The Dorian b2 pentatonic Scale aka Phrygian Pentatonic - Guitar Shapes, Licks and Theory

What is The Dorian b2 Pentatonic Scale?

The Dorian b2 pentatonic scale is also known as Phrygian pentatonic or Dorian b9 pentatonic.  The formula is tonic (1) - minor second (b2) - fourth (4) - fifth (5)  and minor seventh (b7). It is rarely used but has an interesting sound because of its b9 so, it fit perfecty with 7b9 chords (1 - 3 - 5 - b7 - b9).

Comparison With Dorian b2 Mode

As you see in the chart below the Dorian b2 pentatonic scale is actually taken from the second mode of the melodic minor scale, the Dorian b2 scale.

Dorian b2 mode 1 b2 (b9) b3 4 (11) 5 6 (13) b7
Dorian b2 pentatonic 1 b2 (b9) X 4 (11) 5 X b7
Dorian b2 pentatonic vs dorian b2 scale

One Octave Shapes

The Dorian b2 penta. scale is very easy to play on guitar. You will find here four shapes to play in it a space of one octave. 

For example, to play a G Dorian b2 pentatonic scale using the first diagram, you must put your first finger on the E string at the third fret.

Dorian flat second pentatonic scale guitar charts

Two Octave Shapes

The two following shapes show how to play the Dorian b2 pentatonic scale in position ,within the space of two octaves in order to cover all the strings. 

Dorian flat second pentatonic scale guitar shapes

5 Positions

Here below you'll find the five Dorian b2 pentatonic scale shapes spanning the whole guitar neck. Each shape starts on a different degree of the scale.

Dorian flat second pentatonic scale guitar


The Dorian b2 pentatonic scale can be used over V7(b9) chords in a minor II V I progression for example. It is a good option to highlight the b9 of a Dom7 chord. However, pay attention to the use of the 4th (11), it can clash with the major third of the V7 chord. Example with G7b9, just play G Dorian b2

G dorian b2 pentatonic scale against the G7b9 chord

G Dorian b2 penta G Ab C D F
G7b9 1 b2 (b9) 4 (11) 5 b7


Dorian b2 Pentatonic in Minor II V I 

The first example below is a minor II V I sequence, you can hear the G Dorian b2 pentatonic scale over the V7 chord (G7b9). This line is taken from the printable PDF eBook 25 PENTATONIC LICKS FOR JAZZ GUITAR.

  • Bar 1 : Dm7b5 pentatonic over Dm7b5.
  • Bar 2 : G Dorian b2 penta over G7b9.

Dorian b2 Pentatonic in Turnaround Variation

The second exercise is a turnaround variation iiim7 (Em7) - VI7b9 (A7b9) - iim7 (Dm7) - V7 (G7). You see that the Dorian b2 pentatonic scale is used over the VI7b9 chord (A7b9).

  • Em pentatonic over Em7.
  • A Dorian b2 penta over A7b9.
  • D min. penta. over Dm7.
  • A min. penta. over G7.

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Last edited: 2022-02-25

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