View Full Version : Strictly Pitch Axis

04-15-2005, 03:06 PM
Ok, since Iīll be gone for most of the weekend, I figured Iīd start yet another "Strickly"-thread, just so that people will have a choice which one to give a try... this one or the Hirajoshi one... or why not do both ?

Anyway, as the title suggests, this one is based on the Pitch Axis theory. Basically, the pitch axis here is A, thatīs what the bass is playing throughout. There are four different chords that will give you new possibilities to use a scale or mode based on the note A. Each chord lasts for 2 bars.
I have based this jamtrack loosely on "Not Of This Earth" by Joe Satriani... he claimed that that song is a great example of using the pitch axis theory.
Iīll post the jam-track, a powertab and pdf of the background, and my first take on this... I was still thinkign a bit too much here, so some parts might sound as if I hesitate. Also, something went wrong with the synchronisation of the two tracks, so there might be timing differences.
Anyway, here we go...

04-15-2005, 03:30 PM
things are getting cool and hot at the same time lmao ... i'll definitely try this. This stuff is such good practice.

Can't listen now though i'll make sure i'll do some time soon.

this place is so cool ... i'm so much in debt with you guys! If i had you people around a few years back i would have never quit!! bad mistake!

04-15-2005, 09:24 PM
Good fun, not a great take but that's how it goes:D

04-15-2005, 09:26 PM
Hey Russ,
thatīs a great take ! Very cool phrasing, like the fast parts, they have some of that Satriani-vibe ( esp. the long tapping-passage ). I like the "delayed bend" you do at one point quite a lot. Great job

04-15-2005, 09:37 PM
Cheers Eric:D Enjoyed myself!

04-15-2005, 09:41 PM
Seems like it =)

04-16-2005, 02:19 PM
I can't believe more people aren't having a go at this one, what a great track to hone your modal interchange skills!

04-17-2005, 09:06 AM
First of all what exactly this pitch axis theory is? I read the pdf, and I saw that Eric wrote - I used mainly A major here, A minor here etc. But what is the basis of all that?

04-17-2005, 09:37 AM
Nicely done Eric, yet another good teaching aid!!!!

Great take Russ, yet another thing for me to catch up on!!!!!

04-17-2005, 11:46 AM
Matt, thanks a lot, glad you like it.

Bande... the Pitch Axis Theory is based on the idea that you take one note ( in this case A ), which is your axis. Now you take all kinds of modes and scales, starting from that note, and use them. If you i.,e. have a static A bass note going, you can i.e. jam over it using A min for one bar, A maj for the next, A lydian for the next, and A harmonic minor or whatever !
In this case, I chose 4 chords, and you could i.e. go:

/ A maj / A min / A maj / A mix

Iīll leave it up to you to experiment.. the scales I used are only one possible way.

04-17-2005, 12:36 PM
working on it ...

i am practicing the available possibilities going totally by ear or "asking theory for help".

Theory approach has its problems. Coz i end up thinking "what are the notes of the A Mixolydian, ah yes then i have to play these" and forget about getting a decent structure/flow out.

On the other hand, with the ear approach there's an element of trial and error.

I still need to get used to the progression. Very Good practice!

Of course (i'm sure most of you know) you can play the hirajoshi scale over some of the chords (3/4 bar) as another example. Cool thing this ability to superimpose scales and borrow here and there! It gives a new dimension to the sounds you can bring out.

bande you might want to check out this link (http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7576&highlight=pitch+axis). There's another link in the post too, EricV had put some time to write a detailed explanation of it way back!

04-17-2005, 02:32 PM
Theory approach has its problems. Coz i end up thinking "what are the notes of the A Mixolydian, ah yes then i have to play these" and forget about getting a decent structure/flow out.

