THE­ORY GOD­MOTHER

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Got a prob­lem with your the­ory or tech­nique? Let our agony un­cle David Mead sort it out!

Post your play­ing posers and tech­ni­cal teasers to: The­ory God­mother, Gui­tar Tech­niques, 5 Pines Way Industrial Es­tate, Ivo Peters Road, Bath, BA2 3QS; or email info@david­mead.net - your wish is my com­mand!

As­sume The Po­si­tion?

In GT241, in ex­am­ple No 3: D Nat­u­ral mi­nor scale, is there any rea­son the lick started on the fifth string, 5th fret in­stead of the open fourth string and then on to the E note on the fourth string, 2nd fret? I’m try­ing to learn to read mu­sic but I of­ten find I’ve gone off in the wrong di­rec­tion when I check the tab. Am I sim­ply miss­ing some­thing ob­vi­ous? John My think­ing be­hind the ex­am­ple you men­tioned was that it could be played in a sin­gle po­si­tion on the fret­board. If I had started with an open fourth string it would have meant a fret­ting hand move, mak­ing it more awk­ward to play.

Ex­pe­ri­ence is the best teacher here, be­cause as you be­come more ac­cus­tomed to where ev­ery­thing is on the fret­board, you will find your­self mak­ing the right choices un­con­sciously. But you’ll soon be able to see the right path to take ev­ery time.

Al­tered State

Please ex­plain to me what the al­tered scale is and how it is used over the V-I chord change. It has me baf­fled! Derek The Al­tered scale (or Su­per­locrian, or sev­enth mode of Melodic mi­nor), is popular in jazz be­cause it con­tains all the ‘out­side notes’ that fea­ture so heav­ily in the mu­sic. I’m not keen on giv­ing peo­ple for­mu­lae for this kind of thing be­cause it can tend to make stu­dents play math­e­mat­i­cally rather than cre­atively. But the Al­tered scale is a con­ve­nient way of fa­mil­iaris­ing your­self with the sounds in­volved, and can be a great as­set to learn­ing.

Ex 1 shows the Al­tered scale in its ba­sic form: 1-b2-b3-3(b4)-b5-b6-b7. It’s not the eas­i­est scale to imag­ine be­ing too use­ful in its raw state, but it does mean that all the al­tered notes are col­lected to­gether in one place.

The first job is to prac­tise the scale so that the fin­gers know where they’re go­ing; and then get hold of some II-V-I pro­gres­sion back­ing tracks.

If we take an ex­am­ple of a II-V-I in C Ma­jor - Dm7-G7-C (Ex 2) - us­ing a modal ap­proach we would em­ploy D Do­rian over the Dm7, G Mixoly­dian over the G7 and C Io­nian (Ma­jor scale) for the C ma­jor (Ex 3). It’s a good

getAused#to idea to play­ing over the changes be­fore we begin the jour­ney into ‘out­sideB ter­ri­tory’. T1h2ese would be the mod­esByou would to play a jazzy-bluesB­solo over t1h2e pro1g5ressi1o2n and most play­ers ref­er­ence th­ese modes - and any­way, if you played con­tin­u­ously ‘out­side’ it would be very hard to lis­ten to. The trick is to use the Al­tered scale to add splashes of colour or ten­sion.

Now play over the changes again, but this time us­ing the G Al­tered scale in­stead of G Mixoly­dian (Ex 4). It’s go­ing to sound rough un­til you learn to make it mu­si­cal; but you should be able to hear some familiar sounds if your ear is at all tuned in to jazz’s vo­cab­u­lary. The/4n ex­tend your II-V-I prac­tice to ke1y2s, tak­ing the same ap­proach and

you should find you’re em­ploy­ing the Al­tered scale au­to­mat­i­cally.

Five A Day

In GT 239 there’s a Jimmy Page solo idea based mainly on the mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic. How­ever, in­stead of be­ing played over a se­quence of mi­nor chords, why it is played over E5, A5 and B5? This is prob­a­bly grade one the­ory but I’m new to all this and with­out a good foun­da­tion you can’t build a solid struc­ture. Chris A 5th chord is a ‘stripped down’ ver­sion of a nor­mal chord and com­prises just the first and fifth notes of the scale, with no 3rd to de­fine it as ma­jor or mi­nor (Ex 5). So mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic works well be­cause there are no clash­ing notes.

If the mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic is be­ing em­ployed in a blues-rock con­text it leans on the blues’s ten­dency to mix ma­jor and mi­nor, so you of­ten find the mi­nor as­pects of the scale be­ing forced against ma­jor, with the b3rd be­ing bent slightly sharp to pro­duce what’s known as a ‘blue 3rd’ or ‘blues curl’ (Ex 6).

We would strongly rec­om­mend you read last is­sue’s Blues The­ory ar­ti­cle: it’s quite ex­haus­tive!

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