CRE­ATIVE ROCK

This month Shaun Bax­ter con­tin­ues his ma­jor-mi­nor ex­plo­rations, mov­ing up through the gears by look­ing at eighth-note triplet lines.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Bax­ter shows you more new ways of bring­ing rock sounds to your blues play­ing.

In this new se­ries, we are look­ing at build­ing a work­ing vo­cab­u­lary of lines, in all five CAGED shapes, that com­bine Mixoly­dian with the mi­nor Blues scale over a dom­i­nant chord or tonal­ity.

Strictly speak­ing, the Mixoly­dian mode fits best over a Dom­i­nant 7 chord be­cause it con­tains all the rel­e­vant chord tones. How­ever, the mi­nor Blues scale is also used as a form of ten­sion. This is be­cause many play­ers find

the 'cor­rect' Mixoly­dian sounds too pretty with ex­tended use over a dom­i­nant 7th chord, whereas the mi­nor Blues scale adds a more or­ganic and earthy ef­fect. In short, its mi­nor 3rd sounds dis­so­nant against a 7th chord, whereas Mixoly­dian (with its ma­jor 3rd) sounds more re­solved; hence the two scales pro­vide us with the means to pro­duce ten­sion and re­lease in our so­los.

As we learned in the pre­vi­ous les­son, the dis­tinc­tion be­tween the two tonal­i­ties isn’t al­ways clear, as most blues, rock and coun­try play­ers will oc­cupy a mi­cro­tonal tran­si­tional sound that oc­curs be­tween the cracks. In the var­i­ous ex­am­ples in this les­son, you will see a mi­cro­tonal ‘curl’ that only hap­pens on the mi­nor 3rd; it’s slowly inch­ing its way up to a ma­jor 3rd, but never quite gets there; lin­ger­ing in a har­monic no man’s land be­tween mi­nor and ma­jor.

Di­a­gram 1 shows the neck in five dif­fer­ent ar­eas (in ac­cor­dance to the CAGED sys­tem). Make sure that you can ex­tract all of the fol­low­ing sounds in each po­si­tion: Dom­i­nant sounds:

1-2-3-4-5-6-b7 A Mixoly­dian:

1-3-5-b7 A 7th arpeg­gio: A ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic: 1-2-3-5-6 Mi­nor sounds:

1-b3-4-b5-5-b7 A Blues scale: [note that the is the dark­est note: it is a ‘pass­ing’ note that needs to be han­dled with care] A mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic: 1- 3-4-5- 7

Shift­ing up through the gears, Di­a­gram 2 shows some stan­dard rhyth­mic sub­di­vi­sion in 4/4, start­ing rel­a­tively slow with eighth-notes and then crank­ing things up to 16thnote triplets.

You don’t al­ways have to lock in to spe­cific rhythms like this, but it sets a good foun­da­tion, al­low­ing you to de­velop con­trol. If you’re al­ways float­ing above the mu­sic, you can’t prac­tise play­ing ac­cu­rately (in time).

In the pre­vi­ous les­son, we started with eighth-note lines. In this one, we’re go­ing to shift up a gear to eighth-note triplets.

All of the mu­si­cal ex­am­ples in this les­son are played over an A7 (Dom­i­nant) chord, and are writ­ten in 12/8, which is just a more con­ve­nient way of writ­ing out eighth-note triplets in 4/4. Us­ing 12/8 is a means of rep­re­sent­ing the above so that the tran­scriber doesn’t have to keep writ­ing ‘3’ above ev­ery group. Note that, be­cause they con­tain three eighth-notes, each pulse is writ­ten as a dot­ted quar­ter-note. In other words, al­though writ­ten in 12/8, all of the lines in this les­son can also be thought of as eighth-note triplet lines in 4/4.

Lots of great rock play­ers sound so good be­cause they pep­per their Ma­jor-scale runs with mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic and mi­nor Blues scale notes. Now it’s your turn to do the same.

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