CRE­ATIVE ROCK

In or­der to cre­ate more in­ter­est­ing lines, Shaun Bax­ter stacks his Mixoly­dian tri­ads, en­sur­ing that your mu­si­cal palate never be­comes jaded!

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Bax­ter gets sus­pended this month sus­pended chords that is - for an­other CR...

Agood cook is selec­tive with any avail­able in­gre­di­ents in or­der to pre­vent the palate from be­com­ing jaded. If you al­ways throw ev­ery­thing in the pot, you’ll end up eat­ing stew ev­ery day, whereas, if you limit your­self to just a few things each time, you can eat dif­fer­ently ev­ery day. The same ap­plies when im­pro­vis­ing. If you use ev­ery note in the scale, you’ll end up with the same ho­mogenised re­sults (mu­si­cal stew); how­ever, by be­ing selec­tive with our note choice, we can ex­tract a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent and dis­tinct flavours. Many of our re­cent lessons in Cre­ative Rock have been de­voted to just that. In this present se­ries, we are fo­cus­ing on ex­tract­ing sus­pended 4th tri­ads from the scale (in this case, A Mixoly­dian) in or­der to pro­duce sounds that are quite dif­fer­ent from sim­ply play­ing up and down the scale (us­ing ev­ery note). Sus­pended 4th tri­ads sound mod­ern, an­gu­lar and airy and are cre­ated when the 3rd note of each triad is re­placed by a 4th.

Be­fore we look at the mu­si­cal ex­am­ples within this les­son, we should start by re­mind­ing our­selves of how a sus­pended 4th triad is cre­ated. It is called ‘sus­pended’ be­cause, when played as a chord, it sounds like it’s hang­ing in the air, need­ing to re­solve to some­thing more sta­ble sound­ing. For ex­am­ple, if you play Asus4 (A-D-E) it sounds like the D note needs to re­solve to a C# note in or­der to cre­ate a com­fort­able sound­ing A triad (A-C#-E).

Be­cause they sound am­bigu­ous and non­com­mit­tal, sus­pended chords are used a lot in mod­ern styles like jazz fu­sion, which tend to be more ab­stract in na­ture. Here’s the list of sus­pended 4th tri­ads avail­able to us within A Mixoly­dian: Work­ing out sus­pended 4th triad shapes from within a scale isn’t quite as dif­fi­cult as it may look on pa­per. Ba­si­cally, you just fol­low a log­i­cal pro­gres­sion: once you have es­tab­lished the notes of one sus4 triad, you sim­ply move each note up or down to the next note in the scale in or­der to get the neigh­bour­ing sus4 triad within that key (or scale). Com­monly on gui­tar, you will get each one-oc­tave triad fin­gered in one of four dif­fer­ent ways: • Three notes on one string (3 con­fig­u­ra­tion) • Two notes on one string and then one note on a higher string (2-1 con­fig­u­ra­tion) • One note on one string and then two notes on a higher string (1-2 con­fig­u­ra­tion) • One note on each ad­ja­cent string (1-1-1 con­fig­u­ra­tion)

In this les­son, we will be fo­cus­ing ex­clu­sively on 1-2 and 2-1 note-

YOU SHOULD AIM TO ES­TAB­LISH SIM­I­LAR IDEAS STEM­MING FROM ALL Of THE CAGED SHAPES Of MIXOLY­DIAN THAT YOU KNOW

con­fig­u­ra­tions. In which case, as you have prob­a­bly worked out, they will all be two-string shapes. There is a limit to how much ground we can cover here; how­ever, you should aim to es­tab­lish sim­i­lar ideas stem­ming from ev­ery one of the CAGED shapes of Mixoly­dian (and, even­tu­ally, ev­ery other scale that you use, since th­ese prin­ci­ples ap­ply to all of them). Diagram 1 shows each of the CAGED shapes of A Mixoly­dian, and Diagram 2 shows how all of th­ese shapes link up along the neck.

Work­ing within the re­stric­tions of a sin­gle con­cept like sus­pended 4th tri­ads will help to force you out of your ‘usual’ step-based ap­proach to scale play­ing and into less fa­mil­iar, but fresher-sound­ing ar­eas. Re­mem­ber, your aim, through for­mal ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with sus­pended 4th ideas is to es­tab­lish a se­ries of friendly and flex­i­ble shapes (rather than the­o­ret­i­cal con­cepts) that ex­ist within each par­tic­u­lar scale pat­tern, al­low­ing you to use the in­for­ma­tion in a more in­stinc­tive and in­tu­itive way, so they don’t just sound like ex­er­cises.

Fi­nally, as in pre­vi­ous lessons, when ex­per­i­ment­ing with your own ideas, re­mem­ber to work at cre­at­ing ones that have some form of rhyth­mic in­ter­est, as this is a great way help to make things sound more mu­si­cal and, again, less me­chan­i­cal.

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