I got this idea from a Jimi Hendrix song, Little
Wing. Even today I often hear students (and fellow teachers)
talk about how brilliant Jimi Hendrix was. He often exhibited
a different way of looking at things which is (at least in my
opinion) one of the most important ingredients for true brilliance.
In this case, I am referring to his ability to see the obvious
shapes that link chords and scales together.
What I've done is link five sets of pentatonic scales: minor,
major and minor flat five (or half diminished) to the corresponding
chord. I have included enough pentatonic scales to cover one
major key entirely. You will play each chord and then it's corresponding
pentatonic scale in one key. I am calling it a modal study even
though the sound is more rock or blues oriented, not the jazz
sound that most people associate with the word "modal".
Regarding the form for each scale: I do not use
the relative major or minor pentatonic scales in the same study
but use (instead) the scale that would start at the same point
on the guitar. Each pentatonic scale in this study has two notes
per string so the scales will correspond to the lower or the
higher note on the string that has the root note on it. For
example: if the first pentatonic scale starts with the lower
note (of the two) on a certain string then all three scales
(major, minor, diminished) will start at that point or, if the
scale root is at the higher of the two notes on that string
then all three of the scales studied will start at that point
and so on.
There are five sets of pentatonic scales and so
will be five studies. The first will probably be the only one
most of you will ever use but I like to be complete with my
studies so I am going to write all of them out for you. What
you will see on the first study will probably be the most obvious
connection between chords and scales but being thorough never
hurt anyone in particular, it never hurt a musician.
Pentatonic Modal Study #1
- Lower Note 6th String Study