Shaun Bax­ter re­places the 3rd of each triad with a 4th for a mod­ern, ear-catch­ing vari­a­tion that will in­ject a dif­fer­ent flavour into your so­los.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Bax­ter re­places the 3rd in each triad with a 4th for a mod­ern, in­fec­tious sound.

So far in Cre­ative Rock, we’ve looked at ways of de­riv­ing tri­ads from A Mixoly­dian and us­ing them as the ba­sis for new ideas: an ap­proach that can be du­pli­cated for all other scales too.

Tri­ads can in­tro­duce har­monic propul­sion into your sin­gle-note lines by im­ply­ing chord mo­tion; pro­duc­ing re­sults that sound both ear-catch­ing and pow­er­ful. In this new se­ries, we will ex­plore the use of a con­tem­po­rarysound­ing vari­a­tion where the 3rd note of each triad is re­placed by a fourth in or­der to create a sus­pended 4th triad.

It is called sus­pended be­cause, when played as a chord, it sounds like it’s hang­ing in the air, need­ing to re­solve. For ex­am­ple, if you play Asus4 (A-D-E) it sounds like the D note needs to re­solve to a C# or C in or­der to create a ‘sta­ble’ A triad (A-C#-E) or A mi­nor (A-C-E).

Be­cause they sound am­bigu­ous (no 3rd to state ma­jor or mi­nor), sus­pended chords are used a lot in mod­ern styles like jazz-fu­sion, which tend to be more ab­stract in na­ture. Let’s start by es­tab­lish­ing the list of sus­pended 4th tri­ads avail­able to us within A Mixoly­dian: [same notes as C#dim­susb2]

As with many of the con­cepts that we’ve ex­plored, it is im­por­tant that you sep­a­rate the aca­demic de­lib­er­a­tion in­volved in the ‘re­search and de­vel­op­ment’ process from the more in­stinc­tive use of the shapes that you have es­tab­lished through that study. In other words, al­though use­ful in es­tab­lish­ing your the­o­ret­i­cal op­tions at the start, it’s im­por­tant to re­duce the in­for­ma­tion down to fa­mil­iar shapes as soon as pos­si­ble, rather than be­ing overtly aware of the name of each par­tic­u­lar triad be­ing played in the heat of the mo­ment. To do this, it is use­ful to break sus4 tri­ads into their com­po­nent parts so that we can learn to recog­nise what they look like on the gui­tar. A sus4 triad com­prises an interval of a 4th from root to 4th, fol­lowed by an interval of a 2nd from the 4th to the 5th.

Within any mode of the Ma­jor scale (such as Mixoly­dian), there are three pos­si­ble forms of sus­pended 4th triad (see Di­a­gram 1), de­pend­ing from which note of the scale you are con­struct­ing the triad.

Now, let’s look at trans­fer­ring this in­for­ma­tion on to the gui­tar, so that we can start to recog­nise what it ac­tu­ally looks like on the fret­board. Start with your first fin­ger on any note of A Mixoly­dian on the sec­ond string. In your mind’s eye (if you know the scale prop­erly), you should be able to see if there is a scale note on the sec­ond string within the same fret (per­fect 4th) or a fret higher (aug­mented or sharp 4th).

If the first interval is a per­fect 4th, then the fol­low­ing interval will be ei­ther a semi­tone or a tone higher on the first string (again, you should be able to see this in your head if you know the scale well enough). If the first interval is an aug­mented 4th, then the fol­low­ing interval will al­ways be a semi­tone.

For ex­am­ple, if you place your first fin­ger on the D note at the 3rd fret of the sec­ond string (root of our triad), your next note in the scale will be within the same fret on the first

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