So you’ve nailed all the arps in your A Minor position and you drop two frets down. You’re in a well-worn pentatonic box, but you’re also in G Mixolydian, which has the nice feature of connecting the two tried and true pentatonics. Having the underlying arpeggios at hand makes navigating across the fretboard more comfortable, and it allows you to explore all of the upper structure sounds (Cmaj7 over Am [3,5,7,9] for instance) that let you colorfully solo without even touching the root.
Aeolian (A) – All The 7th Arpeggios
Working out the 7th arpeggios by position is proving quite useful. Let’s kick off with Aeolian using A for simplicity’s sake.
Min (add9) Chords
The only concrete example of min (add9) chords in popular music that I could find was Every Breath You Take by The Police. It’s usually far easier to grab a min9 chord on the guitar, but the the add9 version has its own sound and actually seems to convey more tension to my ear. It’s also a good chord to get the fingers used to less familiar locations on the fretboard without making any extreme stretches.
Minor 7 Flat 5 (m7b5) Chords
Another chord that isn’t the easiest to use in a rock context but shows up frequently in jazz. Also referred to as the half-diminished.
Chord Template 1: Strings 3/4/5
I’ve spent a lot of time working on chords and harmony lately, and I’ve concluded that I really need a good roadmap to move up and down or across the neck to speed the up the composition process. The most obvious place to start that wasn’t the 6th-string bar chords we all know was the 5th-string-root shape that seems to come up first for dominant 7th chords or the Hendrix chord. There are a few fantastic voicings in here.
The m9’s of the second and sixth degree are a chord I’ve highlighted before, and the m7 of the seventh was frankly a surprise. It never occurred to me to drop the flattened 5th to create a less tense seventh chord of the major scale, but it seems more useful than just avoiding the seven altogether. I also really like the maj7(add9) and maj7(add13) you get in the root and fourth positions. There’s a load of color on tap in this template. I’m looking forward to connecting seamlessly it across strings and to a larger set of voicings.
Intervals Across the Neck – 3rds
Thirds are a lot more useful as double stops than seconds, and obviously they’re key building blocks of most chords. Luckily, no stretching or string skipping is required to grab major or minor thirds across the neck. They work nicely hammered on to/from fourths or from major seconds as well.
Intervals Across the Neck – 2nds
This may be the least useful individual diagram I ever post, but for the sake of completeness, I am starting my run through of intervals with major/minor 2nds. I worked through Truefire’s Interval Insights course, and I now feel even more confident that knowing where to grab all of the intervals on the neck is a worthwhile skill to have. I can’t demonstrate how to use them in context here, as Rich does, but it should be pretty simple to lay out the locations of each set to refer to for your own experiments.
Seconds are neither particularly consonant nor comfortable to grab. I kept stretches to a three fret minimum in this diagram, as going out of your way to grab either of these doesn’t seem necessary.
All Triads 1- Strings 1/2/3
Diving back to triads in all positions. I don’t naturally grab these triads up the neck, but now is as good a time as any to start.
Melodic Minor – I
After listening to a good amount of Holdsworth (and watching this insane video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wts2Mw6Nb5s&t=54s), I’ve realized I need to expand beyond just straight major/minor modes. Here’s an exploration of Melodic Minor in its first position. There are two natural ways to view it in this position, and I don’t have a strong view as to which feels more natural, if either.
Great Chords – m7
This particular shape of the minor 7 is one of my favorites. It’s easily movable and removes the extra 5th from the typical barre chord, which leaves more space for the rest of a track without sacrificing complexity.