CRE­ATiVE ROCk

Shaun Bax­ter con­tin­ues his re­cent se­ries on us­ing tri­ads to cre­ate lines with a cool, fu­sion-like so­phis­ti­ca­tion. This month: work­ing in pairs.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Part three of Shaun Bax­ter’s Mixoly­dian triad se­ries. In this in­stal­ment: triad pairs.

In this se­ries, we’ve looked at ways of de­riv­ing tri­ads from A Mixoly­dian mode (A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G) in or­der to use them as the ba­sis for cre­at­ing new and more in­ter­est­ing mu­si­cal lines. This is be­cause tri­ads can help to in­tro­duce har­monic propul­sion into your sin­gle-note lines by im­ply­ing chord mo­tion, thereby cre­at­ing re­sults that sound both ear-catch­ing and pow­er­ful, and re­ally pull the lis­tener in. In the pre­vi­ous les­son, we took all of the tri­ads that ex­ist within Mixoly­dian to play lines that shift lat­er­ally along the gui­tar neck. In this one, we’re go­ing to get a bit more pre­cise by fo­cus­ing on two spe­cific tri­ads from within the scale.

A ‘triad pair’ is a cou­ple of tri­ads that can be found within a com­mon scale but do not share any notes. In the case of A Mixoly­dian, we have sev­eral choices. These in­clude: G Ma­jor (G-B-D) A Ma­jor (A-C#-E) E Mi­nor (E-G-B) F# Mi­nor (F#-A-C#) In this ar­ti­cle, we’re go­ing to fo­cus solely on G and A as our triad pairs. Note that, rel­a­tive to each other in terms of sound, the G triad will pro­vide a sus­pended form of ten­sion, whereas the A triad will sound re­solved as it re­lates more closely to the un­der­ly­ing chord.

Di­a­gram 1 shows the var­i­ous CAGED shapes of A Mixoly­dian and the dark notes rep­re­sent the parental A triad notes that ex­ist within each shape. Of all the dif­fer­ent tri­ads that ex­ist within the scale, this is the strong­est, and many of your lines should hinge on these notes in par­tic­u­lar, since they pro­vide a sound that feels like ‘home’.

Di­a­gram 2 shows how all the CAGED shapes link to­gether along the neck, so that you can see how ev­ery­thing is con­nected. It’s im­por­tant to note that many ideas, es­pe­cially lat­eral ones, will strad­dle two or more dif­fer­ent CAGED shapes at the same time, and it’s im­por­tant to be able to vi­su­alise this, as not only will it pre­vent you from get­ting lost, it will also help you reap­ply the ideas to dif­fer­ent keys.

Re­mem­ber, your aim through for­mal ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with triad pairs is to es­tab­lish a se­ries of friendly flex­i­ble shapes (rather than the­o­ret­i­cal con­cepts) that ex­ist within each par­tic­u­lar scale pat­tern; al­low­ing you to use the in­for­ma­tion in an in­stinc­tive and in­tu­itive way.

Ini­tially, you should aim to es­tab­lish some G and A-based vo­cab­u­lary in each of the five CAGED shapes of A Mixoly­dian. You should then work at us­ing Em and F#m as an al­ter­na­tive triad pair. Next, try tak­ing the triad pair-based vo­cab­u­lary that you’ve learned and trans­fer it to the other scales that you know by look­ing for a work­able triad pair from within each one.

Fi­nally, when ex­per­i­ment­ing, re­mem­ber to work at cre­at­ing ideas that have some form of rhyth­mic in­ter­est, as this is a great way to help to make tri­ads sound more mu­si­cal, in­te­grated and less me­chan­i­cal.

work at cre­at­ing ideas with rhyth­mic in­ter­est as this helps to make tri­ads sound less me­chan­i­cal

Tri­ads will sound good ei­ther clean or distorted; how­ever, as this is Cre­ative Rock, all the ex­am­ples were recorded us­ing a stan­dard blues-rock sound: a Fen­der Strat through a dis­tor­tion pedal (Zen­drive) into a (Corn­ford) head. For any given line, one just needs to con­sider which pickup to use (I used the bridge pickup through­out) and where to ap­ply a slight amount of palm mut­ing in or­der to clean things up in places. Add re­verb to taste.

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