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.