Tom Richardson is back again with another finger-twisting ‘Lick of the Week’. Every other Wednesday Tom will publish a new lick lesson in video format along with a brief description and tabs. These licks are aimed mainly at the intermediate and advanced level players, so get your game faces on!
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Lick of the Week Lesson 27
When playing over a minor chord, there are 3 different minor pentatonic scales we can use.
The lick is in A Minor and uses the A Minor Pentatonic as the first choice as well as the E Minor Pentatonic.
The notes of A Minor Pentatonic are
A C D E G
The notes E Minor Pentatonic are
E G A B D
The only difference is that the C note doesn’t appear in E minor, instead a B does and this is the 2nd of A Minor so it still works.If you don’t want to worry about the theory side, just play a Pentatonic a 5th above the Root of the first choice Pentatonic.
D Pentatonic > up a 5th> play A Pentatonic too
E Pentatonic > up a 5th> play B Pentatonic too
There is also a third possibility.
When A Minor is built off the 6th degree of the parent major scale (C)
I – C
II – D
III – E
IV – F
V – G
VI – A
VII – B
The three minor modes in this key are Dorian (II), Phrygian (III) and Aeolian (VI) which all contain Minor Pentatonics. We have already used the Pentatonics built from the VI and III intervals so that leaves the D built from the II.
Again it’s up to you whether you want to know the theory behind it all but a quick way of finding this Pentatonic is by going up a tone from the Root instead of a 5th.
D Pentatonic > up a tone > play E Pentatonic too
E Pentatonic > up a tone > play F# Pentatonic too
In the lick I start with A Minor Pentatonic. The 3rd note of the 2nd bar starts descending down an E Minor Pentatonic scale before resolving on an A at the end of Bar 3.
Each Pentatonic scale highlights different chord tones and has its own sound. It’s a great way to expand your lick vocabulary while using the same familiar scale.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment!
If you’re struggling to get this lick down then leave a question below and we’ll get back to you. If you manage to nail this lick then consider leaving a video response for us on YouTube. Also be sure to check out more of Tom’s playing on his YouTube channel