This Micro Lesson explores the world of "Modal Riffs" with an "A Phrygian" mode progression played under an open "A" 5th string.
The Phrygian Mode is the third mode of the Major Scale. "A" Phrygian is derived from the "F Major" scale. It's minor scale structure closely resembles that of the Natural Minor but the second degree is lowered down to a "Minor 2nd" interval off of the Tonic.
In this "A Phrygian" riff, our open 5th guitar string (A tone) is critical to act as an anchor in the bass register for the chord movements played above it. The small double-stops using on the upper-register are all harmonized from out of the "F Major" key signature. However, since the "A" provides the underlying drone in our bass position, we establish a "Phrygian" color.
The interesting measures are found in bar's two and four where a, "Bb add4," sound is generated in measure two using the "E" open 1st string. And, in measure four, where the two-note chord shots on the minor key's VII-chord and IV-chord pull the progression around back to the top.
The end-goal for this jam would be to learn it well, then record it, and study the sounds of the "A Phrygian Mode" under it (using it as a jam-track).
Take your time learning this feel, it is a busy riff, and the fingering technique must be precise in order to allow for the open strings to ring out properly. Enjoy!
Micro Lesson 225: "A Phrygian" Drone String Riff