2014: How Not To Repeat The Mistakes Of The Past (Or Nothing Ever Got Done With An Excuse)

It’s that time of year again…

(This is a repost of something I wrote for the end of 2009.  The dates and information have been updated, and this has become one of the few yearly repost traditions I indulge in.)

.

At the end of every year, I typically take the last week between Christmas and New Years to wind down and center.  It not only helps me take stock of what worked and didn’t work for me in in the year but also helps me make sure I’m on track for what I want to get done moving forward.  As George Santayana said,

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

.

As 2013 draws to a close, I think back to many conversations I had with people at the end of 2009.  At that time, it seemed like everyone I talked to said the same thing, “2009 was such a bad year.  2010 has to be better.  It just has to.”

Now it seems I’m listening to the same sentiment with the same people about 2013 and the coming 2014.  And in some ways they have a valid point.  Listening to their circumstances, 2013 certainly offered some of these people a tough blow – but regardless of their circumstances, I believe that, unless they experience a windfall of good fortune, I will hear the same sentiments echoed at the end of 2014.  There’s a reason for this:

“If you always do what you’ve always done – you’ll always get what you always got” – anon

.

While I fully appreciate the merits of planning and goal setting – life will throw you any number of curveballs that may make a meticulously laid out plan get derailed.

.

A good plan has to be countered with an ability to improvise (as need be) to make sure that even if your mode of transportation is disabled, that you are still on the path to achieve your goals.

.

“Improvisation as a practice is the focus of an idea through an imposed restriction.  This restriction could either be self-imposed or could be imposed upon the improviser through other means.

Improvisation as it relates to common experience can be seen in the example of the car that stops running in the middle of a trip.  A person experienced in auto repair may attempt to pop the hood of the car to see if they can ascertain how to repair the vehicle.  Or they may try to flag down help.  Or they may try to use a cell phone to contact a garage.  The point being that within the context of a vehicle malfunction, different actions are improvised based on the improviser’s facility with both the situation at hand and the tools at their disposal.

….life is essentially an improvisation.  As individuals we come into each day not exactly knowing what will happen.  We know that there is an eventual end, but we don’t know when or how it will end.  But we continue to improvise, because it is in both the active improvisation (the present), the skill set and knowledge of that improvisation (the past) and in the philosophical/worldview/goals guiding our improvisational choices (the future) that we create meaning.”

 

If you approach life’s problems with the same mindset you’ve always had 

-and your new year’s resolutions run contrary to that mindset -

your resolutions are doomed.

.

I say this as a seasoned graduate of the school of hard knocks and as a person who found that while success feels a lot better – ultimately failure is a much more thorough teacher.

.

2013 had some great ups and downs for me and now there are a number of life and playing upgrades I’m going to put into practice in 2014 to address the things that didn’t work for me.  For those of you who are interested in making a real change the new year – here’s what worked for me going into 2013 that I plan on using this year as well:

 

Know the big picture.

If you have a goal – know why you have the goal.  As Victor Frankl once said, “He who has a why can endure almost any how.

.

Take stock of what you have done and identify what needs to change.

Have you done things that work towards that goal?  If so, what have you really done? What worked?  What didn’t work?  And what parameters can you put in place to make it work better?

What decisions did you make that set you back and how could you alter those decisions in the future?

Sometimes honesty is brutal but this isn’t about beating yourself up.  It’s about taking a realistic stock of what worked and what didn’t work for you in the year, reinforcing that things that work for you and discarding what didn’t work for you.

.

Revolution not resolution

People typically make resolutions because they recognize a need for change in their life.

Personally, change hasn’t been about making a momentary decision as a knee jerk reaction to something (which usually lasts as long as the time it took to make that decision).

The long-lasting changes in my life have come from making lifestyle changes, setting priorities and working within those changes.  Change is not a temporary compromise to a current observation but is instead a revolt against habitual modes of thinking and operation. 

.

Positive habits

Making something a daily positive habit (like brushing your teeth) makes it easier to maintain over the long haul. (See my post about the value of rituals for more on this.)

.

