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Scales & Arpeggios for Rock/Fusion Jams pt.1

Hi, this time I propose you this long example. Very often I heard my students ask me which are the right scales to use in a particular groove or sequence and very very often their only solution is: hear the note root and play only the used-abused pentatonic/blues scales. Hey folks, you have several possibilities to change the sound of a song, and starting from this lesson I will show you what you could be able to play just hearing these simple examples.

Here is something similar to a boogie/fusion/rock track, if you are a Greg howe fan surely you have already heard stuff like that and this is a great thing ’cause you already have an idea of what I’m trying to do.

The entir e track is in Dflat, so your first possibility could be the use of all the modes of the D flat (Db, Eb, E, F#, G#, A, B) or using the pentatonic scale or the blues one. Remember that you can use and combine the pentatonic and blues scale both in Dd than in G# (IV grade) The best thing is to use pentatonic and blues scales in Db and the modal scales in G# ( considering G# as the note root: aeolian mode or natural minor scale). Hear the sound: it is composed by two main pick motions:

MODE 1: ta-ta
MODE 2: ta,ta,ta,ta
(the accents always fall on the last ” ta”)

As you can see, you can play the first mode for the entire track and it sounds good if you rightly follow the tempo; but you can also add passing tones using the mode two and this let you play short all-notes sequences with a jazzy feel and a fluid sound. The main rule you have to follow is: you can play every note of your neck, yes, you heard right: every note! the secret is follow the tempo and playing short sequences with an hearable melody. Try to play the notes you want without thinking if it is of the scale or not, just play an “inside” note first and an “outside” note later. Practice will be your best way to learn.

We have started the example of this month playing a sequence using string skipping arpeggios and blues scale with passing tones. ( from measure 1 to 6)
You can simply practice using all the modes you want with or without passing tones. the first thing to learn is how to follow the tempo and which notes are the best for your own playing.

From measure number 8 to 14, we change our sound in a different way using a different scale which is not of the Dflat natural minor scale. It is a C#7add4 scale that finishes with a string skipping major arpeggio. As you can see we totally changed the root note. In this time we are playing one of the seven modes of a F# Ionian major scale. If you want you can mix the F# modes with the E Ionian modes.

The third part of the example starts with a fast arpeggios progression. As you probably heard, the use I do of this arpeggios can increase the power of the song. In this example I used all major arpeggios on the same pedal note which is always the C#. Remember that if you have a chord as pedal note played without the 3rd grade you have an hybrid chord that could be considered major or minor. This can help you to find different ways to arrange the track because you can for example consider that chord a major chord of an Ionian mode scale or Lydian or Mixolydian or Phrygian etc…

The arpeggios I played in the example (measure n.15 – 20) are: Amj, C#mj, Bmj, C#mj, Emj, G#mj.
Now I play some of those chords with the tapping technique in a way very often used by Greg Howe in any of his albums. both the hands played the same arpeggios and notes but in two different positions creating a sequence like: 1,2,3, 2,3,4, 3,4,5 etc…ascending and descending playing.

The first note is always played by left hand and the arpeggios are: Amj, C#mj, Emj, ending with a pentatonic sequence always played with tapping.

( from measure 37) now we have a string skipping pattern that I usually play with the chicken picking technique that is surely useful to play large intervals. In this case I played a classical blues sequence with passing tones to finish with a pentatonic scale. i think it gave to the song a cool effect.
That’s all

I advice you to start playing the sample slowly, just checking which notes I used and trying to develop your own phrases. Cya next time with new incredible tricks to jam and for doubts or questions feel free to drop a line to fabriziochir@libero.it
Don’t forget to check my site too at www.fabriziochiruzzi.com!!
Have a fun!!

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