Shaun Bax­ter shows how to use in­ver­sions of the same triad in or­der to shift along the neck and cre­ate ex­cit­ing new Mixoly­dian lines.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Bax­ter blends more bluesy ideas with the Mixoly­dian – this month, stack­ing tri­ads.

In pre­vi­ous lessons, we’ve looked at ways of de­riv­ing tri­ads from A Mixoly­dian to be used as the ba­sis for new lines. Tri­ads can in­tro­duce har­monic propul­sion into your lines by im­ply­ing chord mo­tion, cre­at­ing re­sults that sound ear-catch­ing and pow­er­ful.

So far, we’ve looked at the ‘ver­ti­cal’ use of tri­ads whereby ideas have been con­fined to a sin­gle area of the neck; how­ever, now we’re go­ing to look at play­ing ‘lat­eral’ ideas: ones that take us

along the neck. Rather than deal with all the po­ten­tial tri­ads within a scale, we’re just go­ing to fo­cus on the ‘parental’ triad: the one that stems from the root note. In A Mixoly­dian, the parental triad is A: A-B-C#-D-E -F#-G b7 1-2-3-4-5-6- A Mixoly­dian: A-C#-E 1-3-5 Here, the A triad rep­re­sents the most stable notes: the notes of rest as far as the ear is con­cerned; con­se­quently, it should act as the back­bone or ba­sis when build­ing lines.

Di­a­gram 1 shows the var­i­ous CAGED shapes of A Mixoly­dian and the dark notes rep­re­sent the A triad notes in each shape. It is vi­tal to start build­ing your lines around these notes, so why not take your ex­ist­ing vo­cab­u­lary in each shape and forge the two to­gether in var­i­ous ways.

Di­a­gram 2 shows how all the CAGED shapes link to­gether along the neck, and it’s this par­tic­u­lar scheme that forms the ba­sis of this les­son.

Most play­ers who are new to us­ing tri­ads find it dif­fi­cult to make mu­sic us­ing leaps (in­ter­vals of a mi­nor 3rd or greater) rather than steps (in­ter­vals of a tone or smaller); how­ever, through per­se­ver­ance it’ll soon be­come pos­si­ble to use tri­ads nat­u­rally. Be­cause of their ver­ti­cal na­ture (of­ten fea­tur­ing just one note per string), sweep pick­ing is a rec­om­mended ap­proach if you want to play tri­ads (es­pe­cially large ones) at speed. Also, where con­sec­u­tive notes on dif­fer­ent strings oc­cupy the same fret, you will have to em­ploy a barre roll. This tech­nique in­volves us­ing the same fin­ger to play two con­sec­u­tive notes on dif­fer­ent strings within the same fret. When fol­low­ing a note on a thicker string with a note on a thin­ner string, you would fret the note on the thicker string with the tip of the fin­ger and then play the note on the thin­ner string by flat­ten­ing the same fin­ger against it. The pres­sure on the fin­ger­tip should be re­leased so that you don’t end up hold­ing both strings down at once: you should aim to make only one note sound out at any par­tic­u­lar time.

Con­versely, when fol­low­ing a note on a thin­ner string with a note on a thicker string, you would fret the note on the thin­ner string with the un­der­side of the fin­ger so that you have enough fin­ger left over to play the fol­low­ing note on the thicker string by push­ing the el­bow for­ward so that the fin­ger­print part of the same fin­ger can be flat­tened against it. Again, only one fin­ger should be held down at any one time so that notes do not run into each other. This sep­a­ra­tion can be helped by us­ing the side of pick­ing hand to rest lightly on the bridge in or­der to slightly palm mute through­out.

Fi­nally, when ex­per­i­ment­ing, you should work at es­tab­lish­ing vo­cab­u­lary that stems from each of the five CAGED shapes on, not just Mixoly­dian, but ev­ery other scale that you know – all these ideas are per­fectly trans­fer­able to any other scale. Also, re­mem­ber to work at cre­at­ing ideas that have some form of rhyth­mic in­ter­est, as this is a great way help to make tri­ads sound more mu­si­cal and less me­chan­i­cal. And seam­lessly in­fil­trat­ing tri­ads into your reg­u­lar scalic licks is def­i­nitely the way for­ward.

In the fol­low­ing les­son, we look at ways of tak­ing the prin­ci­ples that we have used here with the parental triad and ap­ply­ing them to the other tri­ads that ex­ist within the scale.

many play­ers new to us­ing tri­ads find it dif­fi­cult to use in­ter­vals of a mi­nor 3rd or greater

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