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Time/size: 6 mins 56 secs/9.52MB. 66 beats per minute/bpm
Muleshine jam track: Blues rock ballad in the key of A. If you tune down half a step you can play it in Bb, the same key as the progression is taken from.
Backing track instruments: electric and acoustic guitars, Hammond SK-1 organ, fretless bass and a drum pattern that I programmed into my Zoom HD16 multi-track recorder.
Progression: There are several parts to the progression, the various parts are:
Both the verse and chorus use the chords progressions:
There is also a Bridge section which uses the chords: F#min, D, D, A, C#min, D, G, and E.
See below for the full progression, which I've written up both in A and also in Bb.
Suggestions: Play the F# minor (A Major) pentatonic scale over the entire progression.
(If you are tuned down half a step then play the G minor (Bb Major) pentatonic scale over the entire progression and the Bb Major Scale/Bb Mixolydian mode where I'm talking about the A Major scale and A Mixolydian mode below).
You can also expand the F# minor pentatonic scale and play both the A Major scale and the A Mixolydian mode over the progression. You will want to change from the A Major scale to the A Mixolydian scale, when you play over the G chord. Your ear will tell you when. The 7th degree of the A Major scale is the note G#. The G# note is going to sound really bad over the G chord (there's a term for this, it's called Jazz!).
The Mixolydian scale uses the same notes for each degree of the scale as the Major scale EXCEPT for the 7th degree of the scale, which is lowered by half a step (a semi-tone). The 7th degree of the A Major scale is a G#. If you lower that note by a semi-tone and play the G you will have changed from playing the A Major scale to playing the A Mixolydian scale.
When people talk about playing the modes, that's all they are doing, referring to the various scales that distinguish themselves by the different intervals that define those scales.
You can totally ignore the full A Major and A Mixolydian scales and just play the 5 note, F# minor pentatonic scale. The 5 notes from the F# minor pentatonic scale appear in both the A Major scale and the A Mixolydian scale. So the F# minor pentatonic scale will fit well over the entire progression, including when you get to the G chord. i.e. The F# minor pentatonic scale doesn't consist of either of the notes G and G# - so you won't clash with the chords with that scale.
When you want to add more notes though, you'll need to start using the 7 note A Major and A Mixolydian scales. As I mentioned above, your ear will let you know what sounds good. Don't focus on the music theory above, I just talk about it out of interest. At the end of the day, throw away your music books and let your ears determine what notes your fingers go for on your instrument. Connect with your hear and soul, not a bunch of words or notes on a page.
Muleshine Progression and Structure
This jam track is based on the classic Warren Haynes song Soulshine that you can check out great recorded versions played by both bands he plays in Gov't Mule and The Allman Brothers Band.
The actual progression for the jam track Muleshine is borrowed directly from the Gov't Mule and The ABB versions starting at the 2nd verse.
1. The structure of the progression for the jam track is:
Verse 2: A, E, D, A (x 3) then A, E, F#min, G.
2. If you are tuned down half a step then the structure of the progression is:
Verse 2: Bb, F, Eb, Bb (x 3) then Bb, F, Gmin, Ab.
Muleshine Scale Suggestions
1. F# minor pentatonic scale
The F# minor pentatonic scale is the relative minor of the A Major Pentatonic scale. Both scales use the same notes. If you paid lots of money for tuition to the Free Jam Tracks school of Southern Rock then I would have told you from the beginning to use the A Major Pentatonic scale. But you didn't pay me a nickel so I've told you to use the F# minor pentatonic scale instead.
The reason is visually, when I'm soloing over this jam track, I start playing it using the A Major Pentatonic scale but in the position of the F# minor pentatonic scale which of which the tab is this:
The F# is on 2nd fret of the low E (6th) string. The A is on the 4th fret of the low E string. This is the Root note of the progression and your ear will naturally lead you towards this note - but visually I wanted to tab out the F# minor pentatonic scale - the reason being is so I can then when you look at the guitar tab I've done for the A Major and A Mixolydian modes (2. and 3. below) you will easily see the notes I've added to the tab in 1 above to make up those two modes.
2. A Major Scale
Playing the F# minor pentatonic scale we get the tab above. It's an A Major Pentatonic scale if you ignore the F# on the 2nd fret of the 6th string and start at the A on the 5th fret.
Another Root note A is found on the G (3rd) string at the 2nd fret.
If you play the A Major Pentatonic scale from 1. above from this A note then you are playing the A Major Pentatonic scale. If you add the 4th and Major 7th degrees to the A Major Pentatonic scale you get the A Major scale which is shown on the G, B and E strings in the tab below.
3. A Mixolydian Mode
If you then change the Major 7th degree of the scale shown in 2. above b7th (flat 7th) then you will be playing the A Mixolydian scale which is this:
If you are tuned down half a step and are playing the F# minor pentatonic scale/Bb Major scale and the Bb Mixolydian mode then the same theory and scale patterns apply above. You just need to shift each pattern from 1. 2. and 3. above up one fret (i.e. a semi-tone).
I recorded the Hammond and the guitar parts for Muleshine with those instruments tuned down 1/2 a step. So I was following the chords from the original recordings of Soulshine.
I didn't tune my bass down 1/2 a step when I went to record it - I just followed the chords at pitch level which is the progression I stated above:
Verse 2: A, E, D, A (x 3) then A, E, F#min, G.
The bass on the record is really solid and sticks closely to the Root notes on the Gov't Mule version. Oteil Burbridge adds a bit more to it note-wise on The Allman Brothers version.
I mostly stuck with the root notes, I added the 5th a little bit. I think you'll be able to come up with a lot more than I played on Muleshine. Listen to both Gov't Mule's version and Oteil on The ABB version for ideas and see how far you can take it.
The drum beat to Muleshine is a really simply rock beat that I stripped down from The Allman Brothers version of Soulshine. You'll hear they swing it a bit more to give it a real nice feel. The Gov't Mule version swings a bit but not at much as The Allman Brothers version of the tune. It's got a bit of a reggae feel to it the version I was listening to which is the one from their classic album The Deep End.
Stream Muleshine from JamTracksTV
I'll put the tracks up as videos you can stream on YouTube later today or tomorrow.