Martin Gould­ing guides you in that on­go­ing quest for perfect fretboard nav­i­ga­tion.

This is­sue Martin Gould­ing ex­plores one of the most pop­u­lar scales for im­pro­vis­ing over mi­nor 7 chords: the ever mu­si­cal Do­rian mode.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Do­rian is the sec­ond mode of the Ma­jor scale, so in the key of G Ma­jor that would be A Do­rian: A-B-C-D-E-F#-G (R-2-b3-4-5-6-b7). A pop­u­lar choice when im­pro­vis­ing over m7 chords, Do­rian mode is char­ac­terised by the ma­jor 6th de­gree (F#) which dif­fer­en­ti­ates it from Ae­o­lian and Phry­gian, the other mi­nor modes, both of which con­tain the darker mi­nor 6th (F).

Based around last month’s for­mula, we’ll ar­range the Do­rian mode as two ‘mas­ter ex­er­cises’ in po­si­tions 1 and 4, with the chord, scale, arpeg­gio and in­ter­val­lic pat­tern all in­cor­po­rated into a sin­gle ex­er­cise for max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency. We’ll be play­ing through the scale firstly in 3rds and then in 4ths, with strict al­ter­nate pick­ing. Play­ing through th­ese in­ter­vals may be chal­leng­ing at first, so try break­ing each ex­am­ple down four notes at a time and work on mem­o­ris­ing each ‘frag­ment’ be­fore mov­ing on. Pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the rec­om­mended fin­ger­ings as well as the di­rec­tion of the pick strokes, which form the mo­men­tum of the tech­nique. As with all ex­er­cise rou­tines, shake out the hands and arms as soon as you feel ten­sion or fa­tigue.

In the third ex­am­ple, we’ll work on de­vel­op­ing our recog­ni­tion of the strong­est in­ter­vals in Do­rian – the chord tones, or notes

(R-b3-5-b7). of the m7 arpeg­gio We’ll do this by ‘en­clos­ing’ each con­sec­u­tive chord tone us­ing an ‘up­per neigh­bour tone’ (scale note higher than the chord tone), fol­lowed by a ‘lower neigh­bour tone’ (one scale de­gree lower). This pro­vides a vis­ual map of the key in­ter­vals from which we can start and re­solve our melodies when im­pro­vis­ing.

When play­ing in­ter­val­lic pat­terns that re­quire fret­ting-hand bar­ring and rolling when play­ing ad­ja­cent notes across two strings, adopt a ‘square and dropped’ hand po­si­tion with the thumb po­si­tioned in the mid­dle of the back of the neck, and with plenty of space be­tween the un­der­side of the neck and the ‘cup’ of the hand. This ‘clas­si­cal’ hand po­si­tion may feel un­usual if you are from a blues-based back­ground and play ‘thumb over the top’ style. But with the hand po­si­tion square, you’ll be able to stretch out and po­si­tion your fin­gers for greater ac­cu­racy, with the first fin­ger set to mute off the ad­ja­cent lower string with its tip, as well as rest­ing flat over any higher tre­ble strings un­der­neath. With the pick­ing hand mut­ing off any unat­tended lower strings, the notes should sound clear and even in ve­loc­ity. NEXT MONTH Martin con­tin­ues his se­ries that helps to hone your Fretboard Nav­i­ga­tion

play­ing through the ex­am­ples may prove chal­leng­ing, so break them down four notes at a time

Car­los San­tana’s play­ing is of­ten tinged with the sound of Do­rian

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