This month Martin Gould­ing looks at Ly­dian mode. With its dis­tinc­tive #4th de­gree it’s an airy and up­lift­ing sound, known for its as­so­ci­a­tion with flight.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Martin Gould­ing gets your fin­gers fly­ing as he nav­i­gates the Do­rian mode in 5ths and 6ths.

To­day we look at C Ly­dian, the fourth mode of G Ma­jor: C-D-E-F#-G-A-B, or 1-2-3-#4-5-6-7. A com­mon scale choice for im­pro­vis­ing over ma­jor 7 chords, Ly­dian mode is char­ac­terised by its #4th (in C that’s F#), which dif­fer­en­ti­ates it from the Ma­jor scale (or Io­nian mode) which con­tains the per­fect 4th de­gree.

We’ll ar­range the Ly­dian 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 through­out. If these ex­er­cises prove chal­leng­ing, break 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 ex­er­cises, shake out the hands and arms as soon as you feel any ten­sion or fa­tigue.

In the third ex­am­ple, we’ll work on de­vel­op­ing our recog­ni­tion of the strong­est in­ter­vals in Ly­dian mode. These are the chord tones, or notes of the maj7 ar­peg­gio (R-3-5-7). We’ll do this by sur­round­ing or ‘en­clos­ing’ each con­sec­u­tive chord tone us­ing a ‘lower neigh­bour tone’ - this is a scale note lower than the tar­get chord tone - fol­lowed by an ‘up­per neigh­bour tone’ - a note played one scale de­gree higher. This will pro­vide us with a vis­ual map of the key in­ter­vals from which we can start and re­solve our melodies when im­pro­vis­ing, as well as form­ing the ba­sis of a new melodic vo­cab­u­lary.

To de­velop a clean tech­nique for pat­terns that re­quire the use of fret­ting-hand bar­ring and rolling for play­ing ad­ja­cent notes across two strings, you’ll need to 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. 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 the lower ada­ject string with its tip, as well as rest­ing flat over any tre­ble strings un­der­neath. With the pick­ing hand mut­ing any unat­tended lower strings, the notes should sound clear and even in ve­loc­ity.

NEXT MONTH Martin looks at more fretboard nav­i­ga­tion, in­tro­duc­ing Mixoly­dian mode

Joe Sa­tri­ani uses Ly­dian mode in tracks like Fly­ing In A Blue Dream

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