Watch the Applying The Box Am7/11 online guitar lesson by Robbie Calvo from The Power of Five
We are so used to hearing the minor pentatonic over a minor 7th chord and as many of you already know from my previous study programs the minor pentatonic actually constitutes a minor 7 arpeggio, plus the 4th (11th).
A minor pentatonic over Ami7/11
We'll start by applying the A minor pent over the Ami11 chord and then expand from there by moving the same shape to 3 other locations on the fretboard to give us brave new sounds from the same pentatonic box - it's a beautiful thing! You are also going to hear me combine the A and B minor pentatonic in a few licks in this example which will make your fingers stretch a little bit but the sound is well worth the extra effort.
A minor pentatonic = A-C-D-E-G
A minor7 (add11) chord = A-C-D-E-G
B minor pentatonic over Ami7
Applying the B minor pentatonic scale over the Ami7 chord gives us the chord extensions plus the root and 5th of the chord. So this scale would be great over minor 7th chords with diatonic chord extensions, Amin9, Ami11, Ami13 for example.
We already get the 11th from using the A minor pentatonic scale so by adding the B minor pent 2 frets higher and joining them together you can glide between positions using the same shape which is awesome right?!
Let's analyze the B minor pentatonic over the Ami7 chord
B minor pent = B-D-E-F#-A = 9-11-5-13-R
D minor pentatonic over Ami7
Applying the D minor pentatonic scale over the Ami7 chord will yield us a minor 6th (13th) that we don't find in either of the other 2 scales. That note is an F and can also be thought of as a #5 interval. minor 7 (b13) chords are extremely musical chords and I often use them as subs for minor 7ths in my music. They can only function as a III or VI minor in diatonic chord progressions so be careful if trying to apply those chords where a II minor would normally reside.
Let's analyze the chord scale relationship
D minor pent = D-F-G-A-C = 11-b13-b7-R-b3
Ami7 chord = A-C-E-G
Ami7(b13) = A-F-G-C-E (This is a typical voicing, not the theoretical construction).
As you can see from our analysis the D minor pentatonic scale contains all of the notes that make up that lovely voicing of an Ami7(b13) chord. I like it when those things happen.
Now all of that to say, there is no reason why you couldn't glide into the D min pent at the 10th fret and play some nice licks over a basic Ami7 chord because you still have 3 chord tones :-)
E minor pentatonic scale over Ami7
We can also use the E minor pentatonic scale over the Ami7 chord, which means we can glide between the 10th (Dmi pent) and 12th (E mi pent) frets using the same scale shape.
Let's break that all down and see what's happening within the Emin pentatonic scale over our A mi7 chord.
E min pent = E-G-A-B-D = 5-b7-R-9-11
Ami7 chord = A-C-E-G
We can see from this analysis that the Emin pent gives us 3 chord tones plus the 9th and 11th so this would be a great scale to apply over Min7 chords with extensions of the 9th and 11th. Please note that a b9 occurs on a diatonic III minor 7 chord so this option would be so good over a functioning diatonic III minor 7 chord.