How to Relate Pentatonics to the Nearest Mode (Part 1)

330 is a lot of scales to work through but as I mention in the introduction, this is more about expanding your sonic awareness, then if you do like the sound of a particular scale, you’ll have the tools to map it out over the entire fretboard.

As you can see, I haven’t named any of these scales, although there are two in there that have names: the major and minor pentatonic scales. Aside from these, there are a couple of others that have been popularized such as the ‘Robben Ford’ minor pentatonic where he replaces the b7 with a natural 6.

One way you could name some of these scales is by relating them to the nearest mode.

The modes of the major scale all have a characteristic note or two that defines their sound. In this lesson, we’ll look at pentatonic scales that are closest to the Dorian mode. The Dorian mode contains the intervals: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7. The intervals that define the Dorian mode are the combination of a b3 with a natural 6, or a minor scale with a natural 6.

Scales Relating to the Dorian Mode 

What follows is a selection of scales you could use the next time you go to play the Dorian mode over a progression and/or minor chord.

Scale 140 contains the following intervals: 1 2 b3 5 6 – This is a Dorian scale without the 4 and b7, and by leaving out these two intervals, there’s much more emphasis on the b3 and 6. Quite often it’s what you don’t play or leave out that makes a solo more interesting.

Scale 143 contains the following intervals: 1 2 b3 b6 6 – This could be classed as a Dorian scale with a b6 in it and what this will do is create a chromatic/tension effect over a minor chord.

Scale 146 contains the following intervals: 1 2 b3 6 b7 – The interesting thing here is that there are no notes on middle string (A string in the example pattern), which forces you to come up with anything other than standard Dorian lines.

Scale 52 contains the following intervals: 1 b2 b3 b5 6 – To me this pattern gives you a outside sounding Dorian scale you could use in a jazz/fusion tune. We’re pushing the classic Dorian sound here against the b2 and b5.

Scale 248 contains the following intervals: 1 b3 b5 6 b7 – This is a more stable-sounding Dorian pentatonic as with the addition of the b7, the out-sounding b5 can be worked in more easily.

These are just a few examples, there are plenty more Dorian pentatonic scales in the collection to come across and experiment with.

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