The Modal Microscope And A Sequenced Arpeggio Approach

Hello everyone!

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I’ve been cleaning up a lot of the text for the GuitArchitecture book releases and wanted to post a lesson that uses some ideas and approaches from my Melodic Patterns book (available here).  But first, I need to talk about…

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The Modal Microscope

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When I explain using modes to students – I typically use the analogy of a microscope to discuss viewing modes conceptually on multiple levels.

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Let’s say I want to solo over a D min7 chord.  So I’ll put that “under the microscope”.

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On the 2x setting, I see that a number of minor modes will work over D min7.  In this case,  I’ll choose Dorian.

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Going to the 4x setting on the microscope, I see that Dorian is made up of a series of interlocking 2-string patterns.

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Note: 

If you’re unfamiliar with the 2-string approach I’m discussing I definitely recommend that you check out part 2, part 3a or part 3b of my guide to modes posts.

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If I go to the 8x setting, I can break the 2-string patterns down into 1 string shapes and going to a higher resolution (16x) I can see those shapes as individual notes.  At the 16x setting – maybe I’m looking at the individual notes of D min7 (D, F, A and C) and thinking about accenting those notes in my playing.

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If I now go out to the 1x setting – I see that D Dorian is just a subset of C major.  The thing is if you go playing a bunch of C major scales over D dorian and don’t resolve anything (or focus on the chord tones) – you’re missing a big piece of the puzzle.

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It’s good to understand modes on multiple levels but if you see how all of the related modes interlock with each other, then (using the microscope analogy), you can deal with using modes with chords on the 1x or 2x level but use information from the higher levels in your playing.

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Putting this to use:

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I’ve posted a number of technical things here and decided to use a much lower gain approach than normal and slow things down a bit.  The same practice points as before (Tone, Tension and Timing) apply – but this exercise is all about how to find variations in small things.  (If you like the technical things don’t worry I’ve included some deceptively tricky variations as well!)

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Let’s take a 2-string G Major shape.

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The nice things about 2-string patterns like this is that the fingering repeats at each octave.  (So you only need to remember one fingering for a multi octave run).

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One process I explore in my Melodic Patterns book is systematically breaking down patterns to get new sounds out of them.  In this case, I’m going to remove the 2nd and 4th note from the pattern which leaves me with this shape:

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Looking closely at the notes reveals that I have a G, B, C and E which is a C maj7 arpeggio. By limiting it to a  2-string shape,  I can move it in octaves and the fingering stays the same.

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Note:

The drums are the same pattern I’ve used on my other posts, so you can play against it for any other the things I post here (more info below).

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.(I’ve added a C maj7 chord in front of this to give a sense of tonality.)

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Going to a higher resolution

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I know that G parent major also contains A Dorian – which works well over A minor chords.  So playing this shape over A minor the notes – now become: b7 (G), 9 (B), b3 (C) and 5th (E).  Which has a cool sound associated with it.  (I’ve subbed out A min7 for C maj 7 here for the opening chord).

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Sequencing the ideas:

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However cool any scale or arpeggio is, playing it in a linear up and down manner will only get you so far.  By playing groups of notes in short sequences, the arpeggio gains a little melodic drive.

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In this first variation I’ll play groups of 3 (So I’m playing 3 ascending notes from each note of the arpeggio).  One way to immediately make this more interesting is to break the 3 note grouping out of the triplet rhythm.  Playing the same pattern in 16ths – displaces the first note of each pattern across different beats.

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Here’s the same idea descending: (This is another case where the microscope idea comes into play.  The A note ending the phrase isn’t part of the 4 note arpeggio – but gives the descending line a sense of resolution.  Since I’m seeing and hearing the phrase as an A minor tonality – I’m resolving it to the tonic (A),  third (C) or 5th (E).

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For a little variety –  I’ve taken the same idea but played it as sextuplets instead.  I’ve notated the first bar of it (as the notes are the same as the patterns above) – but I play it ascending and descending on the mp3 below.

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5 alive

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To get a little more mileage out of this arpeggio, I’m going to play the notes in groups of 5.  Here it is in a 1/16 note rhythm (I’ve left off the last 2 notes to keep it on one line).

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Technical note:

Watch the position skip on the A/D and the B/ G strings!!

Here it is as septuplets (5 notes to the beat).

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Changing the note order

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You may have noticed that all of these arpeggios use a linear note order in the sequence.  So if G is the first note of the 1st pattern and B is the 2nd note – every pattern moves in straight ascending or descending order.

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3 Note Pattern: G, B, C/B, C, E/C, E, G

in note order = 1,2, 3/2, 3, 4/ 3, 4, 1 etc.

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But what if we varied up the note order?  In this example, I’m going to take play groups of 3 descending notes on each ascending note of the arpeggio. (So instead of playing note numbers 1,2 3  – I’m playing 3-2-1).

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Here it is descending:

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Displacing the rhythm by a 1/16 makes it cooler.

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And again, descending:

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Obligatory Plug

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I’m only scratching the surface of what’s possible here.  The big takeway here is – if you really go deep on even something small – you can probably find interesting things that will work in your playing.

