The Lydian Pentatonic Scale - Guitar Shapes and Theory

The Lydian pentatonic scale is made of five notes built from the following interval pattern : 1 (tonic), 2 (second), 3 (third), #4 (augmented fourth) and 6 (sixth). It can be seen as the major pentatonic scale where the fifth is lowered by a half-step, thus giving the b5 wich is actually the same note as the #4. As explained at the bottom of this lesson there are two other interval patterns for this scale : 1 -3 - #4 - 6 - 7 and 1 - 3 - #4 - 5 - 6. Notice that it should not be confused with the Lydian dominant pentatonic scale.

G Lydian Pentatonic Scale G A B C# E
Formula 1 2 (9) 3 #4 (#11) 6 (13)

Comparison With Lydian Mode

For a better understanding of the Lydian pentatonic scale let's compare it with the fourth mode of the major scale, the Lydian mode. As you see in the diagrams and hear if you play it on the guitar, the fifth (5) and the seventh (7) of the Lydian mode are left out.

Lydian mode and lydian pentatonic

Comparison With Major Pentatonic Scale

As shown in the following guitar shapes, the Lydian pentatonic scale has only one note that differs from the major pentatonic scale

Lydian pentatonic versus major pentatonic scale

One-Octave Shapes

In a first time, the best way to tackle the Lydian pentatonic scale is to practice it using one-octave shapes. Each shape has the tonic note on a different string. 

Lydian pentatonic scale guitar charts

Two-octave Shapes

Here in the next diagrams, the Lydian pentatonic scale covers the six strings of the guitar, thus avoiding a hand displacement. Be sure to practice these shapes in all twelve keys anywhere on the neck.

Lydian pentatonic versus major pentatonic scale

5 Positions

Now here are the five positions covering the whole neck. Each shape starts on a different step of the Lydian pentatonic scale.

Lydian pentatonic scale guitar shapes 1

How To Use The Lydian Pentatonic Scale?

Basically the Lydian pentatonic scale is played of major chords (maj7#11) to bring a little bit of tension. However, it can be played over half-diminished chords starting on the b5. As shown in the minor 2 5 1 lick below, Bb Lydian pentatonic (in its first version) is played over Em7b5. 

Lydian pentatonic jazz guitar lick

Two Other Versions Of Lydian Pentatonic 

The Lydian pentatonic scale can be composed in two other different ways providing two interval patterns that are: 

  • 1 (root) - 3 (third) - #4 (augmented fourth) - 6 (sixth) - 7 (seventh)
  • 1 (root) - 3 (third) - #4 (augmented fourth) - 5 (fifth) - 6 (sixth)

Here are the related one octave shapes:

Lydian pentatonic scale guitar shapes 2
Lydian pentatonic scale guitar shapes 3
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Last edited: 2021-10-30

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