Shaun Bax­ter con­tin­ues this se­ries with more great licks us­ing Dom­i­nant Pen­ta­tonic scale.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

The Dom­i­nant Pen­ta­tonic rep­re­sents five notes that can be ex­tracted from the Mixoly­dian scale that will al­low you to adopt a gui­tar-friendly, two-notes per-string ap­proach with a sound that is closer to the un­der­ly­ing Dom­i­nant 7th chord than the more com­mon Ma­jor or Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic: Ba­si­cally, it’s like a dom­i­nant 7th arpeg­gio with an added 2nd note, mak­ing it more akin to a 9th arpeg­gio. A - C# - E- G - B A9 b7 1 - 3 - 5- -9 By tak­ing the tra­di­tional two-notes-per-string shapes of A Ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic scale, and rais­ing each 6th (F#) a semi­tone higher (keep­ing it on the same string), so that it be­comes a mi­nor 7th (G), we get the five shapes shown in Di­a­gram 1. Note that each one is based around a ba­sic A7 chord shape and fits per­fectly within the CAGED sys­tem.

All the mu­si­cal ex­am­ples in this les­son fea­ture fast se­quences us­ing the Dom­i­nant Pen­ta­tonic scale. Once you have stud­ied each ex­am­ple, it’s im­por­tant to es­tab­lish an equiv­a­lent ap­proach in each of the other CAGED shapes of the scale. Also, try trans­fer­ring the same prin­ci­ples to other Pen­ta­tonic scales that you know.

To play se­quences up to a fast tempo, we will be us­ing a va­ri­ety of ap­proaches: two, three and four-notes-per-string; legato, fret­ting-hand tap­ping; pick­ing-hand-tap­ping etc. When learn­ing to mas­ter such tech­niques in each shape of a scale, it’s im­por­tant that you work on var­i­ous en­try and exit points so that you can flow from one idea into an­other. If work­ing on vo­cab­u­lary for a par­tic­u­lar CAGED shape for A Dom­i­nant Pen­ta­tonic, start by look­ing at how you can com­bine it with your ex­ist­ing Mixoly­dian and Blues scale vo­cab­u­lary in that same area.

Gen­er­ally, your aim should be to build up an arse­nal of shapes, licks and lines in each CAGED shape so that you have some flex­i­ble friends to draw upon when im­pro­vis­ing. This can only be achieved if you work at go­ing be­yond just play­ing each line ver­ba­tim. The line merely rep­re­sents a use­ful con­tour or chain of events for you to in­ter­pret in a mul­ti­tude of dif­fer­ent ways de­pend­ing on the mu­si­cal set­ting. This means you can prac­tise lim­it­ing your ap­proach to just one line, to see how much vari­a­tion you can ex­tract from it to make it work at any given mo­ment: start it dif­fer­ently; break off half-way through; change the end­ing; change the rhythm or tim­ing; you could even try play­ing it back­wards.

When im­pro­vis­ing, it’s far bet­ter to have 10 lines that you can in­ter­pret in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent ways to suit any mu­si­cal mo­ment, than to be at the mercy of 500 that are cast in stone. The lat­ter ap­proach re­duces you to men­tally scrolling through the en­tire list, fran­ti­cally hop­ing to pull one off the shelf that will pro­vide you with the per­fect mu­si­cal an­swer – hardly the grounds for fluid spon­tane­ity – whereas the for­mer can pro­duce very dif­fer­ent-sound­ing re­sults even though they stemmed from the same ref­er­ence point.

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