Mastering the Phrygian Dominant Scale on Guitar

The Phrygian Dominant scale is a unique and captivating scale that can add an exotic, Arabic-like flavor to your guitar playing. In this in-depth guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know to start using this scale effectively in your music.

Understanding the Phrygian Dominant Scale on Guitar

The Phrygian Dominant scale can be thought of as the 5th mode of the harmonic minor scale. For example, if you play a D harmonic minor scale starting on the 5th degree (the A note), you get an A Phrygian Dominant scale.

The notes of an A Phrygian Dominant scale are:
A – Bb – C# – D – E – F – G

Playing the Scale on Guitar

To play the A Phrygian Dominant scale on guitar, use the following pattern starting on the low E string:

E|–5–6–9–
B|——–6–8–10–
G|————–6–7–9–
D|——————–5–7–8–
A|————————–5–7–8–
E|——————————————

Practice playing the scale ascending and descending until you can do it smoothly. Then work on playing the notes in different rhythmic patterns and sequences to really internalize the sound and feel of the scale.

Chords and Progressions in Phrygian Dominant on Guitar

A great chord progression to play over with the A Phrygian Dominant scale is:

A7 – Bbmaj7 – Dm

The A7 chord naturally contains the characteristic notes of the Phrygian Dominant scale. You can vamp on this progression and riff with the scale notes to create enticing, exotic-sounding melodies and licks.

Transposing to Other Keys

Once you have the A Phrygian Dominant scale down, practice transposing it to other keys. For example, move up to a B Phrygian Dominant scale and play over a backing track or progression in the key of E harmonic minor.

The more keys you can play this scale in, the more versatile and useful it will be. Don’t be afraid to experiment with using it over different chords and in various musical contexts.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Phrygian Dominant Scale on Guitar

Q: What is the Phrygian Dominant scale?

A: The Phrygian Dominant scale is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale. It has an exotic, Arabic-like sound that can add an interesting flavor to your guitar playing.

Q: How do you play the Phrygian Dominant scale on guitar?

A: To play the A Phrygian Dominant scale on guitar, start on the low E string and play the following notes:
E|–5–6–9–
B|——–6–8–10–
G|————–6–7–9–
D|——————–5–7–8–
A|————————–5–7–8–
E|——————————————

Q: What are some good chord progressions to use with the Phrygian Dominant scale?

A: A great chord progression to play over with the A Phrygian Dominant scale is:
A7 – Bbmaj7 – Dm. The A7 chord naturally contains the characteristic notes of the scale.

Q: How can I practice the Phrygian Dominant scale effectively?

A: To internalize the Phrygian Dominant scale, practice playing it ascending and descending, as well as in different rhythmic patterns and sequences. Try improvising with the scale over backing tracks or in different keys to develop your familiarity with it.

Q: What are some tips for incorporating the Phrygian Dominant scale into my playing?

A: Experiment with using the Phrygian Dominant scale over different chords and in various musical contexts. Listen to artists and tracks that make use of this scale to get a feel for how it can be applied. With regular practice, you’ll be able to integrate this unique scale seamlessly into your lead guitar playing.

Putting it into Practice

As with any new scale or concept, the key to getting the Phrygian Dominant scale under your fingers is practice. Spend time running through the notes and patterns daily. Improvise over backing tracks and look for opportunities to use it in your original music or jams with other musicians.

Listen to artists and tracks that make use of this scale to internalize the sound. Before long, you’ll have an exciting new color to paint with in your lead guitar arsenal. The Phrygian Dominant scale will open up new expressive possibilities and add an alluring sonic spice to your playing.

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