“Don’t make excuses – make it right” –  Al Little

People make excuses for things all the time.  No one cares about excuses because nothing ever got done with an excuse.  People (typically) only care about results.

There will undoubtably be moments that you relapse into older habits.  Instead of making excuses for why it happened – just acknowledge it and move past it. When you fall off the bike, it’s not about sitting down and nursing your scrapes.  It’s about getting back up on the bike again.  As it says in The Hagakure“Seven times down – eight times up”

.

There’s strength in numbers

Try to surround yourself with supportive people.

  • Not enabling people who will make changes more difficult for you.
  • Not negative or judgmental people who will scoff at your desire for change

Like minded people who have goals and are motivated.

Talk to the friends and family who will give honest and supportive feedback.  Here’s another important tip – don’t burn those people out with your goals.  The people around you have their own lives, so if every conversation becomes about you and your goals, you’re going to see less and less of those people!

.

In addition to (or in some cases in lieu of) that support, you may want to look into some free online accountability sites like Idonethis.com (post on this here) or Wunderlist.com which maintains a private calendar to help observe progress.

.

Commit to One Change

It’s easy to get hung up and overwhelmed with the specifics of a long term goal.  Try making one lifestyle change and commit to seeing that through.  (Again, you can read my post about the value of rituals for more on this.)

.

Be motivated to do more but be grateful for what you have

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who took a moment to come here and read my writing.  I hope this helps you in some way shape or form and I hope that 2014 is your best year yet.

.

-SC

Update from Upstate

Hey everyone,

A few quick things from the wild woods of Upstate NY.

Guit-A-Grip

I should mention that there’s a recent post and a new podcast up on guit-a-grip that may interest you if you have any interest in project management or motivational aspects of guitar playing.

Guitar-Muse

Okay…projects on tap for Guitar-Muse I hope we can get out before the end of the year:

  • Pentatonic Extraction Lesson (Submitted)
  • Taping Lesson (Submitted)
  • Ridgely Snow Player Profile (almost ready to go)
  • Interview w. Chris Buono (in the pipeline)
  • Review of Relentless: A Memoir (in the pipeline – short version you should check it out)
  • Review of the JamUp Pro app (in the pipeline)
  • Interviews with several people including Daren Burns and Fernando Vigueras
  • Possible cool gear reviews in the pipeline
  • Other lessons and player profiles

I have a steady stream of things going out to them, and hopefully we can get them up in a consistent manner!

Acoustic Project

Boy, I’ve been having the hardest time getting players for the Shakti-ish / Balkan-ish / Middle Eastern-ish / ish-ish acoustic project that I’ve been trying to pull together!  That in and of itself isn’t a shock, but what IS surprising is that  I’ve never had a project that had so much interest, and then kept falling apart at the moment of – “sounds good – let’s get together to play”.

The flake out factor almost as bad as LA in that respect. ; )

If you happen to be in upstate NY here’s the posting, and know a violinist or a guitarist who wants to show up to play, please pass that along!

At any rate, I’ve met some good people that hopefully something can come from and in the meantime, I guess I’ll keep plugging away at it and in the meantime just get a solo acoustic set together and try to make some headway there.

Electrics ‘R Us

There are very real threats of me going to Boston to see John Harper of FnH to pick up some guitars that are waiting there for me.  In the electric realm, I’m still trying to figure out how to get the Rough Hewn material signed off on, and working on pulling together a new remote project with some long-time collaborators/co-conspirators of mine and will feature a lot of 12-tone ideas.

Again we’ll see what happens.

(Another?) Book

Oh, and a lot of work has gone into the forthcoming  Pentatonic Extraction book thus far.  I don’t have an ETA, but it’s going to be cool!  There should be a lesson based on that material coming out for Guitar-Muse.

In other book related news, as a precursor to getting it out the door – If you get a chance, to check it out the new podcasts on Guit-A-Grip will feature a serialization  of my project management book, Nothing ever got done with an excuse  to help people get their projects off the ground.

That’s it for now!  As always, thanks for reading!

-SC

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 17 – Makin’ Mu-sick With Not-Peggios

Hello everyone.

Here’s another short lesson that may keep you busy.

