres and subgenres, some of those widely used scales are listed here.

Popular scales used in metal

1. Harmonic Minor Scale
2. Natural Minor Scale
3. Pentatonic Minor
4. Phrygian Dominant (The Egyptian scale, 5th mode of harmonic minor)
5. Byzantine Scale
6. Other modes like Phrygian - Dorian

In this lesson we have a new metal backing track with three sections, in 2 sections we will play the Phrygian Dominant in E and in the middle section we can play a mix of Dorian, Blues and Minor pentatonic.

The following is an improvised solo as a demo. It's a full track but you can watch till 1:14 to have an idea about the sections of this backing track.

Here is a list of the scales used:

1- Section 1: Verse: E Phrygian Dominant - Phrygian
2- Section 2: Chorus: Minor Pentatonic - Dorian - Minor Blues
3- Section 3: Bridge: E Phrygian Dominant - Phrygian

Now, Let's check in detail what each section has.

Section 1: Verse

Note: Lets agree First that all scales provided in all lessons have one purpose, is to act as plan for you to find your way on the fretboard. For this you never have to play the scale as one chunk up and down. This will sound very amateurish and most likely to be disturbing for listeners who are non guitar players.

Always start to play short phrases and use the scale map as a guide to play in harmony with chord changes as they happen. Once you have mastered the chord changes and the scales you can begin to play faster or solo in long phrases.

In the first section we have power chords E5 and F5 in the first half, with this we can play the E Phrygian Dominant or the Phrygian. In the second half we have E5, F5 and G5 so to be accurately in harmony we have to play the Phrygian. Look at the maps and the backing track below and try to experiment those scales in this section.

As you noticed in the demo you don't to play vertically in one box all the time, always try to have a good balance between vertical and linear horizontal movement over the fretboard.

Now try to play those ideas in this section until 00:39

Section 2: Chorus

This part sounds heavier because it seems slower and that allows you to play with more feeling and have more chance to express with techniques such vibrato, bending... etc.

However, scales in this section sound more familiar, not exotic like in section 1, and that's because they all have to do with the minor pentatonic scale. We talked about many examples in the mixing blues scales lesson. We can play the Dorian or the blues scale which include all the notes of the minor pentatonic scale.

Look at the maps below and do your experiments with the backing above until you reach 00:57.


Section 3: Bridge

This part is similar to the verse part or section 1, It's got the same chords yet it's played in clean sound. One important aspect of guitar playing is "dynamics". In this section it's a good practice to lower the intensity of your playing to match the change in the energy level and the general vibe of this section.

So play the same Egyptian and Phrygian scales but this time with long notes. Try to play less notes and make each one deliver a higher expression by duration and emphasis techniques like bending and vibrato.

Below is a quick video lesson, if you are tired with too much text:) You may find some more details and useful tips

Hope this is a good exercise and application to apply scale mixing. Check my profile for other lessons on mixing guitar scales.

About the Author:
This lesson is prepared and produced by Only Guitar Backing Tracks  - a dedicated YouTube channel for guitar backing tracks and lessons. You are welcome to subscribe and spread the word. Keep rocking. Watch samples and get notifications for all new content on my Instagram here


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    Nice Job. I like being able to see all of the notes and how they relate.
    Thanks, I'm happy to get this comment. I'm trying to adjust the lesson style to be more useful as much as possible.