EX­OTIC scales...

...over a Dom 7 chord

Guitar Techniques - - Contents -

Bored play­ing the same old things over a dom 7 chord? Ja­cob Quist­gaard shows six al­ter­na­tives that sound fab­u­lously ex­otic.

This spe­cial fea­ture will ex­plore six colourful scales, each of which you can ap­ply to dom­i­nant chords in a va­ri­ety of sit­u­a­tions. The ‘bread and but­ter’ op­tion for solo­ing over any dom­i­nant chord - 7th, 9th, 13th etc - is the Mixoly­dian mode, but there are more ex­cit­ing colours at your dis­posal. These more ‘ex­otic’ scales will come in handy when reach­ing out for that ex­tra bit of spice. 1 b2 b3 3 b5 b6 b7 The al­tered scale, also known as Su­per­locrian, is the 7th mode of the melodic mi­nor scale. The al­tered scale fea­tures all of the pos­si­ble al­ter­ations one could use in a dom­i­nant 7th chord - b2, b3, b5 and b6 – hence the name. As a re­sult of these al­tered notes, the scale is per­fect for cre­at­ing max­i­mum ten­sion on a dom­i­nant chord, and for this rea­son it is the most com­mon scale choice in mod­ern jazz, in the con­text of a V7 dom­i­nant chord that re­solves onto a Im chord. 1 b2 b3 3 #4 5 6 b7 The sym­met­ric di­min­ished scale is also known as the half-whole scale, due to its on­go­ing pat­tern of half step, whole step, half step, whole step, etc. This re­sults in an eight-note scale that has a b9, #9 and #11 in its con­struc­tion, mak­ing it the only oc­ta­tonic (eight-note) scale in this fea­ture. Be­cause of this list of al­ter­ations, a chord that would prompt us­age of this scale would be a

Al­tered Scale

Sym­met­ric Di­min­ished Scale

13th(b9), which - as you will see - is dif­fer­ent from the al­tered chord in that it has a ma­jor 6th (13th) in­ter­val in it. The sym­met­ric di­min­ished scale is is most com­monly used on dom­i­nant V chords in a ma­jor key, leading to the res­o­lu­tion on a I chord. Try it over a reg­u­lar 7th chord and see how it sounds.

Mixoly­dian b6

12345 b6 b7 Out of all of our ex­otic scales for dom­i­nant 7th chords, this is one of the clos­est to the most stan­dard op­tion favoured in this con­text: the Mixoly­dian mode. In fact only one sin­gle al­ter­ation sep­a­rates the Mixoly­dian b6 from stan­dard Mixoly­dian, and that is the in­ter­val of the 6th, which is flat­tened. This means it 1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7 This is the fourth mode of the melodic mi­nor scale, and an ex­tremely im­por­tant tool in the reper­toire of any jazz gui­tarist, both as an op­tional ‘hip’ colour to add to ba­sic dom­i­nant chords, and as an es­sen­tial way of nav­i­gat­ing com­mon chord pro­gres­sions within jazz and blues. The Ly­dian Dom­i­nant scale is a good choice when you want to im­ply the sound of chords such as 7b5 or 9#11.

Ob­vi­ously, the bread and but­ter op­tion for solo­ing on any dom­i­nant chord is the Mixoly­dian mode, but there are quite a few more ex­cit­ing colours at your dis­posal.

has both a per­fect 5th and a b6th in­ter­val present, mak­ing it a nice tool to cre­ate mo­ments of ten­sion and re­lease over chords such as 7#5 (#5 = b6).

Ly­dian Dom­i­nant

Phry­gian Dom­i­nant

1 b2 345 b6 b7 The Phry­gian Dom­i­nant has a recog­nis­able sound and is com­mon in many types of folk mu­sic, in­clud­ing Turk­ish, Jewish, Arab, Per­sian and Span­ish. It is a com­mon tool for the jazz gui­tarist, as a slightly less com­pli­cated op­tion than the al­tered scale, in the con­text of play­ing over a 7th chord leading back to the tonic. How­ever, it is also quite com­mon in rock, es­pe­cially in prog, metal and var­i­ous shred re­lated gen­res, ex­em­pli­fied by Yngwie Malm­steen. Great for 7b9 chords!

Whole-tone Scale

1 2 3 #4 #5 b7 Like the sym­met­ric di­min­ished, the who­le­tone scale is com­pletely sym­met­ri­cal, as it con­sists of a se­ries of whole tone steps only. It’s our only hex­a­tonic (six-note) scale of this fea­ture. Some might say it’s a lit­tle awk­ward to blend it into your im­pro­vi­sa­tional ef­forts, but our ex­am­ples will show how easy it is. Some of these scales fit per­fectly over dom­i­nant chords such as 9ths, 13ths and so on, but they will all sound spicy over a Dom­i­nant 7th too. Try them over all the dom­i­nant chords you know and see which ones perk up your ears.

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