If you’re looking for something more unique sounding in your playing, give the Byzantine or Double harmonic scale a go! The scale has a very Arabic feel and lends itself well to that sort of eastern phrasing that my pupils might hear me throwing into my improvisation quite regularly.
The formula for the scale is as follows…
1 b2 3 4 5 b6 7
You may notice that with the minor sixth and major seventh you are immediately reminded of the Harmonic minor scale, a favourite with the metal players as it has a particularly dark sound. However, if you consider the fact that we have the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th completely unaltered, you can actually play this over a major 7th chord which produces some really interesting results.
TIP – Due to the proximity of the b2 to the tonic note, it can sound a little dissonant so its probably best to use it as a passing note. The b6 you can get away with a little more, and its sure to pique the listeners interest.
Here is a suggested pattern for playing the E Byzantine scale based on the A string. I have done this so that you can play the E string Above and really get a feel for the overall tonality of this scale.
Have fun 🙂