Exotic Pentatonics

by Ben Higgins

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  • Difficulty: 7
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  • Hi and welcome to my new lesson. The name of the game this time is exploring the idea of using the Major Pentatonic scale in place of the Phrygian Dominant (also known as Phrygian Major) mode.

    When we encounter a chord progression that is something along the lines of F#5 / G5 or F# / G then the Phrygian Dominant is the most common choice because the notes correspond well with the chord tones. However, due to the popularity of Yngwie Malmsteen and his use of the mode (which is the 5th mode of the Harmonic Minor scale), people can often be drawn into sounding like Yngwie or another neo classical shredder and we don't want to necessarily sound like somebody else do we?

    So, another option is to use another scale. The Major Pentatonic works because the chord of G includes the major 3rd so we have a major triad. Root, major 3rd, 5th. By using the G Major Pentatonic over the G chord we add the sound of a major2nd, which wouldn't be included if we used the F# Phrygian Dominant mode only.

    In this lesson I've mostly kept the Phrygian Dominant sound over the F#5 chord, only deviating from it briefly. For the G chord, that's where we're using the Major Pentatonic, ok? Normally, we would use the F# Phrygian Dominant over both chords but this time it's different, which is the point of the lesson.

    So, aside from improving your theory options you will be working on:

    -Alternate picking

    So, if you've always thought the Pentatonic scale is just for the blues, think again. The next time you encounter a typical neoclassical style chord progression you'll have more options!

    E A D G B E - Standard Tuning
    Time Sig:
    4/4 with a triplet feel
    Nick Crow 8505 Amp Plugin, Guitar Suite Tube Screamer, Poulin LeCab 2.

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