CREATIVE ROCK

This month Shaun Bax­ter shows how to create lines by com­bin­ing a range of dif­fer­ent five-note scales over a static dom­i­nant chord.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

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!

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