One thing to consider in any of the material I’ve ben presenting is that all of the modes, scales and other materials that I’ve presenting are all just tools to get to making music.

So here’s an example where I’m “breaking” few of the rules I’ve previously posted to get the sounds I’m looking for.

The lick.

Here’s a lick I threw out over a C minor 7 vamp:

Click To Enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Here’s the audio:

(If the play button doesn’t work – just click on the title and it’ll load in a new window).

.

Some “Broad Stoke” notes.

  • Contrasts play a critical role in having a good solo.  In the case of soloing over a vamp like this, I would either start spare and build into something rhythmically active or hit the gas out of the gate and then wind down (or further up) into something.  Since I’m playing something rhythmically active in the example above,  I’d probably phrase a series of short sparse lines after this and then build it back up again.
  • Speaking of rhythm, I usually try to start long passages off the beat.  It just allows the phrases to breathe a little more and starting fast passages on the beat makes me think of ’80’s metal.  Not a bad thing – but not what I’m always going for. ; )  Also the patterns are based around 4-note patterns so I’ll typically play them as sextuplets to make the phrasing less well… ’80’s metal.
  • The Paul Gilbert-ish pattern (ascending phrases that descend on a note and then ascend again) is one I use a lot.  Part of that use here is pedagogical.  By using the same rhythmic idea, it allows people to focus more on the notes being employed.  (Part of this is hoping that if I keep putting Paul Gilbert tags in my columns that he may find this blog eventually!)
  • The best thing I could do in this context might be to play nothing – but that makes for a boring lesson. Typically in soloing I want to be pretty deep in the song after a lot has already been said before I start putting my $.02 in.  When I see people starting to solo before they even know what the melody is, I kind of know what to expect.

Some Specifics.

  • The first chord is a C minor 7, so one of my first thoughts is to superimpose a G minor idea over it, and my initial thought was G Harmonic Minor.  To extract the “not-peggio” I start with a three-note per string harmonic minor scale from Bb….
G Harmonic Minor from C

See my previous lessons if the interlocking 2-string patterns are unfamiliar to you!

and then remove the first and third note on the low E, D and B strings.

I’ve notated this below as both 1/16th notes and sextuplets.

Notpeggio Extract
  • As I mentioned in part 16, with this approach, I tend to keep the arpeggio shape in position which means moving the shape on the highest two strings down.  So instead of starting on the pitch G on the B string I start on the F#.
high E string pattern

previous 6-note pattern – revised 6-note pattern

Conceptually it’s a small shift but it changes the six-string extraction to the following:

Modified patternwhich fits under my fingers much better.  While the interlocking two-string patterns may be confusing, the resulting “not-peggio” lays out nicely between the 6th and 10th frets.

  • Chromatic alterations.  If you look at the initial lick, you’ll see I alternate between the F# and the F natural.  Again, these patterns should just be viewed as a launching off point to develop your own ideas.

The Arpeggio

At the end of the phrase I slide up to an F and then descend on a Bb arpeggio.  For visualization purposes, here’s a version that starts on the beat:

Bb Major arpeggio w. encircling

Notice that on the bottom three strings I incorporate an encircling motive where instead of landing directly on the note D on the D string, I land on an Eb, go down to C and then hit the chord tone D.  This is a great way to add some zip to arpeggios and get a little extra mileage from a well worn melodic device.

This is a short lick that may take a while to get under your fingers!  I’m only playing it around 100 bpm or so as that’s the pocket I felt, but if you’re unfamiliar with sweep picking or the encircling idea with the arpeggios even getting it clean at 90 might take a while.  Just go slowly and work on the 3 T’s (Timing, Tone and Hand Tension).

That’s it for now!  I hope this helps and I hope that this lesson gives you some inspiration in developing your own melodic devices!

-SC

p.s. – The Rest of the “Not-peggio” posts can be found below:

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 16 – Not-Peggios Positional Lesson

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes – Part 15 – Not-peggios – Harmonic Minor Version

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes – Part 14 – Not-peggios – Melodic Minor Version

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes – Part 13 – “Not-peggios”

p.s.s. – If you like this approach – the following books may be of interest to you!

guitarchitect-2 harmonic-combinatorics melodic-patterns positional-exploration

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes Part 16 – Not-Peggios Positional Lesson

Hello everyone.