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I would also be remiss in not mentioning that my melodic patterns book shows every possible unique combination of notes (and rests) in 1 – 6 note shapes and then shows how to combine them into longer sequences (up to 9 note patterns).  It is a deep resource that can open all manner of melodic and compositional doors (and makes a great gift as well!) ; )

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Tones

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I went with another tonal variation here and tried some of the lower gain settings on the Scuffham amp AU.  It’s a cool product and I should have a review up soon.  In the meantime – he’s a screenshot of the laptop set up I used to track this:

Click to see full size

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I‘ve mentioned this in the laptop guitar posts – but the varispeed is a useful plug-in!  When I get bored with a metronome sound – I’ll throw a drum loop into the AU fileplayer and then use the varispeed to control the speed of the loop.

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As always, I hope this helps!

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-SC

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If you like this post, you may also like:

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Books:

LESSONS

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Slash and Burn – Creating More Complex Sounds With Slash Chords

The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes Part 8 – Major Positional Modal Interchange and Complimenting Modes with Chords

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 7 – MINOR POSITIONAL MODAL INTERCHANGE AND COMPLIMENTING MODES WITH CHORDS

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THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 6 – THE CIRCLE OF 5THS AND MODAL INTERCHANGE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 5 – MAKING THE MOST OF ONE PATTERN

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 4 – Modes and Chords

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THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3B – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3A – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 2 – SEEING THE TWO STRING MAJOR SCALE

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The GuitArchitecture Guide To Modes Part 1 – Seeing The Single String Major Scale

Making Music Out Of Scales

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Chords/Triads/Superimposition/Arpeggios:

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

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RECYCLING CHORDS PART II: TRIAD TRANSFORMATION

RECYCLING CHORDS PART I OR WHERE’S THE ROOT?

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FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 2

FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 1

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RECYCLING SHAPES OR MODULAR ARPEGGIOS FOR FUN AND PROFIT

GLASS NOODLES – ADAPTING A PHILIP GLASS ARPEGGIO APPROACH TO GUITAR

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Practicing:

MELVILLE, MADNESS AND PRACTICING – OR FINDING THE DEEPER LESSON PART 2

Some Useful Online Practice Tools

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

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DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

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Slash and Burn – Creating More Complex Sounds With Slash Chords

Hello all,

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I wanted to take a break from the excerpts from the modes book I’ve been posting and post a lesson that’s based on material from my new Harmonic Combinatorics Book.  In that book, I have an entire section about using triads and 7th chords to create more complex sounds.

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Here’s the two sentence synopsis:

  • Playing a minor chord (or arpeggio) a 1/2 step below a major triad implies a Lydian sound by giving you upper chord tensions (7, 9, #11) of that major chord. (i.e. B minor/C).
  • Playing a minor chord (or arpeggio) a step above a minor triad implies a Dorian sound by giving you the upper chord tensions (9, 11, 13) of the minor chord. (i.e. playing B minor over A minor).

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Seeing (and making sense of ) the bigger picture:

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When beginning players see a 3rd position C major chord they see something like this:

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But an experienced player sees something more like this:

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One of the secrets to seeing more of the fretboard is to see chord tones relationally.  I’ll show you how to do that by applying some of the approaches from a previous Triad Transformation lesson:

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Taking a C major chord:

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C Major Triad

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(here’s a reference chord):

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Lowering the root a 1/2 step gives you a major 7 chord:

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C Major 7

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C Major 7:

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Lowering the 3rd a 1/2 step gives you a 9th.  Since there’s no other 3rd in the chord – this becomes a slash chord of G Major over C (written G/C).  It has a lot of the sound of a major 9th chord – but because it’s missing the 3rd it really only implies the tonality.

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G / C

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G/C:

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If you want this to sound like a Major 9th, we’ll need to add a 3rd in as well.

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C Major 9

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C Maj 9

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Lowering the 5th a 1/2 step gives us the #4 (aka the # 11).  Here I’ve kept the 3rd to make it a Major 9 (#11) chord.

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C Major 9 (#11)

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C Maj 9 (#11)

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Notice that if we lower the root  a 1/2 step – we have a B minor triad:

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B Minor

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So, as a short cut,  playing a B minor over C we imply the sound of a C major  9 (#11) chord without having to memorize a separate voicing.

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Melodic Application

This extends into lead playing as well.  Rather than just playing a C major arpeggio over a C chord, here I’ve replaced the bottom note of a B minor arpeggio with a C and resolved it to C:

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B min / C  or C Lydian Lick

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C Lydian lick (louder than the chord mp3s- FYI):

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Here’s another chord voicing of B minor/C:

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B minor / C

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When I see voicings that use the middle notes of the 7th fret,  I generally try to think of ways to incorporate harmonics into it.  In this example, I’ve added harmonics in to fill out a B minor arpeggio with some encircling to resolve it to C. I forgot the fermata on the first chord – but you’ll figure it out when you hear the mp3.

