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The Advancing Guitarist 1

Read the following illustration.  There are a few key gems hidden in those terms that we will unearth by simply providing the underlying context ... aka what does this mean and can I put it to use fairly easily.  Yes. Then we will breakdown each piece to decode it into very practical, applicable terms.


First, let's break down each piece of this insight to make it applicable:

Where would I use G Mixolydian? 


  • against a G Dominant 7th chord and its variations / extensions

  • against a G Mixolydian vamp or progression  : i.e.  CMaj7 | Dm :  G7 / 13

What's the benefit?

More sophisticated and mindful playing.  The mixolydian has a very subtle jazz blues tonality that requires some ear development at first.  It is a staple among jazz / smooth jazz / jazz blues and pure blues players.

An easy way to remember the G Mixolydian - think of the G scale first, then flat the 7th.  That's all you're doing.  Relax into it and keep it simple in your head.

If you hold onto that context, understanding bebop gets easier.  The notes of the G bebop scale are the same as the G major scale plus the added note of the flatted 7th (F).

So in essence, the G bebop is:

  • the same as the mixolydian plus the natural 7th (F and F#)

  • the same as the major plus the flatted 7th (F# and F)

This means in G bebop you have both the F and F# notes available to you.

With the G major scale, you have the F# note available to you.

With G mixo, it's the natural F that you lean on for the modal tonality.

So when it comes to note choice F (mixolydian) vs F# (bebop) ... think in terms of direction ... if the notes are climbing up the scale in ascending fashion - don't use the F# ... if you are descending throw it in and see what it does.  You may recognize where you've heard it used.

Start your bebop line on the beat ... and also try to start on either a 1, 3, 5, or b7 chord.  These are also the arpeggio tones in the dominant 7th chord, the b7 being the F.

The key to this level of sophistication is working out where and how you mix and change up your interplay between the F and F# notes.  F on the way up, F or F# on the way down.

Practice makes perfect.  Keep the early background simple using  G7, G7+5, G9 or G13 chords.

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