Thatīs one of the reasons why I did a "strickly pitch axis" thread... because it might be a good exercise to work on just that: going from scale to scale while maintaining a flow.
A lot of players who start to explore improvisation do have problems to put a structure into their soloing even if they use only one scale. After some time, they hopefully develop that ability.
Itīs pretty much the same thing here... a bit as if you have to learn a really complicated scale ( in this case, a few different ones, treating them as only one scale ), and use it while maintaining a flow.
Looking forward to more improvs on it

NP: Paul Gilbert - Space Ship One

04-17-2005, 06:13 PM
Ok, I thought I'd give this a shot. I'm not a guitarist, but I figured I'd try loading an overdriven PRS sample I have onto the Kurzweil and run it through a software amp simulator. I listened to UKRuss's example first (great job, really enjoyed it!) so I could get some guitarist's perspective and tried to emulate a little bit.


Thanks Eric, for posting this cool exercise!

04-17-2005, 06:27 PM
Bob, thanks for sharing that. I liked it lots, itīs quite interesting to see a keyboard-player approach it... even though you tried to approach it guitar-like, there are some note-choices in there which are rather un-guitar like and I like that !
BTW, I also listened to your "lydian experiment" earlier today, and I LOVED that ! Very nice, could listen to lots more of that

04-17-2005, 06:46 PM
Thanks Eric. It was a fun experiment and I appreciate the opportunity to work through things like this. It's alot of fun to play a keyboard and hear long, overdriven guitar come out. I get so accustomed to using the keyboard as a percussive instrument, it's really nice to have some sustain! I'll have to do some serious study of standard guitar riffs and methods if I want to make it sound totally convincing. One of my favorite writer/keyboardists is Jan Hammer. I only wish I could get that fluid! Glad you liked the Lydian thoughts too.

04-17-2005, 07:12 PM
Thanks Bob, right back at ya!

Loved that sound. juicy!

Jan Hammer is the man, strangely a couple fo days ago dug out the ol' Lost Trident Sessions, Mahavishnu orch stuff and yes indeedy, Jan is doing his thang.

But where would they be without Billy Cobham too? Outstanding:eek:

04-17-2005, 07:44 PM
None of my Mahavishnu survived the mutitude of moves. I only have some solo albums of Hammer's late work. I've never heard the Lost Trident Sessions. Should I get a copy? Cobham has played with just about everybody.

Edit: Tone is Ok? Not being a guitarist I'm a little lost!

04-17-2005, 09:05 PM
That's a great sample you've got there, I thought it was a great tone for guitar emulation. Like you said, sustain enjoyable:D I wish i could get that kind of sustain out of my guitar. Maybe i should invest ni a PRS, i can see the Mrs being heavily in favour of that:rolleyes:

Lost Trident sessions is not their best...perhaps why they got lost in he first place...but it's it's worth a listen, even if it's just so you can sit back and say How the hell did McLaughlin do that!...as I always do when I hear him of course.

04-17-2005, 10:12 PM
Cool, appreciate the listen and feedback. Yeah, I'd like to pick up some more samples but I got a Mrs too :rolleyes: She let me get these, I'm grateful :)

04-18-2005, 10:16 PM
Not really comfortable with key changes so when this happens I tend to get very linear with my playing i.e. playing scales and sequences and this is what basically happened.

Scales I 'tried' to use---Measure 1, 2 5 and 6--'F# harmonic minor'
Meaure 3 and 4---'A minor'
Measure 7 and 8-- 'A Whole tone'

(Bob yours is cool. I dig it)

04-18-2005, 10:21 PM
Like you said, sustain enjoyable:D.
Surely that translates as 'SUSTAIN-ABLE'!!!!!!:D :D

Bob, that was a great take. That's quite a nice repro guitar sound, one of the better ones I've heard!!

04-18-2005, 11:28 PM
Hey Flathead, that was really cool too! Glad you liked the one I posted. And thanks Matt, that sample is 13 Mb!

04-20-2005, 01:44 PM
phew ... finally... i'm take this guitar thing too seriously i'm ruining the fun.

i'd be happy to hear advice and stuff to work on.

i loved you guys' takes! all good stuff... bob perfect guitar tone!! very good use of that bends sounds natural strings! good ear.

04-24-2005, 07:43 AM
wow these takes are awesome guys!
RUss, awesome as always mate!
Rob- Best thing ive heard from you so far, excellent.
Flathead- your playing is very unusual and jazz like solos, very very nice. Why did you use a F# Harmonic minor over an A root, im guessing its because its the V or something?