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B min / C aka C Lydian Lick 2

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C Lydian Lick 2:

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Now we’ll take this in a different direction:  playing B minor over A minor implies a cool A minor 13 sound.  I’ve added an A to lick #1, and a semi-chromatic run that skips the 3rd and makes it a more open sound.

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B min / A min – A Dorian Lick

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B min/A Dorian Lick:

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I’ve resolved the lines to the root notes of the chords I’m playing over – but you may want to stay on a tension depending on the context.

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With any approach like this – always use your ears as a guide for what sounds good and what doesn’t.

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The Quiz:

Did you notice anything about the C major voicings?  Using a B minor triad doesn’t take it to the 13th.

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In any chord tone voicing, raising the 5th a step gives you the 6th (if no 7th is in the chord) or  (in this case) the 13th  So using our initial voicings, the easiest way to bring in the 13th is to raise the G on the high E string to A.

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B min 7 / C Implying C maj 13 (#11)

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Looking at at a little deeper,

if we fully spell out this chord:

  • C (root)
  • E (3rd)
  • G (5th)
  • B (7th)
  • D (9th)
  • F# (#11) and
  • A (13)

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the top 3 notes form a D major chord.  As a modified rule for playing over a major chord:

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  • Playing a minor chord (or arpeggio) a 1/2 step below a major triad implies a Lydian sound by giving you upper chord tensions (7, 9 and #11) of that major chord. (i.e. B minor/C).
  • Playing a major chord (or arpeggio) a step above a major triad also implies a Lydian sound by giving you the upper chord tensions (9, #11 and 13) of the minor chord. (i.e. playing D/C).

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As with any material here, pay attention to the 3 T’s (Timing, (hand) Tension and Tone) and just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to.

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I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

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-SC

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P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

MAKING MUSIC OUT OF SCALES

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 3

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

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RECYCLING CHORDS PART II: TRIAD TRANSFORMATION

RECYCLING CHORDS PART I OR WHERE’S THE ROOT?

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FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 2

FAVORED CURRY OR SPICING UP CHORD SCALES AND TRIADS PART 1

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

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The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes Part 8 – Major Positional Modal Interchange and Complimenting Modes with Chords

Welcome to the part eight of the GuitArcitecture Mode Visualization lesson series.

If you see anything unfamiliar here, you may want to check out:

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In the last lesson, I took a look at adapting minor chords to modes and modal interchange.  In this lesson – I’m going to apply the same process to major chords.

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Note:

I’ve outlined this process thoroughly in part 7, so if you have questions – just check the instructions there.

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One Chord Modal Interchange Exercise – Major

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 Of the parent major scale modes I’ve been covering – there are 3 that can be used over an A major chord:

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  • A Lydian (E major):

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A Lydian – Click to enlarge

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  • A Ionian (A Major):

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A Ionian – Click to enlarge

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  • A Mixolydian (D major):

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A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

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Here’s the major-based chord progression:

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Repeat each bar 2-4 times ** Click to enlarge**

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Here are the steps (repeated from Part 7):

  • Record or loop the pattern in time 
  • Playing over the loop practice switching modes each bar.  I’ve outlined the fingerings above (see earlier posts in the series if you want to see how I derived them) with a sample rhythm.  As an initial step – just practice ascending and descending the patterns in a scalar fashion.
  • As the level of familiarity with the modal interchanges increases, try removing the repeats and increasing the tempo (thus increasing the difficulty level).

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Note:

Make sure you don’t start every bar with the low A root!

The goal of this is to be able to switch between modes “mid-stream”.   As a first step, when playing these ascending and descending make sure that wherever you are in the pattern ascending or descending that you transition into the next mode smoothly.  The initial goal here isn’t speed – it’s fluidity and being in control of switching between modes.

(See the melodic note below for some other tips once you get comfortable with the transition).

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Now let’s examine each chord (and mode) individually:

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  • First measure: A Major

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A Major – Play A Lydian, A Ionian or A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

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The modes could be played over this chord are:

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A Lydian (recommended), A Ionian (be careful of the 4th) and A Mixolydian

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  • Measure 2: A Major 7

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Lowering the root to G# creates an A major 7 chord – which works with either A Lydian or A Ionian.

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A Major 7 – Play A Lydian or A Ionian – Click to enlarge

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  • Measure 3:  Lowering the G# to G produces an A7 – stick with A Mixolydian for this one.

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A7 – Play A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

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  • Measure 4:  I’m going to start the process of chromatically ascending certain pitches rather than descending.  So I’ll go back to A Major here.

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  • Measure 5:  Raising the 3rd (C#) a 1/2 step to D produces an Asus4 chord.  The #4 in Lydian will clash with the natural 4th – so go with Ionian or Mixolydian for this one.

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A sus4 – Play A Ionian or A Mixolydian – Click to enlarge

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  • Measure 6: Raising the 4th another 1/2 step results in an A major (add #11) – a chord firmly in the domain of A Lydian.

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A Major (add #11) – Play A Lydian – Click to enlarge

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The chord progression then goes back to A major where any of the 3 modes could be used.

