Scales and chords: percussive noodling in dropped B tuning
For the past few weeks, I’ve been noodling around with an idea in dropedp B tuning and as every guitarist knows, there is no better way to spend your time than noodling – it is a well-known phenomenon, right? This tune has been endless hours of fun and I’m hoping that at some point I’ll get around to recording it and committing it to CD! But, somewhere among these countless lost hours of meandering fretboard dancing, I realised this sequence was a great way to show you guys how I approach dropped B tuning. The sequence has a fair bit of space for you to create your own melodies and have your own take on my piece – and ultimately enjoy your own noodle time. This is all based around a bunch of chord shapes and scale shapes; how you put them together is up to you! The tuition video has a demo of how I approach it, but really this is here for you to take wherever you like.
The first step is to get to dropped B; simply tune your low E string to the sound of your B string. I know, it’s so low, but it sounds great and makes playing in B really easy. Once you’re there, get stuck into the first two chord shapes. I use these two chords as the foundations of a verse section. Try playing them for one beat and then using notes from the scales I have notated to create melodies, and remember the most memorable melodies are simple and only use a handful of notes.
The next collection of chords is designed to be a chorus section. Of course you can still use the scales to create melodies in between the chords, but if you take your time you should be able to find a melody by arpeggiating the chords themselves. This approach to melody is effective – and it can take the pressure off your fingers, too.
Dropped B lends itself to play in B minor and D major, so the scale patterns I have notated for you are based around those keys, but there’s nothing stopping you from taking it much further and even making it modal. You might find if you’re using really light strings that the dropped B flaps around a little too much, but it really is up to you to control. Palm muting is a helpful technique to help tame the string and stop it from becoming a buzzing and uncontrollable beast, but personally I enjoy a bit of imperfection in my sound so don’t focus too much on sounding “nice” – get stuck in and enjoy it.
Download the dropped B chords tablature: Dropped B chords
Download the dropped B scales tablature: Dropped B scales