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GMC Forum _ THEORY _ What Are Mixolydian Pentatonic Scales

Posted by: The Professor Jun 3 2013, 06:58 PM

What Are Mixolydian Pentatonic Scales

Usually the first scale any guitarist learns when beginning their exploration of the lead side of the instrument is the Minor Pentatonic Scale. While this scale can cover a lot of ground when soloing over songs, there are some moments where you want a Pentatonic vibe in your playing, but want a “Dominant 7th” sound to your lines.

This is where the Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale comes in.

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at the theory behind the Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale, how it is built, how to apply it to your soloing and a few common fingerings that you can explore in the practice room.

How to Build a Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale

The Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale is built from the following interval pattern.

Root - 2 - 3 - 5 -b7

You can see these notes laid out in tab and notation for an C Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale here.

You can also think of the Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale as being a fragment of the corresponding Mixolydian Scale.

If you have a C Mixolydian Scale, C D E F G A Bb, and you take out the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and b7th notes, C D E G Bb, you now have a C Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale.

To apply this scale in a soloing situation, you can use the Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale over major, 7th, 9th and 13th chords.

2 Common Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale Fingerings

To help get you started, here are two common fingerings for the C Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale, one with a 6-string root, and one with a 5-string root.

Try memorizing these scales in the key of C first, then take them to the other 11 keys around the neck as you expand on these scale shapes in your guitar practice routine.

Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale Practice Guide

To finish up, here are a number of ways that you can practice Mixolydian Pentatonic scales in order to get the fingerings, and theory, behind these scales under your fingers and into your guitar playing.

1. Sing the root note, C for example, and play the corresponding Mixolydian Pentatonic Scales over that root.
2. Play a root note on the guitar, C for example, and then sing the corresponding Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale over that root note.
3. Say the note names, or interval numbers, such as C D E G Bb or 1 2 3 5 b7, as you play and sing the notes in the above exercises.
4. Put on a static vamp, C, C9, C7 or C13 for example, and practice soloing over those chords using the related Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale as the basis for your solo.
5. Repeat any/all of the above exercises in all 12 keys.

Do you have a question or comment about Mixolydian Pentatonic Scales? If so, share them in the comments section below this thread.

Posted by: tflava Oct 30 2016, 06:45 PM

I have a question.
If i have a 12 bar blues in a.
Can i play the a dominant scale over all chords or do i have to move with the chords?
That i plat D dominant pentatonic over the D chords?

Greetz tim

Posted by: The Professor Oct 30 2016, 07:00 PM


you have to play one scale for each chord. So A mixo pent for A7, D mixo pent for D7, and E mixo pent for E7.

Hope that helps!

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