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Notes:

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  • Harmonic – If you’re playing with another musician try taking this one chord vamp idea and using your ear to change the chord when the soloist changes modes.  You can make other chordal alterations as well creating melodic movement in the voicing –  is a great approach to use both in comping on a single chord as well as creating melodic movement between 2 chords (more on that in another lesson).

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  • Melodic – As the soloist in this approach – try to change modes then the rhythm player changes chords.  As soon as you get comfortable with the shapes – try making melodies and taking them through each modal change.  (See part 5  for an example of that process with one modal shape).

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The nice thing about playing with human beings (rather than sequences) is that people can introduce random factors into playing.  A person can make all kinds of melodic or harmonic decisions that require the other person to change and adapt.  It develops a dialog and allows people to become more attune to playing with other people (and ultimately more musical).

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The next lesson will cover a go a little deeper into modal chord progressions and offer some new challenges.  As before, just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to.  Also please feel free to post any questions you might have (or pm me at guitar.blueprint@gmail.com).

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I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

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-SC

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P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 7 – MINOR POSITIONAL MODAL INTERCHANGE AND COMPLIMENTING MODES WITH CHORDS

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 6 – THE CIRCLE OF 5THS AND MODAL INTERCHANGE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 5 – MAKING THE MOST OF ONE PATTERN

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 4 – MODES AND CHORDS

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Making Music Out Of Scales

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

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PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

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Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

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WARMING UP: FINGER EXERCISES, THE 3 T’S AND THE NECESSITY OF MISTAKES

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The GuitArchitect’s Guide to Modes Part 7 – Minor Positional Modal Interchange and Complimenting Modes with Chords

Welcome to the seventh installment of the GuitArcitecture Mode Visualization lesson series.

If you see anything unfamiliar here, you may want to check out:

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In the last lesson, I took a look at the modes and the circle of 5ths.  In this lesson, I’m going to:

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  • show how to modify a minor chord to cover minor modal interchanges and
  • show how to switch modal patterns in position

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Complimenting Modes with Chords

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A lot of print has been used to describe how modes fit with chords but substantially less has been written about modifying chords to fit various modes. I’ve developed this approach as an introductory way to work on modal interchange it does three things:

  • Limits harmonic content to simplify the modal interchange process
  • show a way to modify chords to work with modes and
  • develops the skill set for changing modes in position.

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(All useful skills to have – btw).  Since I’ve been dealing with C major – I’m going to look at A minor (the relative minor chord) first.

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One Chord Modal Interchange Exercise – Minor

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Before we get into the exercise, let’s make sure we’re clear about the modes we’ll be using.  Of the parent major scale modes I’ve covered – there are 3 that can be used over an A minor chord:

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  • A Dorian (G major):

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Click to enlarge

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  • A Aeolian (C major):

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Click to enlarge

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  • A Phrygian (F major):

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Click to enlarge

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Here’s the accompaniment pattern:

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Repeat each bar 2-4 times ** Click to enlarge**

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Here are the steps:

  • Record or loop the pattern in time 
  • Playing over the loop practice switching modes each bar.  I’ve outlined the fingerings above (see earlier posts in the series if you want to see how I derived them) with a sample rhythm.  As an initial step – just practice ascending and descending the patterns in a scalar fashion.
  • As the level of familiarity with the modal interchanges increases, try removing the repeats and increasing the tempo (thus increasing the difficulty level).

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Note:

Make sure you don’t start every bar with the low A root!

The goal of this is to be able to switch between modes “mid-stream”.   As a first step, when playing these ascending and descending make sure that wherever you are in the pattern ascending or descending that you transition into the next mode smoothly.  The initial goal here isn’t speed – it’s fluidity and being in control of switching between modes.

(See the melodic note below for some other tips once you get comfortable with the transition).

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Now let’s examine each chord (and mode) individually:

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  • First measure: arpeggiate a minor chord in 4/4 time (in this case A minor).

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A minor – Play A Dorian, A Aeolian or A Phrygian – Click to enlarge

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In order of increasing darkness, the modes could be played over that chord are:

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A Dorian, A Aeolian and A Phrygian

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  • Measure 2: adapt the chord to a specific mode using the mode’s characteristic note.

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The first mode explored in this example will be A Phrygian.  Since Phrygian’s characteristic note is the b2, I’ll change the 2nd root (A) with the b2 (Bb) creating an A minor (add b9).

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A minor add b9 – Play A Phrygian – Click to enlarge

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  • Measure 3:  I’ll continue the chromatic motion on the G string changing the Bb to B natural. This produces an A minor (add 9).

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A minor add 9 – Play A Dorian or A Aeolian – Click to enlarge

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  • Measure 4:  Now the 5th of the chord (E) will move chromatically to F, emphasizing the b6 of the Aeolian mode creating an A minor (add 9, b6) chord.

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A minor add 9 add b6 – Play A Aeolian – click to enlarge

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  • Measure 5:  The 6th of the chord will now move chromatically to F#  emphasizing the natural 6 of the Dorian mode and creating an A minor (add 6, 9) chord.