This is going to be a short lesson as the concept is really simple but making it work requires a lot of shedding.

For those of you who have been following the guide to Modes might remember that back in part 3a/3b, I outlined a method for connecting 2-string modal patterns positionally using a simple rule where:

(As the scale ascends the patterns descend and vice-versa)

so that this C Ionian fingering

 

Can be broken down into three distinct two-string patterns:

.

.

Or

.

.

(You can review the earlier posts if this looks unfamiliar to you)

And the not-peggios?

Guess what?  The not-peggio shapes I’ve covered work the same way.

Previously, I took the two-string shapes and moved them in octaves – but looked at positionally…

C Major Positional Notpeggio I

Note that the first note of each 4-note goes from C to B to A.  (Or uses the C Ionian – B Locrian – A Aeolian shapes).

Since the pattern contains a c and a f (and avoid note over C Major) I decided to use this form over the relative minor (a minor) In this audio example below, I’ve played an A minor (add9) chord and then played the notes as a sextuplet (then as 1/16th notes).

What’s cool:

  • The resultant sound is somewhere between a scale and an arpeggio
  • All the notes from the parent  scale are present but divided out in different octaves
  • The concept works with any of the two-string shapes I covered (major, melodic minor and harmonic minor)
  • The pattern can be adapted to work over any diatonic chord (Try this one over D minor as well)

What’s jive:

  • The pattern features a funfy positional shift between the G and B strings which is VERY difficult to get smooth when descending.

The Workaround:

The workaround is very simple, I just change up the pattern order on the b and e strings.

In the example above I replace  C Ionian – B Locrian – A Aeolian shapes with C Ionian – B Locrian – G Mixolydian.  That results in:

C Major Notpeggio II Positional

It does make the overall pattern a little more scalar, but the only main difference is that this pattern lacks the A note.

In the audio below, I just played a sextuplet pattern and ended on the B (the 9 over A minor) the first time.

Homework:

Okay!  If you like this sound – here’s what I think you should do:

  1. Go back to part 13, part 14 and part 15 and review the Major, Melodic Minor and Harmonic Minor 2-string shapes and related chords.
  2. Record a diatonic chord from a group and practice one ascending pattern positionally over the chord.
  3. Try changing chords over static patterns (and vice versa) and start to make a record of which patterns you like over which chords.

This might sound like a lot of work, but the reality is that pretty quickly you’re going to find one or two of these that you really like and the idea is to tae those and try to incorporate them into your playing as thoroughly as you can!

I hope this helps!

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes – Part 15 Not-peggios – Harmonic Minor Version

Hey everyone,

As promised, here’s a follow-up lesson that takes the approach I explored in Part 13 and Part 14 and now applies it to the Harmonic Minor scale.

I’ll use C Harmonic Minor in this case – but this idea will work on any root.

Chords

Before we get too far into the lick side of this let’s look at the chords to see what we can play this over.

Here are the diatonic triads and 7th chords.

.
.
Try playing the initial C Harmonic Minor shape over any of these chords…
.
.
.

Harmonic Minor Notes:

  • C Harmonic Minor is spelled C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, B, C – and from the root note the step and a 1/2 between the Ab and the B is a very distinctive sound of the scale.  
  • This scale has a lot of cool arpeggios and chord scale associations, but the most commonly used scales and modes are the root scale and the mode based on the 5th of the scale (R, b2, 3, 4, 5, b6, b7).  Having said that, modes starting on the b3 and 4th add some really cool sounds as well.

Now let’s talk about visualizing the scale.

.

