CRE­ATIVE ROCK

In this new mini-se­ries Shaun Bax­ter looks at ways of ex­tract­ing ear-catch­ing 7th arpeg­gios from within the A Mixoly­dian scale.

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE -

In this new mini-se­ries Shaun Bax­ter looks at ways of ex­tract­ing ear-catch­ing 7th arpeg­gios from within the A Mixoly­dian scale.

Re­cently, we have fo­cused on var­i­ous ways of cre­at­ing fresh­ness and va­ri­ety by be­ing selec­tive with our note choice, rather than sim­ply play­ing up and down each scale. We started by look­ing at ways of ex­tract­ing three-note en­ti­ties from the scale in the form of tri­ads; now we are go­ing to study four-note en­ti­ties, by learn­ing how to ex­tract

var­i­ous 7th arpeg­gios from the scale.

To es­tab­lish the 7th arpeg­gios within A Mixoly­dian we sim­ply have to ex­tend the tri­ads that we have stud­ied by an­other 3rd. In other words, by play­ing every other note from each start­ing note, in­stead of just 1-3-5, we can jump over 6 and play 7 too (giv­ing us a

1-3-5-7 from each start­ing note). Us­ing leaps like this (in­ter­vals of a or greater) in­stead of steps (in­ter­vals of a tone or smaller) will re­sult in bolder har­monic con­tent to your sin­gle-note lines. And, in this les­son, each line uses notes of the scale in such a way that we get to im­ply chord mo­tion. The full list of arpeg­gios within A Mixoly­dian is as fol­lows:

In the heat of im­pro­vi­sa­tion, things are rarely this com­pli­cated. Ba­si­cally, you sim­ply need to learn how to recog­nise and play a four-note con­fig­u­ra­tion com­pris­ing every other note from each start­ing note within the scale.

To do this, it be­comes much more con­ve­nient and con­sis­tent to use three-notes-per-string pat­terns (see Diagram 1) rather than the CAGED shapes that we have stud­ied so far. This is not to say that you must ditch the CAGED shapes. The CAGED shapes should be your vis­ual ref­er­ence, how­ever, you move on the neck (along the length of one string etc). Three-notes-per-string shapes can pro­vide tech­ni­cal con­ve­nience for cer­tain tech­niques, but will of­ten in­volve strad­dling two CAGED shapes or drift­ing from one to an­other. In Diagram 1, I have num­bered each three-notes­per-string pat­tern in re­la­tion to its near­est equiv­a­lent CAGED shape (just play through them in or­der: 1-2a-2b-3-4-5a-5b-1). And Diagram 2 shows all the notes of A Mixoly­dian on the guitar, so that you can see how ev­ery­thing fits to­gether.

When play­ing three-notes-per-string, for every group of three ad­ja­cent strings, there will be three tri­ads. In as­cend­ing or­der, we have the fol­low­ing:

First triad (2-1-1):

Low­est and high­est notes of thick­est string Mid­dle note of medium string Low­est note of thinnest string Sec­ond triad (1-2-1): Mid­dle note of thick­est string Low­est and high­est notes of medium string Mid­dle note of thinnest string Third triad (1-1-2): High­est note of thick­est string Mid­dle note of medium string Low­est and high­est notes of thinnest string In the fol­low­ing les­son, we are go­ing to look at Mixoly­dian lines that em­ploy var­i­ous di­a­tonic arpeg­gios from within each scale shape; how­ever, to start with, in this les­son, we are go­ing to be­gin with ex­er­cises that will help

you to de­velop the abil­ity to both see and play di­a­tonic arpeg­gios from within a given scale. The fol­low­ing ta­ble shows the 24 ways in which the or­der of four dif­fer­ent pitches can be played: Our mu­si­cal ex­er­cises will em­ploy just a few of these, but you should aim to try all 24 in or­der to es­tab­lish your own mu­si­cal pref­er­ences. As you work through each of the first nine ex­er­cises, try tak­ing just three beats at a time (in other words, all three arpeg­gios from each three-string group), as this will help with your vi­su­al­i­sa­tion. Ba­si­cally, you will be fol­low­ing the 2-1-1, 1-2-1, and 1-1-2 con­fig­u­ra­tion within each of the fol­low­ing string groups: • Sixth string, fifth string, fourth string • Fifth string, fourth string, third string • Fourth string, third string, sec­ond string • Third string, sec­ond string, first string

In this les­son, we are go­ing to limit our ap­proach to four-note shapes rather than ex­tend each arpeg­gio be­yond the span of an oc­tave. This is be­cause some arpeg­gios within a scale sound less set­tled than oth­ers when played against the un­der­ly­ing chord. In A

C#7b5, Mixoly­dian, the A7, Em7 and Gmaj7 arpeg­gios sound set­tled against A7; whereas, the Bm7, Dmaj7 and F#m7 arpeg­gios sound more tense. We can use this ten­sion, but only fleet­ingly; con­se­quently, we need to shift through the lat­ter arpeg­gios rel­a­tively quickly. Us­ing large arpeg­gio shapes forces us to spend longer on each arpeg­gio and, there­fore, risk ex­tend­ing pe­ri­ods of dis­so­nance to un­com­fort­able lev­els for the lis­tener, re­sult­ing in your lines just not sound­ing right.

Fi­nally, re­gard­ing ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, it’s im­por­tant to ap­pre­ci­ate that we are only work­ing with the root in­ver­sion of each 7th arpeg­gio in this les­son (1-3-5-7), whereas it is also pos­si­ble to use the first in­ver­sion (3-5-7-1), sec­ond in­ver­sions (5-7-1-3) and third in­ver­sion (7-1-3-5) too. Fur­ther­more, al­though we are work­ing ex­clu­sively with A Mixoly­dian, the same ap­proach can also be ap­plied to all other seven-note scales.

ThREE-NOTEs-pER-sTRING shApEs pRO­VIDE CON­VE­NIENCE fOR sOmE TECh­NIquEs BuT wILL Of­TEN mEAN sTRAD­DLING OR DRIfT­ING BE­TwEEN CAGED sCALE shApEs

All the ex­am­ples were recorded us­ing a stan­dard blues-rock sound: my 1962 Fen­der Strat through a Zen­drive into a Corn­ford head. From that start­ing point, for any given line, one just needs to con­sider which pickup(s) to use in or­der to get the most pleas­ing ef­fect. I used the honky in-be­tween set­ting be­tween the mid­dle and bridge pick­ups for most ex­am­ples.

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