Shaun Bax­ter con­tin­ues to help you ex­tract ear-catch­ing di­a­tonic arpeg­gios from within each scale pat­tern. This month: ‘along the neck’ lines.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

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

Re­cently, we’ve been fo­cus­ing on var­i­ous ways of cre­at­ing fresh­ness and va­ri­ety by be­ing se­lec­tive with our note choice, rather than sim­ply play­ing up and down each scale. In the pre­vi­ous two lessons, we looked at ways of find­ing and us­ing 7th arpeg­gios within a sin­gle scale shape (re­sult­ing in ver­ti­cal mo­tion, whereby we stay within the same area of the neck); how­ever, in this and the fol­low­ing les­son, we’re go­ing to look at ways of us­ing 7th arpeg­gios when trav­el­ling lat­er­ally on the gui­tar neck.

To estab­lish the 7th arpeg­gios within A Mixoly­dian (A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G), we sim­ply need to play ev­ery other note from each note of the scale (giv­ing us a 1-3-5-7 from each start­ing note). Us­ing leaps like this (in­ter­vals of a mi­nor third or greater) in­stead of steps (in­ter­vals of a tone or smaller) will re­sult in bolder har­monic con­tent to your sin­gle-note lines be­cause they will im­ply chord mo­tion. The full list of arpeg­gios within A Mixoly­dian is 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 start­ing note within the scale. To do this, it be­comes much more con­ve­nient and con­sis­tent to use three-notes­per-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-notes-per-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.

In the next les­son, we are go­ing to look at Mixoly­dian lines that em­ploy var­i­ous di­a­tonic arpeg­gios while shift­ing lat­er­ally on the gui­tar neck; how­ever, in this les­son, we’re go­ing to start with ex­er­cises that will help you to de­velop the abil­ity to both see and play di­a­tonic 7th arpeg­gios from within a given scale when mov­ing along the neck in this man­ner. We are go­ing to limit the bulk of 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#m7b5, Mixoly­dian, the A7, Em7 and Gmaj7 arpeg­gios sound set­tled against A7; whereas the Bm7, Dmaj7 and F#m7 arpeg­gios sound tenser. 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.

Ta­ble 2 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 - there’s a lot of in­ter­est­ing and dif­fer­ent sounds to be found. 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. Plus, al­though we are work­ing ex­clu­sively with A Mixoly­dian, the same ap­proach can also be ap­plied to all other seven-note scales, so once you’ve gone through th­ese there’s plenty of fur­ther study.

Tri­ads will sound good ei­ther clean or dis­torted; but as this is Cre­ative Rock, all the ex­am­ples were recorded us­ing a stan­dard blues-rock sound: I used my 1962 Strat through a dis­tor­tion pedal into a valve head. From there one just needs to con­sider pick­ups: I used the honky in-be­tween set­ting be­tween mid­dle and bridge pick­ups for most ex­am­ples.

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