Guitarist Tip Of The Week 4

A crash course in the use of the Lydian Augmented

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© Christopher Felver/Corbis

A crash course in the use of the Lydian Augmented

Here we're looking at the third mode derived from the ascending version of the melodic minor (aka the Jazz Minor): the Lydian Augmented. The notes in this scale are R, 2, 3, #4, #5, 6, 7 with the #4 and #5 providing the exoticicism that moves the scale away from the more common major scale.

In particular, it's the #5 that causes the most tension, as most chords rely on the fifth to be 'normal' and not altered. This being the case, care is needed when using this mode – it's not generally used for extended bouts of soloing if you want to keep your audience happy! That said, when used in small amounts it can sound immensely sophisticated.

Take a look at Ex. 1 and Ex. 2 (see Gallery) to become associated with G Lydian Augmented (G A B C# D# E F#) as a scale and then some useful chords.

Ex. 3 features a line using the scale as may be played in a blue jazz setting. From looking at the tab, you may notice the minor pentatonic (shape one). Indeed, lurking within the G Lydian Augmented is the F# minor pentatonic scale (F#A B C# E). So here, we have mostly F# minor pentatonic with a little of the other two Lydian Augmented notes (the G and D#) added for the complete Lydian Augmented experience. John Scofield is a master at this approach – a conventional framework (here a minor pentatonic), with a little dressing from a more exotic parent scale. Hope you like the spicy blues sound!

This tip, written and played by Mike Outram from Guitar-X, originally appeared in Guitarist issue 322

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