I dunno how im gonna keep up with you guys!seriously your so good.

04-24-2005, 08:21 AM
this is my pretty mindless crappy submission. i can guess what will happen, tomorow ill log on and everyone will say how great i am, no.
Im just about to commence my "strictly malmsteen" period,that is where im gonna dedicate a few weeks to learning shred and malmsteen songs and building my shred technique, so far a while ill be doing alot of harmonic runs and sweeps and crazy stuff. So the next few weeks are just gonna be full on malmsteen for me, cause thats the stuff i want to get better at and i look to put 100% of my energy and skill into 1 thing and focus on it rather then learning to much at once. This take has alot of things in it, too much aelion, im an aeolin freak. Eric V i fail this task.:( I shouldnt have bothered. i didnt even follow your guidlelines, where they suggestions the modes to use or "strictly". How bout i call my take "strictly pointless" or "strictly boring". I will definately need to work on my pitch axis in the future. For some reason my playing all sounds the same, its all shred wit distortion and i cant make my playing more versatile, but then again YJM has sound the same for 20 years and still repeats himself over and over.:D :D Im very cautious on my bends now, trying to improve that, after i hurt russ' ear with my 'great' bending technique lol.

11-09-2005, 03:12 PM
Could you tell me what chords these are, and if certain chord choices are imporant to be able to use this technique?

What makes a chord a candidate for these solos?

11-09-2005, 05:52 PM
Have a look at the power tab file which is attached to the initial post of this thread. There you'll se which chords that are included in detail.

Now, I expect a recording by you very soon.

11-09-2005, 09:56 PM
Hahaha, who me?? No problem. I am actually on a mac though, so I don't have powertab software. (I am not sure if there is any??)

Either info would be much appreciated.

11-09-2005, 10:57 PM
Yes, you: Check out www.powertabs.net (http://www.powertabs.net) and download Power Tab Editor.

Then you'll be able to open the file, and then you'll see the chords, and then you'll record!

11-09-2005, 10:59 PM
Have you seen the pdf-file I attached ? It has the chord progression in there.
Hereīs a screenshot:

11-12-2005, 01:43 AM
Apple-Joe, I think this one is going to take some studying, it wasn't as easy for me as the Phyrigian one. I am not very good either, only been playing a few months, I have so much work to do on lead technique. Luckily the Rock Discipline DVD has been helping a lot.

11-12-2005, 09:23 AM
wowowow, nice take Russ! Great sounding. Love the fast runs and great phrasing. You are getting more better all the time!

11-12-2005, 09:33 AM
Thanks Satch, but I think that take is months old....

11-12-2005, 02:43 PM
How about a new strictly? "Strictly Time Signature"? As far as I'm concerned, it's not been done yet. I could have been interesting. I don't have any specific ideas really. One possibillity is to decide for a certain time signature to base the piece on, or maybe a few. Even leave it open. No, that would probably be too "loose". Well, if one's about to do such an experiment, one should maybe choose time signatures that are not very common. Maybe mix two. One which is close to 4/4 and one two emphasize the contrast.

There's been a heavy focus on melodies, modes etc. - how about "forcing" everyone to focus on the rhythm? I'm not saying there haven't been rhythmic playing yet, but it'd be interesting with a - slightly, at least - theoretical approach to the rhytmich playing.

Just an idea for the "organizers" of the strictlies. If there are none other ideas, you could consider this one.

01-03-2006, 01:00 AM
Well, strictly threads are fun! Had to try this one too! :D Difficult, though, a lot to set your mind into... :S

01-03-2006, 04:46 PM
Kjellen: Inspiring beginning. I especially like what's going on around 00:25. So called cat-purring effect. Around 00:55 another great effect - some kind of a dive bomb?

I like the relaxed atmosphere which can be heard more or less through-out the entire track.

Make sure you have a go at several strictlies, it's great that these threads are resurrecting.

01-03-2006, 04:57 PM
I like this one too, but like my take i think it always sounds a bit too obvious when changing from one scale to the next.

