Pentatonic Extravaganza

This lesson will be covering an expanded look on the minor pentatonic scale and we will continue my trend of modal playing.

Pentatonic Extravaganza
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Hey everybody, welcome to my lesson on expanding your vocabulary. Today we will do this with the minor pentatonic scale, why? Well we are all comfortable with the minor pentatonic scale and its positions and so on. I would be beating a dead horse if I tried to teach you the pentatonic minor scale, so if you aren't quite too savvy with the scale there are loads of lessons on UG that will take you through the ins and outs of the scale and it's positions. So now here is my lesson. I have looked at modal playing with arpeggios in my previous lesson Pulling Apart the Major Scale, and now I want to break down each mode for you using pentatonics that have been super imposed on each other. Using pentatonics makes things simpler because there are less notes to play, so we tend to get more expressive with them. If we look at the Ionian mode, we can use the example of the C major scale. If we play the A minor pentatonic, the D minor pentatonic and the e minor pentatonic, we will see that these scales cover all of the notes in the C major scale (C Ionian). So let's put it to numbers because that's what we as guitarists live off of: vi, ii, iii. There is our formula for playing pentatonic scales to imply a c major scale, or any other major scale. This works for all the modes in every key. You can relate every mode to a major scale, but when playing modal chords and soloing with these pentatonics you can really spice things up. So here are the formulas for each mode, all of these apply in any key: Ionian - 6 2 3 Dorian - 1 2 5 Phrygian - 1 4 b7 Lydian - 3 6 7 Myxolydian - 2 5 6 Aeolian - 1 4 5 Locrian - b3 4 b7 So for instance if you are playing in F# minor, then you can play the F# minor pentatonic, B minor pentatonic and the C# minor pentatonic, and you have your F# minor scale. This is a cool place to start to bring more life to your pentatonic scales besides doing all the traditional blues playing (not saying it isn't worth anything either!). Don't be afraid of passing tones, really get in the grove with these scale formulas. This works well for any genre fusion players use this kind of thing to no end and check out the Dorian: 1 2 5. There's our favorite 2-5 jazz progression. Rockers and metallers, you know what to do.

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    Hydra150
    If we look at the Ionian mode, we can use the example of the C major scale. If we play the A minor pentatonic, the D minor pentatonic and the e minor pentatonic, we will see that these scales cover all of the notes in the C major scale (C Ionian).
    Call me crazy or old fashioned, but I'd tend to call playing the notes of the C major scale playing the C major scale. Giving it these other names that that apply to boxes on the fretboard just reinforces thinking about music in terms of shapes rather than sounds.
    Sir_Taffey
    Not really what I was going for, I wanted to try and look at trying to stray from the chord tones and using different sets of the notes at a time. EVERYTHING is about how it sounds, but it is nice for when you are improvising over a track to experiment with. Sorry that it came across that way. I was just trying to show another way of putting things together. Because last I noticed with caged systems and bar chords we teach beginners shapes to make music with before they can experiment and do something else with it.
    evanstark
    Ionian doesn't refer to a "box" or area on the fretboard (although some people use this nomenclature this way, it's not exactly accurate). It is simply another name for the Major scale itself.
    MaggaraMarine
    Hydra's point was, why give the C major scale three names (Am pentatonic, Dm pentatonic and Em pentatonic)? This pretty much makes you think in boxes. And IMO usually playing Dm pentatonic over Am track, it sounds like you are playing in the wrong key. Why is that? I don't know. Maybe it's because the pentatonic sound is so natural. And you are kind of playing the "wrong" pentatonic scale over the "wrong" key Though I understand what the article is talking about. It may help some beginners who already know all pentatonic scales to play the whole major (or minor) scale. If thinking in pentatonics helps, why not? And if that's just how you memorize the notes in the scale, it's OK. But I think many people wouldn't memorize them as one scale but three different scales and would be thinking in Am, Dm and Em pentatonic rather than C major scale.
    Molomono
    The hell you on, if Ionian has the same notes as a major scale how would it imply a box anymore than the major scale does. That's a mental limitation YOU came up with.
    Playsabadguitar
    I get that some people might find it helpful to use their knowledge of the pentatonics to learn other scales. If you want to go that route, you can always think of C major as all the notes NOT in E flat minor pentatonic. E major as all the notes not G min pent and so on.
    rockgodman
    The premise of the article is actually a pretty legit trick in getting more mileage out of pentatonic vocabulary where you can play stuff you know in three different spots on the neck and remain in the same key. However this article does a terrible job of showing and articulating the main point. Too much jargon and the word "mode" and not enough of what I just said at the beginning of this post.
    Guns_O
    "...there are loads of lessons on UG that will take you through the ins and outs of the scale and it's positions...", so you wont have to read this nonsense.
    daylightdies370
    even if this was actually not crap, ug doesn't need any more pentatonic lessons. There is more than enough pentatonic crap on here already.