The Minor 6 Pentatonic Scale - Guitar Lesson With Shapes And Licks

What's The Minor 6 Pentatonic Scale?

The minor 6 pentatonic scale formula is root (1), minor third (b3), fourth (4), Fifth (5) and sixth (6). This is an intereresting alternative to the common minor pentatonic scale and useful tool for improvising over minor 6, dominant 7 and half-diminished chords.

Difference With The Minor Pentatonic Scale

As you see in the chart below the minor 6 pentatonic scale contains a 6 instead of a b7. 

Minor Pentatonic Scale 1 b3 4 5 b7
Minor 6 Pentatonic Scale b3 4 5 6

 

Minor penatonic vs minor 6 pentatonic scale 

Minor 6 Pentatonic Shapes

One-Octave Shapes

The fours diagrams show how to play the minor 6 pentatonic scale on guitar within the space of one octave, starting on the 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd string.

You have to play these four forms in every key, anywhere on the guitar neck and try to associate the related chords.

 

Five Positions of The Minor 6 pentatonic Scale

Here are the five forms of the minor 6 pentatonic scale covering the entire neck.

The minor 6 pentatonic scale entire guitar neck

 

The minor 6 pentatonic scale guitar positions

How To Use The Minor 6 Pentatonic Scale?

Chords Within The Minor 6 Pentatonic Scale

You need to know that the minor 6 pentatonic scale is a very versatile scale, it is made up of three chord types. Let's take for example the A minor 6 pentatonic scale (A - C - D - E - F#). We get three chords (arpeggios) :

  • Am6 (A - C - E - F#) - Starting on the root note. In comparison with the minor 6 pentatonic scale, one note is missing, the 4th / 11th (D).

A minor 6 arpeggio

  • D7 (D - F# - A - G) - Starting on the fourth of A minor 6 penta. Just add the 5th of A minor 6 penta and you get a D9 arpeggio (D - F# - A - G - E)

D7 arpeggio

  • F#m7b5 (F# - A - C - E) - Starting on the 6th. Add the 4th (D) and you get the A minor 6 pentatonic scale.

minor7b5 arpeggio

In other words, you can use the minor 6 pentatonic scale over :

  • Minor 6 chords (obvious choice). A min6 penta over Am6 for example.
  • Minor 7 chords to highlight the 13th. Amin6 pentat over Am7.
  • Dominant 7 chord starting on the fifth of this chord. Example: Amin 6 penta over D7.
  • Half-diminished chord starting on the b3. For example Amin6 penta over F#dim7.

Here are some examples.

Minor 6 pentatonic Licks

The two easy exercises below show how to use the minor 6 pentatonic scale in minor and major 2 5 1 progressions.

In the first bar of the tab below, F minor penta (F - Ab - Bb - C - D) is employed over Dm7b5.

Minor 6 pentatonic guitar line 1

In the bar 1 of this major II V I sequence in C, A minor 6 penta is played over Am6. It starts with an Am7 arpeggio (A - C - E - G) leading to to the 6th of A (F#).

Minor 6 pentatonic guitar lick

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Last edited: 07/16/2020

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