Watch the Granola: 5 online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Guitar Cubed
Stiff Upper Lip first brought Mixolydian into the mix here in Guitar Cubed, but only in subtle hints compared to the blatant Mixo-load heard in Granola’s Guitar 1. For the uninitiated the Mixolydian scale is the fifth mode of the major scale system whose parent scale is modally known as Ionian. Thinking parallel to major the formula for Mixolydian is as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-6-b7. While the b7th degree is what gives this mode it’s charm, it’s the interaction between 3rd and b7th that piques our interest most. The interval between the two degrees is a b5th, which is also known as a tritone (three whole steps or whole tones apart). The bittersweet tension put forth by this interval, especially nested in a crunchy dom7 chord, is what has us constantly coming back for more. Guitar 1 shines a Hollywood-level spotlight on this exact scenario.
If you’re looking to get off on the good foot in regards to getting this Hendrix approach under your fingers an important part of the technique is being aware of the underlying chord vision that’s being chopped up. In the case of Guitar 1 that would be a fifth position C major chord that’s rooted off the 6th string and has an interval of a 3rd on the bottom. The voicing would be as follows: 1-3-5-1-3. At the same time, it’s good to know the corresponding major pentatonic scale as that is where much of your “noodling” notes will come from. Both pieces of the puzzle are clearly illustrated in this segment so watch closely. Other factors that will contribute to a successful owning of this approach is to arch your fret hand fingers as best you can. Many times you’ll be stompin’ down one note grace note hammer-ons while another note on an adjacent string is ringing and needs to stay ringing.
Some final notes to keep in mind are: To lock up with the bass you’ll need to keep that behind the beat feel that’s prevalent in the line. Be mindful of the C7 chord that is played on the downbeat of the 2nd bar as it needs to ring so the bass line has room to descend as intended. Finally, the last motif in bar 4 that starts on the 4th degree (F) at the last 16th of beat 2 needs to be played in the pocket--remember it’s meant to lock up with Guitar 2.