This leads to a conclusion: We can think of a mode as being a five-note pentatonic scale with two added degrees. No matter what key you play in the pattern will always be the same. The easiest way to hear a minor scale is to look out for a general ‘sad’ tone. For example, if you were moving from C pentatonic to Eb, you’d have moved the C up by a minor third. This means you should move the D up to the F, the E up to a G and so on. These guitar modes are just the start of learning the vocabulary of music. That simple hack will really make a difference to your lead playing. Read my Music Intervals article if you do not understand any of the intervals listed below. The pentatonic scale is also more ambiguous, but this is a good thing, because it means that it’s harder to play “bad” notes — notes that, although they’re within the key, may not fit well against any given chord in the progression. The three easiest ways to create sadness in a minor pentatonic melody are to use the minor 3rd that connects the C to the Eb (this is the interval that defines this scale as minor); the minor 3rd that connects the G to the Bb (this is the interval that creates a minor chord V); and the tone leap that connects the Bb to C (if this was raised, it would create a leading note and a major third interval. You can use the minor pentatonic with the major 2nd to play over chords built on the 2nd and 6th scale degrees unless it is a minor 6 (Dorian chord). However, the two are incredibly closely linked. So, for example, try creating a few guitar riffs using the G minor pentatonic scale in the third position (beginning on the 8th fret). If you want the full Dorian sound then add the major 6th as well. There are no limits here. Remember, a major pentatonic has all the notes in a 6 add9 chord, while the minor pentatonic scale has the notes of a m11 chord. The notes F and B (the tritone) are the notes that are missing from the C major pentatonic scale. What’s the Pentatonic Scale Good For? We're going to play the A minor pentatonic scale in the second position. Continue to play the scale, being sure to play all notes on the seventh fret with your third finger, and notes on the eighth fret with your fourth finger. As its name implies, the pentatonic scale contains five notes, which is two notes shy of the normal seven-note major and minor scales, which creates a more open and less linear sound. In this lesson, we are going to be in the key of G major. Blues Modes and the Pentatonic Scale. m7b5 = 1-b3-b5-b7 = rootless V9 chord, e.g. Not bad for a scale that’s two notes shy of a major scale. Since the first and last notes of the pentatonic scale are the same note (an octave up), you can just begin repeating the pattern to play further up the string. For rock guitar, you’ll want to learn to play the pentatonic scale, which supplies you with better melodic fodder. (Guitar Technique). Below you will find scale boxes for both Major and Minor. Then, you can simply move each note of scale up by the same amount you moved the first note up. In C, this means you move by a minor 3rd straight up to the Eb, then by two tones taking you to F and then to G, then you’ll jump by a minor 3rd again to land on the Bb, and then one final tone to take you back to C. As such, you can use this exact pattern for each Pentatonic scale to check you’d moved your notes to the right place. The major and minor scales may be music-education stalwarts, but they sound a bit academic when used over chord progressions. The important thing to remember when considering scales is that they can be transposed with ease. This effectively removes the possibility for dissonance within the scale, as the tritone interval and semitone changes are removed, allowing only for smoothness. The major pentatonic is just as simple and easy to understand as the minor. Aurelien Budynek is a guitarist based in NYC. 1 being your index finger and 4 being your pinky finger. The mode built on the leading tone of the major scale is known as Locrian and has the following intervals using B as an example: B Locrian = B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B = 1-b9-b3-4-b5-b6-b7. Once you've done this, try playing back down the fretboard, in reverse order, until you arrive back at the fifth fret. You've just played an A minor pentatonic scale, in second position. m11b5 = 1-b3-b5-b7-11 = rootless V9/13 chord, e.g. As an example: The strangest sounding one might be the Lydian-Minor scale, but it is very interesting to try it to add new colors to your solos. Or you can flip that and turn a major pentatonic scale into a major scale mode by adding the appropriate 4th and 7th … The Little-Known Pentatonic Modal Trick. Note: To use this pattern as a minor pentatonic scale, the root of the scale is played by your fourth finger on the sixth string.


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