Soloing with the Dominant Pentatonic Scale

In this post I cover the Dominant pentatonic scale shapes and how to incorporate them into your guitar solos.

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.

Playing this scale gives me an instant Eric Johnson type of sound. Check out this G Dominant riff:

eric johnson dominant pentatonic riff

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.

Download Guitar Tab (PNG)

Shape 1

Dominant Pentatonic Shape 1

Shape 2

Dominant Pentatonic Shape 2

Shape 3

Dominant Pentatonic Shape 3

Shape 4

Dominant Pentatonic Shape 4

Shape 5

Dominant Pentatonic Shape 5

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 (starts at 2:33):

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