Creati ve rock

In this is­sue Shaun Bax­ter con­tin­ues to ex­plore ways of ap­ply­ing dif­fer­ent in­ter­vals to cre­ate ear-catch­ing Mixoly­dian lines.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Bax­ter with a les­son on us­ing 6th in­ter­vals in bluesy-rocky Mixoly­dian mode.

In this se­ries, we’ve been look­ing at us­ing cer­tain in­ter­vals to cre­ate a va­ri­ety of ideas to fit in with your Mixoly­dian vo­cab­u­lary. So far, we’ve stud­ied 2nds, 3rds, 4ths and 5ths. This les­son, we log­i­cally move on to 6ths. Within the modes of the Ma­jor scale, each 6th in­ter­val will be one of two types:

• Mi­nor 6th = eight semi­tones.

• Ma­jor 6th = nine semi­tones. To il­lus­trate this, have a look at Di­a­gram 1, which rep­re­sents the notes of D Ma­jor and any of its modes (A Mixoly­dian is its fifth mode). If you start from any note, and then move in any di­rec­tion (clock­wise or an­ti­clock­wise) to an­other note that is five notes away (in other words, with four scale notes in be­tween both notes), the dis­tance is ei­ther a ma­jor 6th or a mi­nor 6th.

Sixths sound soft and melodic, sim­i­lar to 3rds. In fact, a 6th is an in­ver­sion of a 3rd: for ex­am­ple, C# up to A is a mi­nor 6th (eight semi­tones), whereas C# down to A is a ma­jor 3rd (four semi­tones). Stylis­ti­cally, 6th in­ter­vals are used ex­ten­sively, both in the sin­gle-note and dou­ble-stop form, in coun­try mu­sic, and var­i­ous forms of blues.

As with our study of the pre­vi­ous in­ter­vals, once you have ab­sorbed the var­i­ous con­cepts fea­tured within this les­son’s demo ex­am­ples, you should aim to ap­ply the same prin­ci­ples to the other scales that you know - shift­ing ideas up and down the length of the neck (lat­eral mo­tion), as well as stay­ing within the same neck area (ver­ti­cal mo­tion) - in or­der to de­velop use­ful reper­toire that you can draw upon when im­pro­vis­ing.

Also, you should aim to ex­e­cute each and all of the fol­low­ing ba­sic per­mu­ta­tions both up and down through each shape of a scale:

• A se­ries of as­cend­ing 6ths

• A se­ries of de­scend­ing 6ths • A se­ries of 6ths that al­ter­nate be­tween as­cend­ing and de­scend­ing

• A se­ries of 6ths that al­ter­nate be­tween de­scend­ing and as­cend­ing

As well as try­ing other per­mu­ta­tions, such as: ‘up, up, down’ , var­i­ous con­fig­u­ra­tions on each 6th in­ter­val:

• Low note + high note + low note (three-note mo­tif) • High note + low note + high note (three­note mo­tif)

• Play­ing ideas that are a mul­ti­ple of two (two four, eight) to a triplet count

• Play­ing ideas that are a mul­ti­ple of three (three, six etc) to a du­ple count (eighth-notes, 16th-notes etc).

Fi­nally, make a note of the most suc­cess­ful or use­ful ideas (ac­cord­ing to your tastes), and try to see each one as a tem­plate that can be adapted: it’s bet­ter to have a few flex­i­ble ideas that can be edited (ex­panded or com­pressed) to fit your pur­poses at any given mu­si­cal junc­ture than hun­dreds of rigid licks and lines that are set in stone; con­se­quently, you should prac­tise by lim­it­ing your ap­proach to us­ing one line only and see­ing how much va­ri­ety and ex­pres­sion that you can cre­ate by vary­ing the rhythms, omit­ting notes, adding notes, ap­ply­ing bends and vi­brato to dif­fer­ent notes.

Dur­ing this se­ries, the ob­ject has been to build up a va­ri­ety of in­ter­val-based ap­proaches over the same dom­i­nant back­ing track us­ing A Mixoly­dian in con­junc­tion with the A Mi­nor Blues scale (that’s why the mu­si­cal ex­am­ples have been writ­ten out in the key of A rather than D).

All of the 6ths that have been high­lighted in each of this les­son’s demo ex­am­ples, are taken from within A Mixoly­dian, and each of th­ese sec­tions is flanked by A mi­nor blues- It’s good to use as lit­tle dis­tor­tion as you can. You may have to work harder, but there will be a core to your notes, rather than the fizzy trans­parency that re­sults from us­ing too much gain. If your gui­tar has hum­buck­ers, they will prob­a­bly be pow­er­ful enough to get all the dis­tor­tion you need from the amp; with us­ing sin­gle-coils you may need a bit of help from a dis­tor­tion pedal. A dash of re­verb will round things off and help your tone flour­ish.

6th in­ter val s are used ex­ten sively , bot h in the form as sin­gle - note s an d dou­ble - sto ps, in co un­try , an d some form s of bl ues

ori­en­tated ideas. Note that, al­though var­i­ous 6th in­ter­vals might also be played within sur­round­ing mi­nor blues-based ideas, we are go­ing to ig­nore them, as they are purely in­ci­den­tal, and not part of the main con­cept high­lighted in each line.

Re­gard­ing this month’s back­ing track, most drum­mers would write out the drum part in 12/8; how­ever, for ease of read­ing on gui­tar, I have stuck to 4/4, view­ing the bass drum pat­tern as a quar­ter-note triplet rhythm. If your rhythm read­ing isn’t great; don’t worry too much about it: just read the tab and use your ears. Fi­nally, once you have ab­sorbed the var­i­ous con­cepts stud­ied here, you should also aim to ap­ply the same prin­ci­ples to the other scales that you know in or­der to de­velop use­ful reper­toire that you can draw upon when im­pro­vis­ing. For ex­am­ple, you can also pro­duce A Do­rian equiv­a­lents for each of the GT ex­am­ples ideas (or your own) sim­ply by re­plac­ing any C# notes with C notes in­stead since, note-wise, Do­rian can be viewed as a mi­nor ver­sion of Mixoly­dian. I hope th­ese ar­ti­cles have helped to ex­pand your solo­ing prow­ess.

Brent Ma­son with his heav­ily mod­i­fied Tele

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