This month Shaun Baxter shows how to create lines by combining a range of different five-note scales over a static dominant chord.
Shaun Baxter rounds up the Pentatonic scales that can be found in Mixolydian mode.
In our quest to find fresh things to do with the Mixolydian mode, we have extracted a range of different sounds from within the scale (triads, arpeggios and Pentatonic scales) to use as the basis of new musical ideas.
This lesson is designed to act as a round-up of all the different Pentatonic scales that we have studied. Here, we’re going to create lines by stringing together a series of different Pentatonic scales in each one. This constant change of musical flavour will help to keep each line fresh for the listener, rather than just staying on the same tonality.
First, let’s summarise the Pentatonic scales that we have studied over an A7 (dominant) chord thus far (see table right). The dozen Pentatonic scales listed there are not the only ones that will work over a static A7 chord, but they are all the ones that we have studied. Each scale presents us with a new perspective, and each new perspective will lead us to play differently each time.
To establish the 5 CAGED shapes of each scale, simply map out each one into separate two-notes-per-string shapes on the fretboard. Each of the resultant shapes can be further modified by bringing together any two notes on neighbouring strings that are only a semitone apart. Doing this sort of detective work will be much more meaningful and memorable for you than if I’d just written all 50 shapes out here in the lesson.
Interestingly, there is often two different types of gravitational shift offered by mixing the various Pentatonic choices. The first is the shift from minor to major (A Minor Pentatonic to A Major Pentatonic), and the other is from IV7 to I7, which is embodied by Am6 Pentatonic to A Dominant Pentatonic - because Am6 Pentatonic has the same notes as D Dominant Pentatonic.
The transcriptions of the examples shows lines divided into Pentatonic sections; however, because not all five notes of the indicated Pentatonic scale are always used in each section, it could be argued that those notes could also belong to another Pentatonic scale entirely; consequently, each label shows the one that I was thinking of when composing the line.
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, speed-wise, they are equivalent to 16th-notes at 120bpm. Have fun!