MayonesDuncan Solo Contest by Micael Nobre (2013)

This was my participation in the #MayonesDuncan Solo Contest in 2013.

Seymour Duncan launched a competition with Mayones, with special host Keith Merrow recording the backing track. 1st price would win a Regius 7 Custom guitar.

The Winner of the Contest

The winner of the contest was Nicholas Llerandi. His performance flew over many people’s heads, but personally I can totally understand why he won.

Let me explain, generically, what is happening in Nicholas’ performance.

Let’s imagine an example where we have a simple chord progression like this:

Cm – Gm – Fm – Ab

It’s very tempting to use the C Minor scale (or Aeolian mode, same thing) to play over this chord progression.

However, you don’t necessarily have to.

For instance, when presented with a Cm chord, you could play C Aeolian over it, but you could also play C Dorian, C Phrygian, C Melodic Minor, C Dorian b2, C Harmonic Minor, etc. (you could play any scale or mode that contains the notes of the Cm chord: C Eb G).

And then, when presented with a Gm chord, you can now play over it G Aeolian, G Dorian, G Phrygian, G Melodic Minor, G Dorian b2, G Harmonic Minor, etc.

And so on.

So for the previously mentioned chord progression, you could play it like this:

  • Cm – C Aeolian
  • Gm – G Melodic Minor
  • Fm – F Aeolian
  • Ab – Ab Ionian

Four completely different scales for just one simple chord progression.

Now imagine that the chord progression consisted only of power chords (that’s the case in the #MayonesDuncan contest).

  • C5
  • G5
  • F5
  • Ab5

In this case, the chords don’t even have any information regarding their 3rd, i.e. they don’t explicitly tell you if they are major or minor chords.

So, over a C5 chord, you can play an even larger variety of modes, both major and minor. Just from the Major Scale, you could choose to play C Ionian, C Dorian, C Phrygian, C Lydian, C Mixolydian or C Aeolian. And then comes G5 and the story repeats again.

The chord progression used by Keith Merrow in the backing track only tells implicitly that it’s in the key of C# minor, but accepting that is your own choice.

If you don’t accept it just a little bit, you may do it like I did, where I turned those C#5 chords from implied C#m into C#mM7, which required the use of the C# Melodic Minor scale instead of the C# Minor scale.

If you don’t accept it at all, you do like Nicholas did.

What he does in this track is perfectly aligned with the spirit of the software I developed, called SLModes. Check it out:

SLModes 2.5.0