Progressive Pitch Axis Rock

by Guido Bungenstock

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  • Hi guys!

    Welcome to my new lesson!
    We are going to take a look at the Pitch Axis concept. This musical concept (based on Modal Jazz) originally comes from the earlier free Jazz players, like Miles Davis etc. It means by keeping the same bass note (or riff) continuously changing the modes on top of it, the chords in this genre mostly are sus4 chords to create an open tension.

    But we are going to make a small time travel and transport this into modern rock music.
    Bands like Dream Theater, Yes or players like Joe Satriani use Pitch Axis a lot.

    In my small tune I just used sus2/sus4 chords and moved them up and down chromatically by keeping the same bass note E. For the next 4 bars I kept the same chords but changed the bass notes! Because I moved the chords chromatically we have a key change (modulation) on almost every chord! This means you have to use a bunch of different scales here. In the B section I demonstrate how this could sound in a solo. The key here is it to make it sound smooth and musical rather than just playing scales or doing exercises.

    If you start jamming over the track you'll find out that it needs a bit of practice to do the scales change and finding the right melody. But after a while your ears feel comfortable with it.

    The syncopated rhythm guitar of the A section is also a good timing exercise for you because it moves in dotted 8th notes.

    Good luck!

    A & B section of the song:

    A SECTION(Rhythm Part)
    EMaj7#4 | % | Em7/4 | % |
    Em7/6 | % | Em7#5 | % |
    G#m9/B | % | Bm7#5 | % |
    F#5b9| % | Csus2| % |

    B SECTION(Solo Part)
    EMaj7#4 | % | Em7/4 | % |
    Em7/6 | % | Em7#5 | % |
    G#m9/B | % | Bm7#5 | % |
    F#5b9| % | Csus2| % |

    Em7 | % | % | % |

    Final words
    Try to compose your own Pitch Axis songs and enter the new world! There a millions of possibilities with this concept.
    I tried to transcribe as close as possible. Specially in the Guitar Pro 5 you'll find all this little extras!
    Have fun with it!

    Cheers - Guido

    Technical specifications
    Guitar: Music Man Luke II
    Strings: D'Addario NYXL 09/42
    Amp: Peavey JSX Top with Marshall 2x12" V30
    Effects: T.c. electronic G-Major
    Sound-deflection system by DEEFLEXX

    Mics: Shure SM57
    Audio Interface: Focusrite Saffire PRO 24
    Recording SW: Logic 9, several plugins

    Standard tuning: E, A, D, G, B, E

    Tempo: 112 BPM

    Time signature: 4/4














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