View Full Version : mixolydian is blues sounding?

the second eye
08-16-2003, 02:59 AM
whenever i inprovise in the mixolyidian mode it dosn't sound any thing like blues ,
i used A mixolydian and the cords were a7 (just muck aroud with an a chord and a g chord)
it sound more like lydian to me i dont no anyone whant to help me out?

Bongo Boy
08-16-2003, 04:01 AM
Is mixolydian a common mode for blues? I see the differences between mixolydian and the blues scale is a) lack of a minor 3rd and b) lack of a flat 5. I'd think these two differences would be significant--what with 3rds and 5ths being so influential and all.

I dunno.

The Bash
08-16-2003, 04:23 AM
Well, kinna depends on what u do with.
What your playing over.
How u play over it.
Are u bending notes etc. or just running the scale.
Are u trying to Play over or tur the changes. etc.
If your still clinging to A mixo over the G7 chord (if I understood u correctly) you'll get the #4 wich might explain your Lydian sound.
Otherwise I'm not sure how it's sounding Lydian unless your trying to stick a D# over your A7 chord.
Which Btw A7 to G7 (if that's what you meant) ain't exactly in and of itself the worlds most bluey progression. Anything can be made to sound Bluey depending on your phrasing.

For starters you should try basic 12 bar blues only try dom7th chords for everything.
In this case A7-D7-E7.

If you wanna play over the changes use A Mixo, D Mixo, E Mixo.

Or Try playing a Pen Minor scale a whole step above the chord your trying to play mixo over.
Ex. if that chords A7 try B pen Minor. Pen's tend to sound a bit bluseier by nature and you can kinna tweek some your stock blues bends and licks (remember B ain't the root in this case A or should be made to sound as it is.)

Also if your gonna play over the changes do this in one postion or else it'll sound spastic jumping all the fretboard looking for the home pattern.
Then again noone said u gotta play over the changes u can do whatever u want, such as blow right through them using one scale. It not what u do or use it's how u do or use it. Phrasing is everything, with good phrasing u can stick anything anywhere and make it work.

Saying I'm only gonna use Mixo is a nice excecirse to get a feel for doing that but very limiting. For a more musical experince use that as a springboard for your ears and fingers and allow the music to take you where it wants to go.

For me bluesy means lots bend notes, pentatonic with chromatic passing notes. I think this apples regaurdless of what mode your using. Zappa did some very bluesy Lydian sounding solos. Ok maybe he'd got shot trying that kinna stuff in a blues bar full of hard core ZZ Top fans. It may have been demeanted but still it, to me, was bluesy just not Stevie Ray or Billy Gibbons bluesy.

So depending on your defintion of bluesy mixo may or may not give u want u want. or at least fit your ears defintion.
Then again I personally belive one's personal tone and phrasing
ultimatly determines the sound of whatever you play. Eveything I play is always gonna sound kinna bluesy, no matter what. Just the way it is. Its just the way my body interputs what my mind hears I guess.

The Bash
08-16-2003, 04:30 AM
Yea Bongo, mixo will work for blues and is kinna common more so for jazz players, But it ain't eaxtly in IMO the sound one thinks of when they hink blues. Think blues for a minute and tell me what tunes passed through your mind. I'll bet none of em were straight Mixo.

It's usualy used when u gotta all Dom 7 kinna progression.
Like A7 D7 E&
Though most Blues players just blow through it using Apen minor or A Pen Major or more comonly both with addtional passing notes. I've always considred the b5 Blues Scale note more of a passing note so to me Blues=Pen Minor and Major with anything else u like tossed in. Which amounts to: I have no idea what I'm using and really don't care just so it sounds good :)

The Bash
08-16-2003, 04:40 AM
Scales can kinna be iffy things cause what u think your using and what your really doing may not be one and the same.

For example say someone showed u a A Major and A Minor Scale.
U know nothing about a Pen Scale.
Now they give u this typical I-IV-V 12 bar blues in A.
Now what do you do.
Well if you try using all those notes your proably get some bad results with the 2nd and the 6th using A minor and the 4th and 7th using A Major so wadda ya do. Ya just don't play em or else pass over em real quick so they don't stick out.
Well u just invented the A Pen Min and Pen Major scales :)
Then again after u floor everybody with your brillant solo and some poor sucker asked what scale u used to get such a killer sound you'll simply tell me the A Minor and A Major scale of course.

Point is don't look at what scale your using as much as what notes are u actually playing.

08-16-2003, 01:17 PM
I think the blues progression can be played with just about anything with enough conviction.

I hear I pentatonic over the I chord with M3 added, I hear I pentatonic over the IV chord with M6 added, I hear I pentatonic over the V chord with M7 added. I have an article on here about replacing the m3 with M3 , the m7 with M6 and the m7 with M7.
Called "Moving from the familiar to the Unfamiliar II"


In each case it is the M3 of the chord that is added. The b5 is a tension note that needs to be resolved no matter what chord you play it over.

So normally when trying to sound bluesy I will play pentatonic with these added color tones over each of the chords, in addition to liberal vibratto and bending to in-between notes.

I have heard blues played as mixolydian it is really more common in pop tunes usually in the bass line or riff (Think "Last Train to Clarksville" , I know you are thinking "this is not blues" but the chord progression of just about every thing in the 60's and 70's rock and roll /rock era was borrowing heavily form blues form)

It was seriously overloaded, so much that I refused to play that form for several years, because I had grown tired of it.

I heard new things in it when I heard SRV and Gary Moore so I came back to it.

Blues is really about an attitude and feelings and not music and theory like I said at the beginning anything with enough conviction will work. Listen to "Kind of Blue" (Miles Davis/John Coltrane and Adderly) These guys are playing blues with anything and everything and it works!

08-22-2003, 11:07 PM
I think Szulc really summed it up when he said something to the effect that to get the 'mixolydian sound' over a blues type progression, just add some of the notes, a few at a time, for color, like the M3rd of the chord you're on, M6th etc.. to your standard pentatonic licks.