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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.
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!