The Minor Pentatonic Scale makes up a large part of Ford’s soloing vocabulary, but he has two tricks up his sleeve that allow him to make it personal. One is his use of fourth intervals, another is altering the regular Pentatonic notes a bit.
A combination of the concepts mentioned above is in the first two bars alone. We begin with Ford’s patented Minor 6th Pentatonic. Simply replace the flat 7th with the major 6th to create an A Dorian Pentatonic. As is customary with Blues styles, you can always add the flat 5th to create the Blues scale. In bar 2 there’s some fourth action within the Minor Pentatonic, although in this instance Robben has also added the natural 2nd degree to the scale.
The phrase in bar 5 begins with a Chromatic bridge between two conventional Pentatonic notes. This should be considered as a ‘passing tone’, as it has no harmonic weight. In bars 6 to 9, we see the addition of the Major 2nd and the 6th respectively.
For the final four bars, we see an effective balance between conventional Pentatonic Blues phrasing (bars 9-10), and angular Pentatonic fourths (bars 11). For our final bar, there’s a remarkably simple but harmonically sophisticated move by replacing the root of the A Minor Pentatonic with its Major 7th. The resulting notes are the E Altered Dominant, appropriate against the E7 chord backing. This implies the harmonically rich ‘Superlocrian’ mode, but in the form of a ‘Pentatonic Hybrid’.
Phew, that was quite a theory workout!
As always, below the YouTube video you’ll find the backing track to play along with, and below that, the tablature. Aren’t I nice?!
Feel free to ask questions or just share your thoughts in the comments!