Combining Mixolydian & Minor Pentatonic

Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen constantly jam out classic blues-rock licks and riffs using a very cool process that combines the Mixolydian Mode and the Minor Pentatonic Scale. This unique blending process involves overlaying these two scales while also taking advantage of each of their unique melodic intervals.

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The blend we have when layering Mixolydian with the Minor Pentatonic has a lot to do with understanding musical intervals. The combined use of these scales allows us to have two different 3rd intervals. They are the Major 3rd, as well as, the Minor 3rd. This "dual thirds" sound is used extensively in many styles including; rock, blues, soul, funk, jazz, and even country & western music. However, since the application of these blended interval sounds with the Ma & Mi 3rd have their roots in blues, it is quite important to realize that the swing, (or shuffle feel), will also play an important role along-side of their use. Applying this rhythmic feel will be especially helpful in the early days of the blending of these Major & Minor third colors. In the video, I get things started by examining a few neck diagrams of how these two scales overlay their intervals upon the guitar neck. Then, I focus the camera onto the guitar fingerboard and demonstrate some musical lines, plus I will also play through some improvisations using these, "dual", scales. Watch the video lesson to learn more...
Head over to My Website and download the free PDF handout with all of the examples in TAB, as well as, a couple of free MP3 Jam-Tracks related to this guitar lesson.

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    AlanHB
    Isn't this just the same as playing a minor pentatonic in a major key? By virtue of being in a major key you already have the major scale, using the minor pentatonic in this context employs b3 and b7 accidentals. Mixolydian is just the major scale with a b7 so Im unsure why you'd refer to it at all considering the b7 is already present from the minor pentatonic.
    mbself73
    Not exactly. It has more to do with reintroducing the 2, the major 3 and the 6 back into the tones available. Or in the case of his example, when you superimpose the A mixolydian on top of the A minor pentatonic you add B natural, C# and F# back into the mix. Or, the way I visualize it, I play in the key signature of D while thinking in terms of A, G natural(or the flat 7), C# and F# being the tonal home row, if you will, for my improvisation. A becasue it is the tonic, G because it is a strong tonality being a flat 7 and the two "new" notes being the added flavor to break up the un of the mill pentatonic solo.