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A minor add 6, 9 – Play A Dorian – Click to enlarge

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The chord progression then goes back to A minor where any of the 3 modes could be used.

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Notes:

  • Harmonic – If you’re playing with another musician try taking this one chord vamp idea and using your ear to change the chord when the soloist changes modes.  You can make other chordal alterations as well creating melodic movement in the voicing –  is a great approach to use both in comping on a single chord as well as creating melodic movement between 2 chords (more on that in another lesson).

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  • Melodic – As the soloist in this approach – try to change modes then the rhythm player changes chords.  As soon as you get comfortable with the shapes – try making melodies and taking them through each modal change.  (See part 5  for an example of that process with one modal shape).

.

The nice thing about playing with human beings (rather than sequences) is that people can introduce random factors into playing.  A person can make all kinds of melodic or harmonic decisions that require the other person to change and adapt.  It develops a dialog and allows people to become more attune to playing with other people (and ultimately more musical).

.

The next lesson will cover Major chord variations in this same style.  But if you want to get a head start the process is the same as what I just covered, the characteristic notes for the major modes are:

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Lydian: #4

Major: Natural 7

Mixolydian: b7

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As before, just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to.  Also please feel free to post any questions you might have (or pm me at guitar.blueprint@gmail.com).

.

I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

.

-SC

.

P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 6 – THE CIRCLE OF 5THS AND MODAL INTERCHANGE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 5 – MAKING THE MOST OF ONE PATTERN

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 4 – MODES AND CHORDS

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THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3B – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3A – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 2 – SEEING THE TWO STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECTURE GUIDE TO MODES PART 1 – SEEING THE SINGLE STRING MAJOR SCALE

.

Making Music Out Of Scales

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

.

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

.

WARMING UP: FINGER EXERCISES, THE 3 T’S AND THE NECESSITY OF MISTAKES

.

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 6 – The Circle of 5ths and Modal Interchange

Welcome to the sixth installment of the GuitArcitecture Mode Visualization lesson series.

If you see anything unfamiliar here, you may want to check out:

.

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In the last lesson, I took a look at using one fingering pattern to play all of the modes.  I wanted to get the sounds under your fingers a little bit and then start to explain a context for them a little more.

In this lesson, I’m going to go into modal interchange more in-depth.  To get deeper into modes, we need to talk about Relative Modes versus Parallel Modes, examine tonal centers and keys and talk about Modal Interchange.

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Organizing the sounds of the different modes:

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  • While the different modes of a parent major scale all contain the same notes, each mode has a unique sound.
  • For the purposes of this lesson, modes of the major scale will fall into one of two (overly general) categories (Major or Minor) based on their third scale degree.
  • The sounds of the modes are based on their scale formulaTheir scale formula is based on their relationship to their parallel major mode. 

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For Example:

To determine the scale  formula of, say,  C Mixolydian, the notes of C Mixolydian would be compared to the notes of a C major scale.

  • Since C Mixolydian is spelled C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb, and
  • C Major is spelled C, D, E, F, G, A, B,
  • the scale formula of C Mixolydian is b7.

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Relative versus Parallel Major 

C major is the relative major scale to A natural minor (A Aeolian) because both are part of the same parent major scale

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C major is the parallel major scale of C natural minor (C Aeolian).

In this case they share a common root, but C natural minor has a different parent major scale than C major.

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Here’s a table that shows the  parallel modes of C Major and their scale formula.

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..

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The Tonal Cycle of 5ths

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Listing the modes in order of scale degree (Ionian, Dorian, etc.) is one way to work through the modes but a  more logical way to see the relationship of the modes is to place them in a tonal circle of 5ths.  So first let’s talk about the circle of 5ths versus the tonal circle.

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The circle of 5ths:

The circle of fifths is a way to see all of the major and minor keys and key signatures in a logical order.  The Wikipedia page on it offers an excellent detailed explanation –  but seeing the actual circle will help clear things up.

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Circle of 5ths taken from Wikipedia.com

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From the pitch C :

  • moving in clockwise motion, the number of sharps in a key signature increase sequentially with each tonal center a 5th away. (C, G, D, A etc.)
  • moving in counterclockwise motion the number of flats in a key signature increase sequentially with each tonal center a 4th away. (C, F, Bb, Eb etc.)

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This is a very handy and compact way to see tonal centers and relative major/minor scales – but adapting it to a tonal circle of 5ths will help clarify modes in a very unique way.

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The Tonal Cycle of 5ths:

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In a tonal circle of 5ths, the circle moves in diatonic 5ths (and thus stays in a particular key).  In the key of C it looks like this:

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The next note in a circle of 5ths after B would be F#, but keeping it in a tonal cycle of 5ths the key of C major, the next note would be F natural.

Now that we have a tonal cycle of 5ths in C Major, let’s fill in the modes associated with each note of C Major.

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Now let’s insert the scale formula of each mode:

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Note:

the scale formula is listed as a series of cumulative alterations rather than sequential.

In general, the more flats in the modal scale formula, the darker the sound.

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..

Modal Interchange

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The key to using these to create modal sounds is what is called Modal Interchange.