Harmonic Minor

I’ve talked about my approach to Harmonic Minor briefly in part 9 of this series – but as a brief review:

Major Scale/Modal Visualization Review

  • The guitar fingerboard can be divided into 3 sets of two strings. Any 2-string fingering pattern that starts on the B string can be moved to the same starting pitch on the D or the low E string and keep the same fingering.
  • The major scale can be broken down into seven two-string modes that follow a specific order based on its scale degree from the parent scale (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian). The two-string patterns are modular and can be adapted to positional playing.
  • Instead of thinking of individual modes when playing,  I tend to think of larger tonal systems (i.e. I think of C Major all over the fingerboard instead of D Dorian or A Aeolian.)
  • By thinking of the fingerboard in a larger scale – it makes it easier for me to navigate Melodic and Harmonic Minor as – solely from a fingering/sonic visualization standpoint – I just see it as variations of the Major scale patterns.

To visualize Harmonic Minor patterns – simply flat the 3rd and the 6th of the Parent Major scale. (i.e. to visualize C Melodic Minor just play C major but change every E  to Eb, and change every A to Ab).

It’s important to note that all of the fingering conventions mentioned here are solely to assist with visualization as Melodic and Harmonic Minor really aren’t directly related to the Major scale sonically.

Here’s C Major

Here’s the audio.

Note:

In all the audio examples, I’ve played the example first as sextuplets – then at a slower tempo (i.e. 16ths) – then as sextuplets again.

 

Here’s C Harmonic Minor

(the only differences are

the E has been changed to Eb and

the A has been changed to Ab)

.

.

Harmonic Minor short cuts:

To visualize Harmonic Minor Patterns – simply flat the 3rd and the 6th of the Parent Major scale.

(i.e. to visualize C Harmonic Minor just play C major but change every E  to Eb and every A  to Ab).

.

Here are the pattern adaptations.  In a situation like this, it can get confusing to remember a formula like “Dorian b2, b5″ so as an alternative you may just want to try remembering something like “Pattern 1″ for Ionian b3, b6, “Pattern 2″ for Dorian b2, b5, etc.

.

.
.
.
Here’s the same scale pattern – I left off the text “Pattern 6″ in the example be by mistake but the sequence is Ionian b3, b6 (Pattern 1 ), Locrian b4 (Pattern 7) and Ionian b5, bRoot (Pattern 6).  You can really see this if you compare it to the initial major patterns.
.
.

Not-Peggios

Now let’s take this not-peggio idea from the last lesson and apply it to C Harmonic Minor starting from G.

In each of the following I’ll show the 2-string pattern followed by the 4-note “notpeggio” extraction from that fingering and then show the multi octave form.

Note:  The extraction always starts from the second note of the 6-note pattern – so while the first example is extracted from the F Lydian fingering – it’s viewed as a G based pattern.

From G

F Based Pattern

Note: this G-based pattern is the same as the C major and the C Melodic Minor G shape. It’s functional but a little plain sounding over a G major chord.

From Ab

G Based Pattern

Note: this R-3-#4-5 extraction works great as a lydian sound from the Root (Ab Lydian in this case) or a Dorian Sound over the vi (F minor in this case)

From B

Ab Based Pattern

Note: even though the original shape is different, this R-b3-b4th-b5 extraction is the same as the Melodic Minor pattern and is something you may want to explore over diminished chords.

From C

B Based Pattern

Note: this C pattern shape is the same as the C-Based C Melodic Minor pattern.

From D


C Based Pattern

Note: this R-b3-4-b5 extraction is right out of the D-Blues scale and can be used in the same context (just remember to resolve the Ab!)

From Eb

D Based Pattern

Note: this is a new shape from the other patterns we’ve seen. The R-3-4-b5 (i.e. major b5 (add 11) sound mixed with the min3-min2-augmented 2nd construction and the added chromatic weight from the G to Ab  makes it sound a bit harmonically unsettled over an Eb root.  I think it’s one of the more interesting sounds of the scale along with the final extraction….

From F

Eb Based Pattern

Note: this is a new shape from the other patterns we’ve seen. The R-b3-#4-5 (i.e. minor add (#11)) sound is a really nice spice to incorporate in your melodic ideas!

Here’s an audio sample of the 3/4 measures in ascending order from G

Next TIme?

In the next lesson I’ll look at using these extractions positionally.  It’s a Scott Collins original idea – and not one that I’ve heard anyone else really employ in this manner!
.

