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Watch the Applying The Box A7 online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from The Power of Five

I'm going to show you four locations on which to apply the same minor pentatonic scale shape over an A7 chord. 2nd fret (F#minor) 5th fret (Aminor) 7th fret (B minor) 12th fret (E minor).

Playing lead guitar over an A7 chord is a great way for us to get started on how we can apply the one minor pentatonic scale shape in several locations on the fretboard for tonal variances, the creative note distribution and rhythmic motifs that we talked about in the introduction.

We'll also see how those scales relate to an A7 chord with some popular extensions of the 9th and 13th.

The best way for us to analyze a chord/scale relationship is to lay out the notes of the chord and the scale and see which notes they both have in common.

F# minor pentatonic (Amajor)

Using the F# minor pentatonic over the A7 chord yields us the major triad plus the 2nd and the 6th, or we could say 9th and 13th. So our scale gives us 3 of the tones in the chord plus 2 extensions. Remember this for when we apply scales over the dominant extensions.

F#min pent = F#-A-B-C#-E - 13th-R-9th-3rd-5th

A7 = A-C#-E-G

When we improvise over the chord we can use all of the tones but will still want to resolve phrases to the chord tones, sweet notes.

A minor pentatonic scale

This would be the default scale for most players to gravitate towards if thrown in at the deep end when taking a solo over the A7. Be honest, I would too!

Let's just take a look at why it works.

A minor pent = A-C-D-E-G - R-b3-11th-5th-b7

A7 = A-C#-E-G

So we can see that the scale yields us 3 chord tones plus the possibility of the implied blues bend on the C to give us that pull towards the major 3rd, C#.

Using this scale gives us the b7 as a resolution point too, as you know, this is the characteristic note of this chord.

Let's move up the fretboard.

B minor pentatonic scale

Using the B minor pentatonic scale will give us all of the color tones (extensions) plus the 5th and the root note. This would be a great scale choice over dominant 13th chords that also have the 9th, we'll look at that in a moment. Here's how it all lays out on paper.

B minor pent = B-D-E-F#-A - 9th-11th-5th-13th-R

A7 Chord = A-C#-E-G

Using this scale over the A7 only gives us two sweet notes but we can still use it to color the chord before moving into another place for the ultimate resolution. For example, we could play a flowing lick from the 7th fret B minor shape into the 5th position A minor shape where we can locate four sweet notes.

E minor pentatonic scale

The E minor pentatonic scale sounds great over our A7 chord and is a wonderful place to improvise using the same licks you would use in your F#mi pent and A min pent shapes. This really is where the Power Of Five comes alive and shows its ultimate value as an improvisational tool to expand your abilities without learning anything new - awesomeness!

Let's analyze the chord/scale relationship

E minor pent = E-G-A-B-D - 5th-b7-R-9th-11th

A7 Chord = A-C#-E-G