Using the major scales could sound naff, as Justin says it. You can see why if you break down the funk chords.
The 7th chords Justin showed us contain either:
- root, third, dominant seventh, octave
- or root, fifth, dominant seventh, "tenth" (third up an octave)
The 9th chords Justin showed us contain either:
- root, third, dominant seventh, ninth
- or root, third, dominant seventh, ninth, "twelfth" (fifth up an octave)
The 13th chord Justin showed us contains the root
, dominant seventh
, and thirteenth
The 11th/sus4 chord Justin showed us contains the root
, dominant seventh
, and eleventh
Now, we want a scale which we can play over all these chords without running into "problem notes", notes that cause a great deal of tension, and sound bad in most situations. In other words, we want a scale where every note sounds pretty correct. Some notes might cause a slight tension, and work better as passing tones, but they won't clash as strongly.
Right away, we have to rule out the major scale, because of its Major Seventh. The chords we've looked at all contain the dominant seventh
, which is a half tone flatter than the Major Seventh. Thus, playing a major scale over these funk chords could result in that unpleasant clash of two neighboring notes.
However, this problem can be corrected. There is another scale obtained by flattening the 7th of the major scale. This scale is known as the Mixolydian scale, or the Mixolydian mode (I won't go into modal derivation here, just know that if somebody says Mixolydian mode, it's this scale). The scale looks like this:
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7b - octave.
We have all the notes from the funk chords in this scale:1 (root) 2 (ninth) 3 (third) 4 (eleventh) 5 (fifth) 6 (thirteenth) 7b (dominant seventh) octave (root)
Some examples of the Mixolydian mode:
Scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7b 1
A Mixolydian: A B C# D E F# G A
D Mixolydian: D E F# G A B C D
G Mixolydian: G A B C D E F G
C Mixolydian: C D E F G A Bb C
F Mixolydian: F G A Bb C D Eb F
Bb Mixolydian: Bb C D Eb F G Ab Bb
Now, when you solo over a progression involving these funk chords, experiment with emphasizing the scale tones special to that chord, when you play the scale. Thus...
For the ninth, emphasize the ninth.
For the 13th, emphasize the ninth and the sixth.
For the 11th, emphasize the fourth.
The seventh chord is more of a "blank" -- the shell, without an extended tone (9th, etc). Thus, you don't need to feel obliged to emphasize the 7b when the rhythm player gets to the seventh chords.
I'm not going to bother adding a fingering chart, because it's very easy to figure out the mixolydian scale on your own. Take any major scale fingering, and drop the seventh (the note immediately before the root, and lower in pitch) one fret towards the nut. If moving to that fret is too big a stretch, play the same note, on a thicker string.