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As a simplified definition –  a mode associated with a specific chord will work over the same chord in any other key.  In other words, D Dorian could be played over any D minor 7 chord in any other key that has a D minor 7 chord in it.

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Rather than thinking of modal ideas when I play,  an easier way (for me) to think about modal sounds is to think of parent scales since all the modes are derived from a parent scale (and it’s less to keep track of).

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If I’m playing a song in the key of F major:

  • soloing over a Dm7 chord
  • and playing the notes from the C parent major scale over that chord
  • I’m playing in D Dorian.

If I use notes from the F major scale, I’m playing in D Aeolian.

If I use notes from the Bb major scale, I’m playing in D Phrygian.

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Since I’ve been dealing with C major – I’ll give a C parallel mode example:

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If you want a C Lydian sound – you’re really talking about playing a G parent major scale over a C Major / C Major 7th) chord or a C major chord progression.  Here’s a shortcut:

.

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Note (repeated from part 5):

This is a tricky area.  While I use a parent scale approach to visualize how I solo over chords, I am aware of the chord tones (and tensions) and tend to focus on those melodically.

Just running up and down a scale isn’t going to help you really nail changes in the long run, it’s just going to fill space that often doesn’t need filling sonically.

That being said, the first step in any playing process is knowing where to put your fingers – so working through scales is as good a place to start as any….

For beginning or intermediate players new to this – like I said before,  just worry about associating the modes, fingerings and sounds for now.

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Next Steps

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In the next part of this series I’m going to give some major and minor positional approaches and talk about a cool way to use modes to modify chords.  In the meantime you may want to familiarize yourself with the shapes in part 3b of the lesson series.

As before, just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to and please feel free to post any questions you might have (or pm me at guitar.blueprint@gmail.com).

.

I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

.

-SC

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P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 5 – MAKING THE MOST OF ONE PATTERN

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 4 – Modes and Chords

THE GUITARCHITECT’S POSITIONAL EXPLORATION PRE-RELEASE NOW AVAILABLE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3B – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3A – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 2 – SEEING THE TWO STRING MAJOR SCALE

The GuitArchitecture Guide To Modes Part 1 – Seeing The Single String Major Scale

.

Making Music Out Of Scales

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

.

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

.

WARMING UP: FINGER EXERCISES, THE 3 T’S AND THE NECESSITY OF MISTAKES

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 5 – Making The Most Of One Pattern

Welcome to the fifth installment of the GuitArcitecture Mode Visualization lesson series.

If you see anything unfamiliar here, you may want to check out:

.

.

About The Modal Exchange Example

Since describing how interchanging modes work doesn’t really get you any closer to hearing how they work – I’m going to present a simple exercise first and then explain the process of what’s going on theoretically in the post following this one.

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Using one pattern to get all the sounds of the major scale modes:

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As I’ve discussed before the modes of the C major scale are all related.  Each individual mode has a different root but all belong to the same parent scale.

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That being said, if I use any C major pattern (like this one with C played with the first finger on the 8th fret of the low E string):

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C Ionian

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and move the note C to different scale degrees – I’ll have all of the parallel modes  (or modes have the same root notes  – but belong to different parent scales) based on the pitch C.

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So if, for example,  I take the same pattern and move C to the 2nd scale degree (with C played with the second finger on the 8th fret of the low E string) I’ll have C Dorian.

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C Dorian

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Moving it to the 3rd scale degree (with C played with the 4th finger on the 8th fret of the low E string) produces C Phrygian.

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c-phrygian.

On the 4th scale degree (with C played with the first finger on the 3rd fret of the A string) – I’ll have C Lydian.

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C Lydian

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The 5th scale degree (with C played with the second finger on the 3rd fret of the A string) – produces C Mixolydian.

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C Mixolydian

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On the 6th scale degree (with C played with the fourth finger on the 15th fret of the A string) – I’ll have C Aeolian.

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C Aeolian

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And finally, if I move it to the 7th scale degree (with C played with the first finger on the 10th fret of the D string) – I’ll have C Locrian.

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C Locrian

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Taking stock of the exchange:

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Now I’ll show a musical example that uses this one shape to play all of the parent major scale/natural minor scale modes.

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Note:

This is not the most efficient way to get around the fingerboard but it can help with 3 things.

  1. Hearing the difference in how modes sound
  2. Seeing the modes as they relate to parent scale and
  3. Gaining fluidity in getting around the fretboard.

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What you’ll need

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  • You’ll need a time keeping device (like a metronome, or a drum loop) and
  • A drone of the note C (You can create this by looping the pitch C in your DAW or just recording a note C)

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The drone is very important because the drone and the combination of notes will be what helps you hear the change in modes (and tonality).

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Playing the Example

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I’ve created a simple one bar phrase for each mode.

All you have to do is play them over the C drone, in the order I’ve listed below and in time.

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That being said, here are some additional things to keep in mind:

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  • The primary goal of this is not physical technique  – but developing your ear.  Playing through it at slower tempos will probably be more beneficial to you in really being able to hear the transitions.

