Playing Modal with Major Pentatonic Scales (Guitar Lesson)

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David Wallimann

Playing Modal with Major Pentatonic Scales

David Wallimann shows how the major pentatonic scale can be used in modal playing.

Taught by David Wallimann in Theory and Improvisation with David Wallimann seriesLength: 11:13Difficulty: 3.0 of 5

Playing modal can be scary at first. Guitar players usually come from a blues-rock background using pentatonic scales. Using modes doesn’t have to be difficult. A closer look at the commonly used modes show that they hide a pentatonic scale (minor pentatonic scale in minor modes, Major pentatonic scale in Major modes).

Major

Let’s take a look at the three commonly used minor modes: Ionian, Lydian and Mixolydian. They all hide a Major pentatonic.

Ionian
Root 2nd Maj3rd 4th 5th Maj6th Maj7th.

Lydian
Root 2nd Maj3rd #4th 5th Maj6th Maj7th.

Mixolydian
Root 2nd Maj3rd 4th 5th Maj6th min7th.

Major Modes Relationship

Now that we know that we can replace any of the Major modes with a Major pentatonic scale, let’s see how each of these modes relate to each other in terms of position:

Ionian - Dorian - Phrygian - Lydian - Mixolydian - Aeolian – Locrian.

Application

By combining the three Major pentatonic scales corresponding to the three Major modes and their relative positions, we can phrase using three Major pentatonic scales over a modal backing track.

Ionian
Ionian - Dorian - Phrygian - Lydian - Mixolydian - Aeolian – Locrian.

Lydian
Lydian - Mixolydian - Aeolian - Locrian - Ionian - Dorian – Phrygian.

Mixolydian<
Mixolydian - Aeolian - Locrian - Ionian - Dorian - Phrygian - Lydian

Going Further

Working with the following three backing tracks, use the corresponding Major pentatonic scales to create a modal sounding lead.

A Ionian
A Major pentatonic (Ionian)
D Major pentatonic (Lydian)
E Major pentatonic (Mixolydian)

A Lydian
A Major pentatonic (Lydian)
B Major pentatonic (Mixolydian)
E Major pentatonic (Ionian)

A Mixolydian
A Major pentatonic (Mixolydian)
D Major pentatonic (Ionian)
G Major pentatonic (Lydian)

Video Subtitles / Captions


Comments

Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


fullvividproductions28fullvividproductions28 replied

What an awesome series. It's full of knowledge that is easy to understand. Gracias David, keep up the good work brother.

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied

Fantastic teacher.

buzzcatbuzzcat replied

Excellent course and structure, really enjoyed it.

jbjpjbjp replied

Hi David, Tons of Knowledge, structure and concrete material to stimulate a lifetime of creative explorations with this approach. You shared a very solid framework to dig into it and build on it. Thank you very much, John

mike4370mike4370 replied

Hey David, great lesson. if you combined the Am, Dm and Em pentatonic scales like you talked about in the previous lesson, between the 5th and 8th frets, would that make a full first position A minor scale?

Theory and Improvisation with David Wallimann

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

David Wallimann will cover all of the topics necessary master the art of improvisation. He will cover theory, including intervals, scales and modes as well as techniques to improve ones improvisation.



Understanding IntervalsLesson 1

Understanding Intervals

Before one can truly understand music theory the concept of intervals must be introduced. This lesson covers that topic in great depth.

Length: 27:40 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Minor Pentatonic ScaleLesson 2

Minor Pentatonic Scale

David teaches the minor pentatonic scale. He explains its scale formula, various fretboard positions, and how it can be used.

Length: 20:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Major Pentatonic ScaleLesson 3

Major Pentatonic Scale

David Wallimann moves on to cover the the major pentatonic scale. He teaches its scale formula, all five patterns, and gives advice on how the scale can be used.

Length: 9:46 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Blues ScaleLesson 4

The Blues Scale

In this lesson, David covers both the minor and major blues scales. He explains the formulas and patterns for each scale. In addition, David has included a backing track for you to play along with.

Length: 9:08 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Minor ModesLesson 5

Minor Modes

David Wallimann introduces three minor modes. In this lesson he covers Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian modes.

Length: 11:37 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Major ModesLesson 6

Major Modes

David Wallimann covers three major modes in this lesson. He covers the Ionian, Lydian and Mixolydian modes.

Length: 8:53 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Locrian ModeLesson 7

The Locrian Mode

David Wallimann introduces the Locrian mode. He explains its formula in terms of scale degrees as well as its five fretboard patterns. A few fun arpeggio-based ideas are also demonstrated.

Length: 20:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
The Magic FormulaLesson 8

The Magic Formula

David Wallimann teaches a magic formula that will allow you to play each of the modes up and down the entire fretboard. He also teaches some exercises to help cement this knowledge.

Length: 11:49 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Classifying ModesLesson 9

Classifying Modes

David Wallimann talks about how modes can be classified and thus used in a musical context. This is a valuable wrap-up lesson to the mini-series on modes.

Length: 13:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Creating Chord ProgressionsLesson 10

Creating Chord Progressions

David Wallimann explains how to write diatonic chord progressions. This lesson features excellent practical music theory.

Length: 12:07 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Easy Outside TricksLesson 11

Easy Outside Tricks

David Wallimann teaches a valuable fusion guitar technique that he calls "Easy Outside Tricks."

Length: 8:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Playing Modal with Pentatonic ScalesLesson 12

Playing Modal with Pentatonic Scales

David Wallimann demonstrates how minor pentatonic scales can be used when improvising over the minor modes.

Length: 22:03 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Playing Modal with Major Pentatonic ScalesLesson 13

Playing Modal with Major Pentatonic Scales

David Wallimann shows how the major pentatonic scale can be used in modal playing.

Length: 11:13 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
David Wallimann

About David Wallimann View Full Biography David was born in Aix-en-Provence, South France in 1977. At the age of 15, he picked up the guitar and started developing a true love for instrumental music and composition.

In 1999 he was recognized by Ibanez for his promising musical achievements and received an artist endorsement. That early recognition in David's musical career encouraged him to consecrate more time on crafting his musical art and apply to the school of modern music Artist' in Cavaillon, France. He received a full scholarship there where he graduated with honors.

In 2001, David won first place for the Tal Farlow French national jazz contest which gave him a full paid scholarship to the CMA school of modern music in Valenciennes, France. He graduated specializing in advance guitar with honors.

Following his school years, David spent the next 5 years working with several bands recording, writing and playing shows in France and Belgium. It's during that time that Wallimann was exposed to the world of progressive rock which opened new doors to his musical creativity.

Deep inside the Mind is his first release as a solo artist in which he exposes his Christian faith. The album was well received in the specialized press and was compared several times to some of Frank Zappa's approach to music adding an element of humor to deep subjects.

In 2005 he joined the internationally renown progressive band Glass Hammer based in Chattanooga, TN. He released several studio albums and live DVDs with the band.

David is today working on his next upcoming solo release and is also spending quite a bit of time teaching guitar in his studio and online at JamPlay.

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