Martin Goulding looks at developing your navigation of the neck in the fourth part of his series exploring extended harmony.
Martin Goulding brings us more Mixolydian as he explains a variety of ways to use it.
This month’s column is based around the Mixolydian mode, a sound common in country, blues and rock styles due to its first choice status over dominant chords. With a Major Pentatonic scale contained within its formula, the Mixolydian mode is also often contrasted by the Minor Pentatonic and Blues scales, with players such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Larry Carlton, and Robben Ford well known for combining major and minor tonalities in their soloing, as well as using song structures based around the V Mixolydian tonal centre.
Continuing from last month’s lesson, where we looked at the extensions of the IV major 7 chord, this month we’ll move on to extensions based around the V dominant 7 chord, including 9, 11 and 13 voicings arranged in five shapes. We’ll then move on to study two approaches for creating extended arpeggios: the first – simply adding the triad from the next consecutive scale degree to our basic dominant 7 arpeggio to cover all three extensions up to the 13th degree; and the second – superimposing b7th diatonic arpeggios from the 3rd, 5th and degrees of our ‘home’ V dominant 7 chord, which as we’ll see gives us a range of extended sounds. In addition to our extended chords and arpeggios, we’ll also be looking at some of the ways in which we can use these ideas in our improvisation by applying chromatic enclosures to certain intervals, as well as using sequences to extend the basic V chord tonality and add colour and sophistication to our soloing.
On all arpeggio-based examples, we’ll be using our usual legato approach, which combines hammer-ons and pull-offs with sweep strokes for a smooth and even tone. As well as picking lightly and hammering down firmly, the quality of your execution will also depend on effective use of muting techniques from both hands. So follow the rule that the first finger on the fretting hand mutes the lower adjacent string with its tip, as well as resting flat over the higher strings underneath. Do this in conjunction with the picking-hand palm, which is used to mute any unattended lower strings as you ascend, keeping the execution clean and free of unwanted dissonance.
NEXT MONTH Martin beefs up your fretboard navigation with more interval extensions
Jeff Beck’s Blow By Blow is a mine of Mixolydian songs and ideas