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Note:

If you really want to get something more out of it – try singing along with the pitches as you’re playing them.  This sounds goofy to most people but singing really is the way to get the sounds into your ear.

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Take this as a piece of advice learned by many people who take four terms of ear training at the collegiate level. If you look at those 4 terms as 3 units each  that’s 12 units or a full term load (at most for-profit colleges at $18-19,000 a term).

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In other words, people spend a lot of money to sing things to train their ear, doing it for free on your own is a good idea.

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  • Focus on the 3 T’s in performance (Tone, Timing and hand Tension).  From a technical standpoint, the goal is to play though the whole cycle without stopping.
  • Get the patterns and the timing under your fingers first – and then worry about making music out of it.  The important thing here is connecting the sound with the pattern visualization.  (I’ve tabbed all the examples as well – but try to be aware of the change in key signatures in each bar).

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First, here are the individual measures.

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C Lydian

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C Ionian

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C Mixolydian

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C Dorian

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C Aeolian

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C Phrygian

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C Locrian Option 1

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If you want to keep a low register pattern – you can try starting the Db Major pattern from the 7th putting 4 notes on the low E string).

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C Locrian Option 2

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and here’s the whole thing:

(Just click to see full size)

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Going Further

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  • Once you can get through the example at various tempos cleanly and really hear the transitions, take a short phrase and try moving it through the different modes.  It will be easier initially if you think about scale degrees.  Here – I’m thinking 5-4-5-6-7-2-1.
  • Also: try playing it swung in double time (ala Jazz 001)

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C Lydian Lick

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Note:  The scale degrees stay the same when I move to C Ionian but the F# becomes F natural.

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C Ionian Lick

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The same phrase changes the B to Bb when moved to C Mixolydian:

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C Mixolydian

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The lack of an Eb in the phrase means that the notes are the same between Mixolydian and Dorian in this case – just played in different position.

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Moving it to Aeolian, the A natural becomes Ab.

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C Aeolian Lick

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The D becomes Db in C Phrygian.

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C Phrygian Lick

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And finally, changes the G to Gb for C Locrian:

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C Locrian Lick

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From the light to the Dark.:

I’ll be talking about how I derived the order I’m using for the mode progression in the next lesson post on the circle of 5ths, the tonal circle of 5ths and talk about how these relate to modal interchange.  For now here’s a shortcut to consider until next time.

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In general the more flats a mode has in its scale formula – the darker its sound.

.

.

Note:

This is a tricky area for intermediate students.  While I use a parent scale approach to visualize how I solo over chords, I am aware of the chord tones (and tensions) and tend to focus on those melodically.

When soloing, Just running up and down a scale isn’t going to help you really nail changes – it’s just going to fill space that often doesn’t need filling sonically.

.

For beginning or intermediate players new to this – like I said before, for now just worry about associating the modes, fingerings and sounds.

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I’ll be talking about each of the modes in-depth in future posts, but for now understand that each mode of Major, Melodic Minor or Harmonic Minor has its own unique characteristics that are worth exploring.

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As before, just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to and please feel free to post any questions you might have (or pm me at guitar.blueprint@gmail.com).

.

I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

.

-SC

.

P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 4 – Modes and Chords

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3B – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3A – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 2 – SEEING THE TWO STRING MAJOR SCALE

The GuitArchitecture Guide To Modes Part 1 – Seeing The Single String Major Scale

.

Making Music Out Of Scales

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

.

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

.

WARMING UP: FINGER EXERCISES, THE 3 T’S AND THE NECESSITY OF MISTAKES.

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 4 – Modes and Chords

Welcome to the fourth installment of the GuitArcitecture Mode Visualization lesson series.

If you see anything unfamiliar here, you may want to check out part one, part two, part 3a or part 3b, of the series, but in the meantime, here’s a quick recap:

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To Review:

Any major scale can be broken down into seven 2-string modal shapes that are derived from their scale degree (i.e. position in the scale). These Related Modes are:

  1. Ionian
  2. Dorian
  3. Phrygian
  4. Lydian
  5. Mixolydian
  6. Aeolian
  7. Locrian

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The sequential order of the modes is always the same.

In the 2-string modal shapes, the fact that the 7th note of each mode is missing from the initial fingering pattern is irrelevant because it will be played in the pattern that follows it.

Modes do not exist in a vacuum.  They have as much to do with chords as they do with scales and are always associated with either a chord or a chord progression.

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Deriving the chords from the scale

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Let’s take a look at the initial two-string C Major pattern that we used in the previous lesson.

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If we remove every other note of the scale pattern, we can see arpeggiated versions of the triads associated with those modes.

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Here are the triads in ascending order with a root on the A String:

(Note: these are only sample voicings – please feel free to use your own)

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Since major scales all use the same intervallic formula, all major scales follow the same formula for standard harmonization. 

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From this we can develop a generic formula for major scale triads.

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So, for example,  the triad built on the first scale degree (i.e. the I chord) of any major scale will always be Major.

