Pentatonic Lesson that Everyone Should Know

Everyone loves the sound of the Minor Pentatonic scale. It's pretty much the go to scale pattern used in; rock, blues, jazz, pop, and many other styles. But, what if you could simply add one note to color the effect of the Pentatonic in a way that will smooth out the sound and turn your next solo toward a more slick and polished direction? ...Enter the world of the "Minor 9"
Pentatonic scale...

In this post, I’m going to show you four scale runs that operate around adding in the 9th extension to the Minor Pentatonic scale.

When you do this, you end up creating awesome sounding "Minor 9 Scale Runs."


If you've never tried doing this, you're going to love it. The minor 9 sound within Minor Pentatonic is an effect that results in very cool melody lines when played around any minor key soloing situation.
This idea is popular with a lot of soloists including; Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton. So, let’s get right into this topic and learn our first scale run.

The pattern outlines (shown below), are two of the most popular fingering shapes used for creating melodic lines with the "9th" added to the Minor Pentatonic scale.

The circled dots are the root notes, and the "9th" is clearly indicated marked as a red "9".

Sixth String Root Scale Pattern:

Fifth String Root Scale Pattern:


Lick 1). Targeting the 9th (E) over, “D Minor 7”

In the first lick, the 9th interval ended up being the note of “E” over "Dm7," and our scale run targeted into that 9th interval directly to a Minor 7 chord.

Targeting the 9th in your run is a cool way to influence the sound of the chord extension without it actually being present within the chord itself.

Now, let’s check out another run that targets the 9th extension. This time the 9th will be targeted once more, but the chord in use will be a functioning Minor 9 chord.

Lick 2). Targeting the 9th (E) over, “D Minor 9”

Next, let’s check out a minor 9 scale run that doesn’t target the 9th directly. Instead it smoothly blends a melody over the 9th during the course of the run.

This blending action makes the 9th a part of the phrase and adds color to the statement, (without being as obvious as when the scale run directly stops upon the 9th).

Lick 3). Blending the 9th (E) over, “D Minor 7”

In lick three (above), the 9th occurred during the flow of the statement and it behaves in a very subtle way, with the final target note aimed at the chords root.

This is an example of how you’ll find Eric Clapton using this type of scale run concept. But, let’s check out one more 9th scale run idea.

Lick 4). Phrasing the 9th (E) over, “D Minor 7”

The final scale run example, (in lick 4 above), still operates as a way that blends the sound of the 9th across the phrasing of a scale run.

However, when the scale run wraps up, the final tone is actually a chord tone instead of something as obvious to the listener as the 9th itself, (or as the Root like we heard in example three).

Now that you’ve learned all of these concepts for building minor scale runs with the 9th, you can decide which approach is your favorite and how you’d like to use this principle going forward in your playing.

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