The minor 6th pentatonic scale is a great sound on dominant chords, altered or unaltered. In this lesson I will go over how you can use it on a blues in F and demonstrate how it works for both types of dominants.
I will go over how to find the right scales and how to play them over a blues in one position. Then I’ll discuss the target notes a bit and play an example of a solo using the scale.
If you want a small introduction to the minor 6th pentatonic scale you can check out my first lesson on the subject: Minor 6th Pentatonic scale You can also check out the scale charts on my site: Min6th Pentatonic scales in positions
Finding a minor 6th pentatonic for an unaltered dominant chord
If we look at the C minor 6th pentatonic scale it is C Eb F G A C. As you can see this scale contains an F7 and also an Am7b5 (since it contains Cm6). That means that we have a scale that works well for that chord.
To reverse engineer that: If we have an F7 we can play Cm6 pentatonic over it:
For a dom7th chord without alterations we can use the m6 pentatonic from the 5th of the chord.
Finding a minor 6th pentatonic for an altered dominant chord
In order to find the m6 pentatonic scale that we need for the altered dominant we should maybe try and associate the scale with a melodic minor scale. If we take a C7alt then you probably knwo that C altered is the same as Db melodic minor, and you can also see that Dbm6 pentatonic is a sub set of Db melodic minor. Furthermore it contains not only the E and Bb, so the basic part of the C7 chord, but also the Gb7 and Bbm7b5 arpeggios that are very good arpeggios for the C7alt sound.
This gives us this rule:
For an altered dom7th chord you use the m6 pentatonic scale a half step above the root of the dominant
Pentatonic scales for a blues in F
Now that we can cover the two types of dominants we can assign m6 pentatonic scales to all the chords in the progression, as shown in example 3:
If I list the scales we have this:
- F7 – Cm6 Pentatonic
- Bb7 – Fm6 Pentatonic
- Eb7 Bbm6 Pentatonic
- D7alt Ebm6 Pentatonic
- Gm7 Gm pentatonic
- C7alt Dbm6 Pentatonic
In order to get more familiar with the sound of the scale and how it fits with the progression you can go over the exercise that I have written out in example 4. Notice that I can’t start the altered dominants on the root of the chord, so I chose the root of the tritone substitute instead.
A m6 Pentatonic Blues Solo!
To demonstrate how I use this material I have written out a short improvised solo that I recorded while making the video.
The solo is staying in the 8th position and is using the positions that I went over in the previous examples.
If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:
Minor 6th Pentatonics on an F blues
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