Practice Tips

As always, focus on the 3 T’s (Timing, Tone and hand Tension) when playing through these and make sure to have the timing locked in as you increase the metronome speed.  This approach is just a short cut to getting the patterns under your fingers.  By practicing them slowly and increasing the performance tempo gradually, you’re also getting the sound of them in your head – which is critical if they’re something you want to integrate in your playing!
As always, I hope this helps and thanks for reading!
- SC
PS – One plug here.  If you like this idea – I go MUCH deeper into similar concepts in my Guide to Chord Scales book – which covers every unique melodic combination from 3 notes to 12-note scales!!
Print editions of this book are available  on lulu.com or on Amazon (amazon.comamazon.co.uk, or amazon.fr).
.
.

P.S. If you like this post – you may also like:

BOOKS:

 

12-Tone Lesson On Guitar-Muse, Podcast Updates And More

Hi everyone,

Just a few quick updates:

Guitar-Muse

The good people at Guitar-Muse have posted a lesson culled from one of the techniques in my Symmetrical Twelve-Tone Patterns book.

12 Tone Cover small

You can check that lesson out here.  You can check out a related lesson here.

I’ve got interviews, player profiles and more gear reviews coming down the G-M pike as well.

Guit-A-Grip

I have to thank everyone for the overwhelmingly positive response to the Guit-A-Grip site and podcast!  If you haven’t checked out the first podcast episode

  • you can find it by searching the iTunes store interface
  • You can subscribe to it through iTunes here:

(https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/guit-a-grip-podcast/id638383890 )

  • You can use this link to subscribe with any other feed based service:

(http://feeds.feedburner.com/GuitagripPodcast)

  • or you can right click here to download it.

BTW – If you dig the podcast and could take a moment to give it a rating on iTunes or a short review – I’d be much obliged.

The new Guit-A-Grip podcast will be up by Friday.

Other News

I’ve been working on something special for May – and something else that’s special for the fall.  It’s been a tough year so far – but I’m determined to accomplish some goals and make some magic from it still.  I hope you will as well.

As always, thanks for reading!

-SC

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes – Part 14 Not-peggios – Melodic Minor Version

Hey everyone,

As promised, here’s a follow-up lesson that takes the approach I explored in Part 13 and applies it to the Melodic Minor scale.

I’ll use C Melodic Minor in this case – but this idea will work on any root.

Chords

Before we get too far into the lick side of this let’s look at the chords to see what we can play this over.

Here are the diatonic triads and 7th chords.

 

Try playing any of the following C Melodic Minor shapes over any of these chords..

Some Melodic Minor Notes:

  • Melodic Minor is an old scale.  Originally it was played as melodic minor when ascending but natural minor when descending.  Not a whole lot of people perform it that way in Jazz circles but mixing and matching the two can have some interesting sounds (i.e. it’s something you should consider experimenting with if this area interests you and you haven’t already).
  • Melodic Minor is a Dominant machine.  If you check out the harmonization above you’ll see that Melodic Minor has two 7th chords in it’s harmonization.  As Jazz standards use a LOT of dominant devices – this is a scale you’ll want to investigate if you have an even remote interest in Jazz.
  • Melodic Minor is a weird sound.  Yes it is.  The I chord is a minor (maj7) chord and that whole b3 mixed with the natural 6th and 7th makes for some interesting moments.  The only metal guy I knew who was really into that sound was David Chastain and he was doing instrumental stuff that didn’t really sound like anyone else. (Hint – this is worth exploring if you’re a rock or metal guy)
  • Hip trick alert:  since the ii chord is a minor chord -try playing C Melodic Minor lines over Bb Minor as well!

.

Now let’s talk about visualizing the scale.

