Soloing with the Dominant Pentatonic Scale

The Dominant pentatonic scale is an excellent scale to add to your guitar playing toolkit. The addition of the flat-7th gives the scale a distinct (Dominant) sound when compared to a Major pentatonic.

The formula for the Dominant pentatonic scale is: I, III, IV, V, bVII

Therefore the C Dominant pentatonic scale is: C, E, F, G, Bb.

This scale gives an Eric Johnson type of sound. Try this G Dominant riff:

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The notes for the riff go up and down the G Dominant pentatonic scale.

The Dominant pentatonic scale has 5 scale shapes that will cover the fretboard of the guitar. Below I’ll show you each shape for the G Dominant pentatonic. You can take these shapes and shift them to any key.

Shape 1

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Shape 2

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Shape 3

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Shape 4

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Shape 5

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Soloing

The primary use case of the Dominant pentatonic scale is for soloing over Dominant 7 chords. Thus it will work great when playing the blues.

It will also sound great when playing in the Mixolydian mode. So if in the key of G, you can alternate between G Mixolydian and G Dominant pentatonic.

You also may notice that there is one note difference between the Dominant and Minor pentatonic scales. The 3rd vs the flat-3rd. So you can go back and forth between these scales if a progression includes minor chords.

For more inspiration, check out this Jake E. Lee “squealing melodic” lick that David Brewster plays in the Dominant pentatonic scale (2:33 timestamp).