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Note:

If we’re discussing the relative minor key (A minor) – the sequence is the same – it just starts from the vi chord:

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7th Chords

If we take a look at the initial 2 string pattern again:

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This time I’m going to eliminate the 3rd and 5th note of each pattern.  So in the first pattern:

C, D, E, F, G, A becomes

C, D, F, A aka

D, F, A, C or  (D minor 7 starting from the 7th)

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Here’s the rest of the sequence:

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And a generic breakdown in another chart.

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Here are the 7th chords in ascending order with a root on the A String:

(Again, these are only sample voicings so please feel free to use your own)

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Beyond 7th Chords:

You could extend this idea out beyond 7th chords into harmonizations using the diatonic 9th, 11th or 13ths.  But all of these chords just come from stacking diatonic 3rds on top of each other.    I’ve followed this process through all the diatonic chord tones below with each scale degree of C Major:

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I’ll be explaining a lot more about this in a future post (including multiple approaches for voicing these) but for now here’s a chart that shows the harmonizations in the key of C Major.

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But Here’s The Catch

(and there’s always a catch)

The C Major modes are all just subsets of  the same parent scale.  If you’re playing them over a C major chord (or a chord progression in C Major) scale-wise it really doesn’t make a difference which of the above modes you’re thinking of as it’s all going to sound like C Major.

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To get deeper into modes, we need to get into some other tonal centers and talk about Relative Modes versus Parallel Modes and Modal Interchange and that is the topic of the next post in this series.

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Here are some important things to focus on for now:

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1. Theoretical:

  • The major scale can be broken down into a series of triads and 7th chords based on scale degrees that are associated with the modes on those scale degrees (Ex. Key of C Major – D Dorian and D minor 7 on the 2nd scale degree.)
  • The sound of the mode is based as much on the notes of the mode as it’s related chord.  So for right now – this is just a whole lot of ways to see C Major on a fingerboard – you should adapt the process to other keys as well.

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2.  Technical:

  • While it’s natural to want to progress quickly, trying to play too quickly too soon results in excess hand tension which will increase the difficulty of what you’re trying to play.  Fluidity comes from focused, relaxed repetition.  
  • Fretting hand: Always use the minimum amount of tension needed for the notes to sound cleanly.  The idea is to be able to hear every individual note in the chord as well.  Additionally, try to keep the fingers motion on the strings to a minimum and removing them from the string only when necessary.
  • Picking Hand:  Try using the above picking pattern on the top two strings or alternate picking.
  • Practice switching between chord voicings cleanly and playing the 3-note-per-string forms over each one individually.  As a comping exploration, you could try moving from one chord to the next in the series but only moving one voice at a time.  This type of internal motion is something I initially copped from guys like Torn and Miroslav Tadic.
  • Isolate problem areas and develop them.  You’re not going to be able to pull  any of these ideas off live if any of the individual components aren’t happening.  This isn’t a bad thing.  Things you develop over time are more likely to stay with you (and thus be accessible when you’re improvising).

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3.  Musical:

  • One thing to work on right now is to come up with multiple ways to play the chords above.  If you’re not familiar with voicings in general – try to write out the individual notes of each chord and move them around on the fingerboard.   It might not yield the most practical voicings (depending on key and position) – but it will definitely help expand your awareness of the fingerboard!

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Finally, one other thing I need to mention is that this is just my approach but it certainly isn’t the only one.    You should explore multiple approaches and take things that resonate with you from each of them as each of them will give you more depth of understanding.

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As before, just go through the lesson at your own pace and return to it as you need to and please feel free to post any questions you might have (or pm me at guitar.blueprint@gmail.com).

.

I hope this helps and as always, thanks for reading!

.

-SC

.

P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

.

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3B – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 3A – SEEING THE SIX-STRING MAJOR SCALE

THE GUITARCHITECT’S GUIDE TO MODES PART 2 – SEEING THE TWO STRING MAJOR SCALE

The GuitArchitecture Guide To Modes Part 1 – Seeing The Single String Major Scale

.

Making Music Out Of Scales

.

A BRIEF THOUGHT ABOUT MUSIC THEORY

.

PRACTICE MAKES BETTER AKA PRACTICING PART I

PROPER POSTURE IS REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE – PRACTICING PART II

TENSION AND THE SODA CAN OR PRACTICING PART III

DEFINITIONS AND DOCUMENTS OR PRACTICING PART IV

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PLAY OR PRACTICING PART V

TESTING YOUR VOCABULARY OR PRACTICING PART VI

POSSESSION IS 9/10S OF THE LAW BUT PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING OR PRACTICING PART VII

SOME USEFUL ONLINE PRACTICE TOOLS

.

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 3

Getting Hipness From A Major Triad Or More Chord Recycling Part 2

GETTING HIPNESS FROM A MAJOR TRIAD OR MORE CHORD RECYCLING PART 1

.

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 3

Getting Through The Gig – Negotiating A Chord Chart Part 2

GETTING THROUGH THE GIG – NEGOTIATING A CHORD CHART PART 1

.

WARMING UP: FINGER EXERCISES, THE 3 T’S AND THE NECESSITY OF MISTAKES

.