7b9 Pentatonic Scale - Altered Pentatonic Scale - Guitar Lesson with Diagrams

What's The 7b9 Pentatonic Scale?

The dominant seven flat ninth (7b9) pentatonic scale belongs to the altered pentatonic scale family. Please note that there are many altered pentatonic scales depending on which note is altered. The 7b9 pentatonic scale, as its name implies, is an obvious choice when you want to play over a 7b9 chord.

Generally, when you want to play over a 7b9 chord you will use the half-whole diminished scale  (1 - b9 - #9 - 3 - #11 - 5 - 13 - b7), the altered scale (1 - b9 - #9 - 3 - b5 - #5 - b7) or a diminished seventh arpeggio (1 - b3 - b5 - bb7) starting from the b2 of the 7b9 chord. However, the dominant 7b9 pentatonic scale is useful when you want to play with a smaller scale while highlighting the b9.

What's The Formula For The 7b9 Pentatonic Scale?

The 7b9 pentatonic scale is spelled tonic (1), minor second (b2) or flat 9 (b9), major third, fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7). It is very catchy, funny to play and quite easy to understand. This altered scale is a very good alternative to the half-whole diminished scale.

G Dominant 7b9 pentatonic scale G Ab B D F
Formula 1 b2 (b9) 3 5 b7

One-Octave Shapes

The easiest way to practice scales is to use one octave shapes. Here are the four guitar shapes related to the dominant flat nine pentatonic scale.

Dominant flat nine pentatonic scale guitar shapes

Two Octave Shapes

Now here are the 7b9 pentatonic scale shapes cover the six strings of the guitar.

Dominant flat nine pentatonic scale guitar charts

Five Positions

The five positions below show how to play the 7b9 pentatonic scale starting on each degree in order to span the whole guitar neck.

7b9 pentatonic scales guitar diagrams

Dominant flat nine pentatonic scale guitar 1

Relation With Phrygian Dominant

The 7b9 pentatonic scale is linked to the 5th mode of the harmonic minor scale, the Phrygian dominant mode spelled 1 - b2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7. Indeed, if you leave out the fourth (4) and the minor sixth (b6) of the Phrygian dominant you get a 7b9 pentatonic scale.

Phrygian dominant mode 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7
7b9 pentatonic scale 1 b2 3 X 5 X b7


Phrygian dominant vs 7b9 pentatonic

Relation With Mixolydian b9

There is a 7b9 pentatonic within the fifth mode of the harmonic major scale called Mixolydian b9 mode. The formula is 1 - b2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - b7. Once again if you leave out the fourth (4) and the sixth (6) you get a 7b9 pentatonic scale.

Mixolydian b9 mode 1 b2 3 4 5 6 b7
7b9 pentatonic scale 1 b2 3 X 5 X b7
Mixolydian flat nine vs 7b9 pentatonic
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Last edited: 2021-05-17

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