CRE­ATIVE ROCK

Con­tin­u­ing his ex­clu­sive se­ries Shaun Baxter shows how you can ex­tract a range of dif­fer­ent Pen­ta­tonic scales from one Mixoly­dian scale.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Baxter in­ves­ti­gates how to cre­ate modal Pen­ta­tonic scales from within Mixoly­dian.

Re­cently, we have been ex­plor­ing var­i­ous ways of us­ing Mixoly­dian mode (1-2-3-4-5-6-b7) over a dom­i­nant chord (1-3-5-b7). So far, we have ex­tracted a range of dif­fer­ent ‘de­vices’ and flavours: • Tri­ads (three-note en­ti­ties) • Arpeg­gios (four-note en­ti­ties) • Pen­ta­tonic scales (five-note en­ti­ties) Each con­cept pro­vides a dif­fer­ent men­tal and au­ral per­spec­tive, lead­ing you to play dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal ideas each time.

In terms of Pen­ta­tonic (five-note) scales, we have looked at the fol­low­ing: Ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic: 1-2-3-4-6

1-2-3-5-b7 Dom­i­nant Pen­ta­tonic:

1-3-4-5-b7 In­dian pen­ta­tonic: And also some al­ter­na­tives from an eight-note hy­brid Mixoly­dian where a bluesy mi­nor 3rd (shown as #2 be­cause there’s al­ready a ma­jor

1-2-#2-3-4-5-6-b7): 3rd in the scale) is added:

1-b3-4-5-b7 Mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic:

1-#2-3-5-b7 7#9 Pen­ta­tonic: 6#9 Pen­ta­tonic: 1-#2-3-5-6

1-b3-4-5-6 m6 Pen­ta­tonic:

Each of the Pen­ta­tonic scales shown above is from the root of the par­ent A scale; how­ever, in this les­son we are go­ing to look at ways of es­tab­lish­ing Pen­ta­tonic scales that stem from notes of A Mixoly­dian other than the root.

A Mixoly­dian is the fifth mode in the key of D. Although the mu­si­cal cen­tre of grav­ity is A(7) when us­ing A Mixoly­dian over our A7th chord vamp, we can still utilise the dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives that the modes of D Ma­jor of­fer us in or­der to get dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal ef­fects. So here we are go­ing to use each note of our Mixoly­dian as the po­ten­tial root of an­other Pen­ta­tonic scale, by play­ing the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th notes of each mode

So, now we have ended up with seven dif­fer­ent Pen­ta­tonic scales that can be used over our A dom­i­nant 7th chord vamp, be­cause each is de­rived from notes within A Mixoly­dian.

If you look at Table 1, you will see some fa­mil­iar scales: namely, the Mi­nor Pen­ta­ton­ics (that stem from se­lect­ing the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th notes of E Dorian, F# Phry­gian and B Ae­o­lian) and the In­dian Pen­ta­tonic (that stems from se­lect­ing the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th notes of A Mixoly­dian). How­ever, you will also no­tice some less fa­mil­iar ones stem­ming from the D, G and C# notes, and we are go­ing to be in­cor­po­rat­ing these fresh sounds into our mu­si­cal ex­am­ples for this les­son.

Di­a­gram #1 shows the root po­si­tion (CAGED shape #1) of each Pen­ta­tonic scale. You should also map out the notes of each of these scales on the neck and then iso­late each of the dif­fer­ent two-notes-per-string shapes

we have ended up with five dif­fer­ent pen­ta­tonic scales that can be used over our dom­i­nant vamp

so that you can es­tab­lish the other CAGED shapes for each scale, and start ex­per­i­ment­ing with ideas us­ing those shapes too. Your aim should be to start de­vel­op­ing your own per­sonal reper­toire of licks and lines in each shape, so that you have more am­mu­ni­tion to work with when im­pro­vis­ing. Not all of these sounds will ap­peal, or be ap­pro­pri­ate to your style, so choose those work for you first and come back to the oth­ers at your leisure.

Fi­nally, note that the back­ing track for the mu­si­cal ex­am­ples is very slow (60bpm); so don’t be put off by the sight of so many 32nd-notes in the tran­scrip­tions, as, speed­wise, they are equiv­a­lent to 16th-notes at 120bpm. Have fun!

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