Shaun Bax­ter con­cludes his series look­ing at us­ing sus4 tri­ads to cre­ate con­tem­po­rary-sound­ing blues-rock lines drawn from the Mixoly­dian scale.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Bax­ter with the last in this present mini series look­ing at sus4 tri­ads in the Mixoly­dian.

The cur­rent series has been de­voted to ex­tract­ing var­i­ous sus­pended 4th tri­ads from within A Mixoly­dian as an an­ti­dote to just playing straight up and down the scale (ie us­ing ev­ery note rather than ex­tract­ing dis­tinct flavours by be­ing se­lec­tive). In other words, 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.

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, let’s start with a re­minder of how a sus­pended 4th triad is cre­ated. It’s 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 C# to cre­ate an A triad (A-C#-E). Be­cause they sound am­bigu­ous and non-com­mit­tal, 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 scale: A B C# D E F# G 1 2 34 56 b7 ADE Asus4 – 1 4 5 B E F# Bsus4 – 1 4 5 C# F# G C#dim sus4 – 1 4 b5 DGA Dsus4 – 1 4 5 E A B Em­sus4 – 1 4 5 F# B C# F#sus4 – 1 4 5 G C# D Gsus#4 – 1 #4 5 Work­ing out sus­pended 4th triad shapes from within a scale isn’t 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 (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 lat­eral move­ment (up and/or down along the length of the gui­tar neck) as well as mov­ing on to larger shapes.

Al­though we will be oc­cu­py­ing dif­fer­ent

scale po­si­tions, we are go­ing to con­sider ‘lat­eral’ mo­tion as in­volv­ing the move­ment of equiv­a­lent ideas ei­ther up or down along the length of the gui­tar neck.

Once you have mas­tered the ex­am­ples in this les­son, 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). 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.

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. As with any other tech­nique, it’s ul­ti­mately your own taste and dis­cre­tion that will dic­tate which of th­ese sus4 ideas work best for you.

Fi­nally, and with that in mind, 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 less me­chan­i­cal.


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