CRE­ATIVE ROCK

In this les­son Shaun Baxter shows how you can use di­a­tonic arpeg­gios to give your lines a fu­sion-like so­phis­ti­ca­tion when us­ing any scale.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Baxter con­tin­ues his mini-se­ries on cre­atively us­ing Mixoly­dian 7th arpeg­gios.

In the pre­vi­ous les­son, to pro­vide fresh­ness and va­ri­ety to our note choices, we looked at some ex­er­cises that in­volved ex­tract­ing di­a­tonic 7th arpeg­gios from three-notes­per-string scale pat­terns. Most self-taught play­ers start off by play­ing ‘steps’ (in­ter­vals of a tone or less) by mov­ing from one scale note up or down to the neigh­bour­ing one; whereas arpeg­gios in­volve play­ing ‘leaps’ (in­ter­vals of a mi­nor 3rd or greater) and help to pro­vide a strong, ear-catch­ing sense of di­rec­tion to your lines be­cause they help to im­ply chord mo­tion. In other words, they have har­monic con­tent as well as melodic con­tent.

In this les­son, we’ll cre­ate mu­si­cal lines (rather than ex­er­cises) us­ing 7th arpeg­gios di­a­tonic to A Mixoly­dian, so let’s start by quickly re­vis­ing the the­ory be­hind this.

To es­tab­lish the 7th arpeg­gios within A Mixoly­dian, we must stack three scale 3rds on top of each given note. In other words, we play ev­ery other note from each note of the scale. By think­ing of each start­ing note as the root (1) of a new arpeg­gio, we will get a va­ri­ety of 1, 3, 5 and 7 in­ter­vals (giv­ing us ei­ther a maj7, 7,

m7b5 m7 or arpeg­gio, de­pend­ing on where we are in the scale). The full list of arpeg­gios within A Mixoly­dian are as shown in Ta­ble 1.

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 note of the scale.

To do this, as we found in the pre­vi­ous les­son, it is of­ten more con­ve­nient and con­sis­tent to ex­tend each CAGED shape so that we can play three-notes-per-string; how­ever, it is my firm be­lief that the CAGED shapes should still be your main vis­ual ref­er­ence wher­ever you are on the neck. And, in this les­son, we are go­ing to be es­tab­lish­ing some 7th arpeg­gio-based vo­cab­u­lary in the

arpeg­gios in­volve play­ing in­ter­vals of a mi­nor 3rd or more and pro­vide an ear-catch­ing sense of di­rec­tion

var­i­ous CAGED shapes of A Mixoly­dian (see Di­a­gram 1).

We are go­ing to limit our ap­proach to four-note shapes rather than ex­tend each arpeg­gio shape be­yond the span of an oc­tave. This is be­cause some arpeg­gios within a scale sound less set­tled than oth­ers when played against the un­der­ly­ing A7 chord. In A

C#m7b5, Mixoly­dian, the A7, Em7 and Gmaj7 arpeg­gios sound set­tled against A7; whereas, the Bm7, Dmaj7 and F#m7 arpeg­gios sound more tense. We can utilise 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, risks ex­tend­ing the periods of dis­so­nance to un­com­fort­able lev­els for the lis­tener, re­sult­ing in your lines just not sound­ing right - an el­e­ment of dis­so­nance can sound ex­cit­ing, but too much can be un­set­tling.

When play­ing four-note shapes, it’s good to be aware of the 24 ways in which the or­der of four dif­fer­ent pitches can be played (as stud­ied in the pre­vi­ous les­son): See Ta­ble 2. We will be mak­ing ref­er­ence to these per­mu­ta­tions when study­ing the fol­low­ing mu­si­cal ex­am­ples.

To make the tran­si­tion from the sort of ex­er­cises that we looked at in the pre­vi­ous les­son to ‘proper’ mu­si­cal ex­am­ples, we need to in­tro­duce an el­e­ment of phras­ing (pro­duced via a com­bi­na­tion of ap­ply­ing rhyth­mic vari­a­tion and leav­ing gaps) and ar­tic­u­la­tion (adding var­i­ous forms of ex­pres­sion via bends, vi­brato, slides etc).

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 with just A Mixoly­dian for the pur­poses of this les­son, it’s vi­tal you re­alise the same ap­proach can be ap­plied to all other seven-note scales. And that, when you think about it, is an al­most in­fi­nite num­ber of lines you can ex­trap­o­late from a sin­gle les­son.

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