Modal Soloing. Locrian Nat 2 Scale

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Modal Soloing. Locrian Nat 2 ScaleIn this current series of articles, such as Lydian Sharp Five Scale, Mixolydian Flat 6 we’ve seen how modes enable us to see the notes of a scale from different perspectives. As you can see, A Locrian nat 2 has the same notes as C melodic minor, but it’s viewed as an A scale so, here, the notes of an Am7b5 arpeggio are considered to be the strongest (A, C, Eb and G). As the name of this scale suggests, there is only one note different from Locrian: a major scale mode (the seventh), which is used over half-diminished chords.

In this lesson it’s the turn of the sixth mode, locrian nat 2:

Modal Soloing. Locrian Nat 2 Scale

Locrian Nat Scale

However, Locrian nat 2 is also often referred to as Aeolian 1,5. Furthermore, because it’s the sixth mode of melodic minor (also known as jazz minor) it can also be called jazz minor six (or JM6).

In the diagrams, I’ve given you five scale patterns for A Locrian nat 2, each containing an Am7b5 chord form as a basic framework on which to build the scale.

I’ve chosen these particular m7b5 chord shapes on purpose. All m7b5 chords can be seen as slash chords (for example, Am7\b5 = Cm/A). By taking the root note off each Am7b5 chord, you should see a recognisable Cm triad shape which some players find helps them to associate, in this case, the Am7b5 chord with the appropriate C melodic minor scale pattern. I’ve also given you the same scale shapes again, each using Am7b5 hybrid pentatonic as a framework (see formulae below). As you can see, I’ve had to relocate a b5 note (Eb) within each of the original scale shapes when playing the Am7b5 hybrid pentatonic. This is so that I can keep each pentatonic shape to a two-notes-per-string configuration. The advantage to learning all pentatonic scales like this is that you can continue playing the same musical idea when changing from one pentatonic to another without having to change your fingering too much.

Locrian Mode Flavours

In previous lessons, we’ve described how it is possible to extract various distinct flavours from a scale by exploiting the following formulae:

Flavours Formulae

Below, I’ve listed just some of the possible sounds that exist within A Locrian nat 2. Spend some time experimenting with them until you become familiar with the shapes and sounds of each. Notice how the list is getting longer and longer as we encounter new modes.

Locrian Nat 2 Scale sounds

Locrian scale. The progression

This lesson’s progression comprises chords that are diatonic to C melodic minor but resolve to an Am7b5 chord – hence the need to see these notes as an A scale.

As with previous scale (Lydian sharp 5), I’ve never heard Locrian nat 2 used as the tonal centre of an entire progression like this before and, as you can hear, the result sounds pretty dark and tense. As mentioned earlier, this scale is usually used over mb5 chords or, more commonly, in conjunction with Locrian over m7b5 chords (we’ll be looking at this again in the future when we look at minor II V Is).

The solo

I’ve included a couple of excerpts solo. The first (Exercise 1) shows how I made very obvious reference, between bars 6 and 8, to the Am7b5 pentatonic hybrid shown in the earlier diagrams. The second (Exercise 2), shows an equally straightforward reference to a G major triad between bars 18 and 19.

Strings and things

Something that contributes immeasurably to the tension and darkness surrounding this lesson’s solo is the fact that the top E string is slightly flat. This was a first-take solo and it seemed to have a good vibe, so Phil and I didn’t bother going through it with a fine-toothed comb afterwards – after all, the idea here is to use the scale with some sort of spontaneity. I don’t even know if you can hear it too, but tuning problems on the guitar drive me nuts – oh for the luxury of always being totally in tune like a keyboard and never having to listen back and cringe every time a string has been pulled flat! It’s amazing to think that you can spend thousands of hard-earned dollars on your guitar, amp and effects and the success of the whole thing still hangs suspended by a .009 thread. Next Lesson – Modal Study. The Lydian Scale Flat 7. See you then!

Further listening

For some reason, this solo reminds me of Wayne Krantz. It’s got a rhythmic, almost country-ish edge to it. Wayne Krantz is a New York jazzer with a difference. He plays highly ornate arrangements (lots of sophisticated syncopation) with a three-piece ensemble that combines country and post-bop – check him out!

It’s a part of lesson Modal Soloing. Locrian Nat 2 Scale

Below you can download a full free copy of

Modal Soloing. Locrian Nat 2 Scale lesson with backing track


21 November 2012 0 comments
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