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|Jean Marc Belkadi is
|Old Dog, New Tricks by Jean Marc Belkadi
|More Instructional book / CD sets - Jean Marc Belkadi Musicians Institute Press/ Hal Leonard
|Also among my books you'll find interesting ideas about the open triads in these 3:
|Advanced Scale Concepts
and licks for Guitar
Guitar Player Magazine, Session Column featuring:
Scales are the building blocks of nearly all melodic improvised lines, yet simply
climbing up and down a favorite scale is a foolproof recipe for creating lines that
are as enticing as leftover scrambled eggs. So how can we make scale-base lines
and licks sound personal and unique? One simple, yet powerful way to give scales
a fresh spin is with octave displacement. Here’s the concept: Simply play the notes
of any given scale in ascending or descending order, but shift a few of the notes
up or down an octave from their normal placement. EX. 1’s leapfrogging line
illustrates the process. As the phrase moves through C Lydian (C, D, E, F#, G, A, B)
several scale tones get displaced, and this transforms the plain-Jane scale run into
a wily lick John Scofield would be proud to play.
A similar contoured phrase, Ex. 2 uses A harmonic minor (A, B, C, D, E, F, G#)
to create an altered-dominant sonority against E7b9. Again, we avoid the by the
book, scale-run doldrums by octave-displacing a few tones. Simple ? Yes.
A slightly different take on the altered-dominant flavor, Ex. 3 illustrates how a D
half-whole scale (D, Eb, F, F#, G#, A, B, C-- so named because of its alternating
half-step/whole-step construction) can be used melodically to convey the harmonic
essence of D7b9.
Example 4 and 5 demonstrate other intriguing dominant applications: an F
whole-tone scale (F, G, A, B, C#, Eb) over F7#5 and a chromatic scale over E7#9,
Ex. 6 is a line built from F melodic minor (F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, E) a tasty scale
choice for minor/major 7 chords-as shown here-and for minor 6 chords as well.
With the large melodic leaps (including ninths and tenth) and tricky string-
skipping inherent in octave-displaced phrases, you may find yourself stumbling
here and there. Don’t panic- the concept is easy, but it takes time to master the
A few tips for further exploration:
- Use alternate (down/up) picking and give even weight to each note. You can add
accents later, but first strive for uniformity in each line.
- Record the suggested chords for each example and then play the examples over
your prerecorded harmony. This way you’ll experience each line in its harmonic
context. You may find that these lines can also work with other chord types. Trust
your ears-if a line sounds good in a different setting, use it. Create your own
octave-displaced lines. Try a variety of scales and modes and explore different
|Exotic Scales & Licks