Watch the Cry For You Progression 2 online guitar lesson by Andy Timmons from Electric Expression
That's a little bit of improvising on the chord changes to the end of Cry For You and it's just repeating D minor to B flat over and over. And, so I improvised something. Now I've analyzed it and I'm going to break it down for you. I started off with something we talked about called motivic development. I made a melodic statement and then I figured out a way of reincorporating that statement in some way to give the listener something to grab on to. It's just a simple little phrase but I really like how it laid over that chord. I'm starting on that ninth, which the melody features, but I went to a higher place with it. I slid up to that G. This whole melody's happening only on the G string. It's completely horizontal. Again, underscoring how much I do that and how much I love the sound of how vocal that can be. I got all the way to that A and then I wanted to get back because by then the B flat major 7 chord is happening, so that D, the root of the key, is also the third of that B flat. And the top note, the A natural, is that major seven which is a really beautiful tone. It just happens to be two notes you're naturally going to play even if you're just sticking to the minor pentatonic. So that's blending together motivic development, some horizontal playing. Let me also point out that I'm utilizing mostly the minor pentatonic and I'm adding the ninth scale degree. I'm avoiding the sixth scale degree because that B flat doesn't necessarily sound good to me over the D minor, or even the B flat chord. It's just not a note that I gravitate towards.
So, if we have a pentatonic scale and we add a note, I guess it's a sexatonic. I'm not really sure if that's the proper terminology folks. That's what we're calling it. It's basically the minor pentatonic with one extra note, so you've got a six note grouping. I went from the fifth to the seventh, I avoided the sixth. Those are the notes that sound best to me, and my favorite melodic choices over these two chords. I did another hybrid picking bend where I'm using my middle finger gripping underneath the high E string pretty stiffly. You can hear how I'm slapping the string on the fretboard. Again, something that Albert King and Stevie Ray employed quite a bit. When I'm playing it on the track listen to how I'm interacting with what Simon's doing on the drums. He's got a certain rhythmic figure playing, and I'm playing in the spaces between it. It happened naturally. I've heard the track before, but I'm reacting to what he's doing. And that's part of improvisational development, it's not just playing what you know and what you hear. You need to be reacting to what's going on around you, whatever the voicing is that somebody's playing on the guitar, the keyboards, or something the bass player may be doing. Or a rhythmic figure the drummer is doing. Instinctually you will develop that sense of what's appropriate at the time. What might sound cool with that. What do I feel naturally to do with what's going on. And that's a part of your ear training and development. He got that rhythmic figure going and I just played in the spaces around it, and I thought it sounded cool.
Right after that there's another little melodic technique I use a lot, and it involves sliding into a note. In this case the E natural over the D minor. And then grabbing the note above it that is the next consecutive scale tone, so it's a major or minor second note cluster basically. And it's because the notes are sounding at the same time, where normally it can sound a little disonant, but if it's used in a phrase where there's motion happening it's effective. Basically I like it because of the tension that it creates. Here's an exception I'm making on that B flat note that I mentioned I was omitting earlier. It can make a nice tension tone leading from the D minor to the B flat. In this case, I slid from the G to the A, then grabbed that B flat note. If I just played the note straight on the string that's got a vibe and a melodic shape. So I'm playing the A, grabbing the B flat, rearticulating the A. I can even resolve it like that. That's a pretty sound too. That's the beauty of any time you learn a little nugget of something, and I consider this a nugget, and I'm learning something from it too because I haven't isolated it like that before, but I enjoy that exploration. Once you've gotten that little piece of information, see where else you can plug it in. You can do it with bending too. I was just sliding the note, but you can do it with bending too. That's a nice little cluster, because you get interesting harmonic content because you hear the raising and lowering of the lower harmonic. That's great. It's a contrapuntal motion within its own line.
So that's another cool little technique, you can make an exercise out of it. And I'll do that a lot as well. I'll use that minor second, major second note cluster and I'll ascend through the scale like that. Let's go through the D aeolian scale and see what we find. It's a nice way to build excitement and build the tension. After I did those double stops I got into a rhythmic feel, and this is something that I do a lot, in addition to just feeling where the quarter note and eighth notes are. I got into a very lengthy triplet feel. I do play a lot of triplets, and some of it comes from having played a lot of jazz and swing feel music. I really like that feel of superimposing the triplet. And I believe that's how I ended the phrase, in some kind of ascending and then got into some Jimi Hendrix. That's one of my favorite licks, where I'm bending up to the unison, then pulling down on the B string. Those are some of the techniques I'm using on Cry For You, so explore some of the possibilities.