I think I heard you having the same trouble in this one as i had...correct me if I'm wrong.

Guys like Satch seem to never make you hear the changes and use the ol axis brilliantly, i just can't seem to get that going.

01-03-2006, 05:35 PM
@ Russ : Agreed! It's so damn difficult NOT to be obvious when changing, because you kinda concentrate so much on changing yourself. Think you really need to get it under your skin to keep it flowing, or maybe don't even think about changes, just have the melodies going on in your head being in different scales... :S

@ Joe : Yeah, the trick at 0:55 is a dive-bomb thing. Hit the loose A string, whammy-barred it down, and when I released the whammy I hit the natural harmonic at the 5. fret of the loose A-string with my left middle finger.

01-03-2006, 09:23 PM
Man guys those are some awesome recordings. Russ, you're take on this track is amazing. I love it lol. Awesome stuff. I'm going to try doing something over this later on.

01-04-2006, 12:28 PM
Many thanks for the kind words, looking forward to your take!

It's great these threads inspire everyone to take part!

03-08-2006, 10:38 AM
Hey peoples. Here's my pointless take on this. Pointless why?
Coz it sounds so contrived. And there are a whole bunch of finger mishaps :p
I don't mind the finger slips so much. It's not like we're sitting and re-recodring this over and over. What I did was just listen to the barebones progression for a while to get the sound,then I jammed on the changes for a while.
Then I did a take, and it sounds like this. No point doing another, coz its gonna sound just as contrived.Sorry about the whammied bits. I didn't have the bar in and I had to move the bridge with my fingers..ow!
At some parts, I was bugged at how predictable I sounded, so I just threw in a chromatic lick or something :p
All in all, I think I should have let the song speak to me a little more, so I could had a couple more ideas. Please don't excommunicate me :p
Sigh. When will I be Vai :(
And hey Eric, I was thinking of appling to GIT. It's so cool to have someone from there to talk to about it, besides the fact that you're a wanted sessions guy. It's so cool we can all interact with people of your caliber in this forum. That aside don't tell the guys at MI that I play like this :p

03-08-2006, 10:53 AM
Hey Tony

Why so humble ? I thought that that was a pretty awesome take ! Great legato- and picking chops IMO, and also, very tasteful playing and a nice tone.
Great work !
I think the guys at MI would enjoy hearing it as well :)

03-08-2006, 12:12 PM
Thanks Eric. That means a lot coming from someone who gets invited to Jemfest, among other things.
Hehe. Guess where I'm getting my tone from. It actually explains why I'm lacking a little in the bass deparment.
Am I allowed to state what I'm using here? Coz you'll be surprised.
I know that gear talk is strictly forbidden? Anyway, I'll wait for someone to give me the go ahead.
Thanks again Eric

03-08-2006, 11:56 PM
Oh I think some comments on the gear you used would be perfectly ok. Maybe Iīll post details on what I use for recording at the PC, and you might be equally surprised =)
And youīre very welcome

03-09-2006, 03:58 AM
Cool. Ok, so my guitar is a PGM. But not one of the super expensive ones. It's the one with the Ibanez Infinity p/ups. That goes into a...drum roll..ZOOM505... see I told you you wouldn't believe me. Hehe. Truth is though, I'm just using it as a volume boost and pre-EQ.No effects at all. The little monster producing all the sound is....a Behringer VToneGM108!!Yes, a little 20Watt practice amp, which sounds better than most of my effects!!Such a sweet sounding little amp that was so cheap.After boosting the volume a bit, it sounds so...creamy.Thing is, with the Zoom as a volume boost, it can get kinda noisy, but such a nice tone. I wish I knew how to do it justice by miking it correctly.The best part is,when I switch to the bridge+middle singe coils on my guitar I get a superbly authentic PG SUPERdirty single coil sound.Only problem is its a tiny amp, so the bass frequencies aren't really there, but I have an evil plan. Muhahahahahha.

04-12-2006, 06:03 PM
Hi Eric,
This was a cool track man,love the changes,wanted to find a few notes and juice them but then the changes man couldnt resist had to play some more.heres my take....Thanks.... Hermit