major pentatonics for #5 major chords

The last commonly used mode of melodic minor is called lydian augmented.  As you might imagine, this is a lydian scale with a #5.  It’s also the brightest sounding scale you can play, because every interval in the scale is either major or augmented.  This scale is used over any chord that looks like:  Xmaj7#5  or X+maj7.  It’s also a nice substitution over any Xmaj7 chord, but you have to be playing with a piano player that can hear.  Sax players get a lot of mileage out of this scale.  If you’re ever on a gig playing a major 7 chord and wondering, “what is that cool out sound,” this is it.

Let’s take a Cmaj7#5 chord.  The scale that goes with this is: C D E F# G# A B.  As you can see, it’s all major or augmented intervals; you get a major 2nd, a major 3rd, a #4, a #5, a major 6th, and a major 7th.  These are the same notes as A melodic minor; so you can also think of this scale as the third mode of melodic minor.

An easier way to get this sound is to use major pentatonic b6.  Taking Cmaj7#5, play E major pent b6 over it and get: E F# G# B C, which gets all the important sounds of the chord, plus this gets you away from thinking about roots, which is a big pitfall for all begining improvisors and all bass players in general.

To transpose, make it III/I (three over one) for any chord that has maj7#5 attached to it, and for extra tension any chord that has maj7 attached.


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