How to weave the Mixolydian mode into your jazz and blues solos

Larry Carlton
(Image credit: Andrew Lepley/Redferns)

The Mixolydian mode is a great scale to use over an unaltered Dominant 7th chord. Unaltered means a chord without altered extensions, such as flat or sharp 9ths, sharp 11ths, and sharp 5ths. Have you ever noticed how, when trying to shoehorn the Blues scale in over a Dominant 7 chord (in something other than a blues) that it clashes with the chord? The Mixolydian may well offer the solution.

G Mixolydian is the 5th mode of C Major. You may ask ‘why do I not just play C Major over the G7 chord?’. The answer lies in the use (or rather avoidance) of the 4th degree over a Dominant 7th. The 4th is an ‘avoid’ note on a Dominant 7th; you can pass through that note but holding it for too long is a displeasing sound. 

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Andy G Jones

A professional guitarist for many years, Andy G Jones has played with Van Morrison, James Ingram, Lamont Dozier, Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor), Robben Ford, Billy Cobham, John Illsley (Dire Straits), KT Tunstall, Albert Lee (featured on Andy's upcoming CD), Mike Finnigan, Dave Landreth and Ryan Voth from The Bros. Landreth, Malford Milligan, The BBC Radio Big Band, Patti Austin, Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), Lalo Schifrin (Hollywood film composer Bullitt, Mission Impossible), Hank Marvin, James Dean Bradfield (the Manic Street Preachers), Grady Tate, Agnetha from ABBA, Cliff Richard, Dudley Moore, Nathan James (Inglorious), Joey Tempest (Europe) and Kelsey Grammar.