5 Modern Pentatonic Scale Patterns For Guitar www.mattwarnockguitar.com In this jazz guitar lesson, you’ll expand your scale and improvisational knowledge as you learn how to play 5 modern pentatonic scale patterns for jazz guitar. After writing a lesson titled, “Must Know Pentatonic Patterns for Jazz Guitar,” and getting a very positive response, I’ve expanded on this important improvisational concept by focusing on 5 modern sounding patterns in this article. While the pentatonic scale is often associated with rock, pop and blues music, by approaching this scale with a more modern feel, and with modern patterns, you can bring a bit of that Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny vibe to your solos, without having to learn any new scales at the same time. I have written each of these patterns out through the ascending version of the scale, but you can also practice them descending the scale as you take each pattern further in the practice room. Check these modern pentatonic scale patterns out in the practice room, apply them to your soloing ideas and come up with your own patterns as you expand on these ideas in the woodshed. Modern Pentatonic Scale Patterns 1 To begin, we are going to look at the minor pentatonic scale in a bit of a different light. Instead of thinking about it as a series of consecutive notes, we are going to think of it was a “left-side” and a “right-side” as you work through each pattern. This means that since there are two notes on each string, there is one that is closer to the headstock, the left side of the scale, and one that is closer to the bridge, the right side of the scale. The first pattern explores this concept by playing two notes on the left side of the scale, followed by two notes on the right side of the scale, alternating this pattern as you ascend and descend the scale. You might want to practice this idea with no tempo at first if it is a new concept, and then add in a metronome as it becomes more comfortable over time. Click to hear audio for this Modern Pentatonic Scale Pattern. Modern Pentatonic Scale Patterns 2 In the next pattern, you will use the same approach, but will now descend each two-note pattern as you work your way up and down the pentatonic scale. To make things easier from a technical perspective, try planting your finger on both notes if possible before playing each note, which will help you prepare the notes ahead of time and provide for a smoother transition as you work this pattern through the scale. Click to hear audio for this Modern Pentatonic Scale Pattern. Modern Pentatonic Scale Patterns 3 Now that you have worked on the ascending and descending patterns separately, you can now combine both patterns to create and alternating pattern over the pentatonic scale. To begin, let’s start by playing an ascending pattern followed by the descending pattern as you move your way up and down the scale. Though you have worked these patterns separately before, it can take a bit of time to get this combination pattern smooth at medium to up tempo speeds. So, use a metronome when working on this pattern, go slow, and ratchet up the speed as you become comfortable with this scale pattern over time. Click to hear audio for this Modern Pentatonic Scale Pattern. Modern Pentatonic Scale Patterns 4 You can now alternate descending and ascending notes as you move up and down the pentatonic scale. Though it is a reversal of the previous pattern, it can be a bit tricky to get smooth when running this pattern up and down the scale. So, take your time and work this pattern with a metronome at a slow tempo before working up the speed over time. Click to hear audio for this Modern Pentatonic Scale Pattern. Modern Pentatonic Scale Patterns 5 This last pattern will send you off in your own exploration of this scale in a modern context as you begin to create new combinations on your own over the pentatonic scale. In this example, I use ascending notes on two strings, followed by two descending notes on the next two strings. So, it’s an up-up, down-down pattern rather than an up-down pattern as we saw earlier. After you have worked out this pattern in the woodshed, try building your own combination patterns as you take these ascending and descending patterns further in your own practice room. Click to hear audio for this Modern Pentatonic Scale Pattern. Practicing Modern Pentatonic Patterns To help get you started with these modern pentatonic patterns, here are 5 exercises that you can do in order to get them under your fingers, into your solos and allow you to build your own combination patterns of your own. 1. Put on a modal tune such as “Milestones” or “So What” and solo over the changes using one of the pentatonic patterns to build your lines. Repeat with the other 4 patterns in this lesson. 2. Apply any/all of these patterns to each pentatonic scale fingering that you know on the guitar to expand them across the entire fretboard. 3. Check out a solo such as John Abercrombie’s improvisation on the tune “Timeless” to hear and transcribe how pro players use these patterns in a performance situation. 4. Sing the root of any chord you are playing and then practice a modern pentatonic pattern over that root note. Reverse this exercise by playing a chord on the guitar and singing the scale pattern over that chord. 5. Write out 5 licks that use these modern pentatonic scale patterns as the basis for each line. As you can see, pentatonic scales can sound like rock, blues or pop music in certain situations, but if you alter your approach to how you play these scales, and apply modern sounding patterns, you can bring a bit of a Coltrane, Brecker, Metheny sound to your pentatonic lines when using them in a jazz situation. Do you have a question or comment about these 5 Modern Pentatonic Scale Patterns for Guitar? Visit the Matt Warnock Guitar Facebook Page and share your thoughts on my wall, be glad to answer any questions you have.
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