“You take the good you take the bad – you flat the third and there you have…”

Melodic Minor

I’ve talked about my approach to Melodic Minor briefly in part 9 of this series – but as a brief review:

Major Scale/Modal Visualization Review

  • The guitar fingerboard can be divided into 3 sets of two strings. Any 2-string fingering pattern that starts on the B string can be moved to the same starting pitch on the D or the low E string and keep the same fingering.
  • The major scale can be broken down into seven two-string modes that follow a specific order based on its scale degree from the parent scale (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian). The two-string patterns are modular and can be adapted to positional playing.
  • Instead of thinking of individual modes when playing,  I tend to think of larger tonal systems (i.e. I think of C Major all over the fingerboard instead of D Dorian or A Aeolian.)
  • By thinking of the fingerboard in a larger scale – it makes it easier for me to navigate Melodic and Harmonic Minor as – solely from a fingering/sonic visualization standpoint – I just see it as variations of the Major scale patterns.

To visualize Melodic Minor patterns – simply flat the 3rd of the Parent Major scale. (i.e. to visualize C Melodic Minor just play C major but change every E  to Eb).

It’s important to note that all of the fingering conventions mentioned here are solely to assist with visualization as Melodic and Harmonic Minor really aren’t directly related to the Major scale sonically.

Here’s C Major

Here’s the audio.

Note:

In all the audio examples, I’ve played the example first as sextuplets – then at a slower tempo (i.e. 16ths) – then as sextuplets again.

Here’s C Melodic Minor

(the only difference is that the E has been changed to Eb)

.

.

Melodic Minor short cuts:

Using the Parent Major patterns above here’s a list of short cut’s to help you visualize the patterns.

.

Note: in the F Lydian shape – there’s no change from the major shape since there’s no Eb in the 2-string pattern.

.

.

.

Not-Peggios

Now let’s take this not-peggio idea from the last lesson and apply it to C melodic minor starting from G.

In each of the following I’ll show the 2-string pattern followed by the 4-note “notpeggio” extraction from that fingering and then show the multi octave form.

Note:  The extraction always starts from the second note of the 6-note pattern – so while the first example is extracted from the F Lydian fingering – it’s viewed as a G based pattern.

From G

G based pattern

Note: this G pattern is the same as the C major G shape.

From A

A based pattern

Note: this is a new shape from the Major patterns. The R-b3-4th-b5 shape may remind you of the A blues scale.

From B

B based pattern

Note: this is also a new shape from the Major patterns. The R-b3-b4th-b5 shape is something you may want to explore over diminished chords.

From C

C based pattern

Note: this C pattern shape is the same as the A minor form from C major.

From D

D based pattern

Note: this D pattern shape is also the same as the A minor form from C major.  This shape and the C minor shape above on their own really won’t give you much of the Melodic Minor flavor on their own – but alternating between the two of them will.  More on that in a future lesson.

From Eb

Eb based pattern

Note: this is a new shape from the Major patterns. The Eb Maj7 (#5) based pattern has been deconstructed into almost a whole-tone idea.  This is one of my favorite “outside” sounds in this scale.

From F

F based pattern

Finally,  this F pattern shape is the same as the F Lydian form from C major.

Here’s an audio sample of the 3/4 measures in ascending order from G

Next TIme?

In the next lesson I’ll look at applying this to Harmonic Minor and then I’ll look at working through these ideas positionally (Spoiler Alert – this is where this approach gets really cool!!).
As always, focus on the 3 T’s (Timing, Tone and hand Tension) when playing through these and make sure to have the timing locked in as you increase the metronome speed.  This approach is just a short cut to getting the patterns under your fingers.  By practicing them slowly and increasing the performance tempo gradually, you’re also getting the sound of them in your head – which is critical if they’re something you want to integrate in your playing!
As always, I hope this helps and thanks for reading!
- SC
PS – One plug here.  If you like this idea – I go MUCH deeper into similar concepts in my Guide to Chord Scales book – which covers every unique melodic combination from 3 notes to 12-note scales!!
Print editions of this book are available  on lulu.com or on Amazon (amazon.comamazon.co.uk, or amazon.fr).
.

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes – Part 13 Not-peggios

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything mode related. So I thought I’d make up for some lost time by posting this lesson.

Not-peggios?

Those of you who have been following the licks in this blog for a while have probably figured out that one of my favorite melodic approaches is to work in the area between scales and arpeggios.

For those of you who remember all the way back to part 11 of this series – this idea works on the same approach but with triads.

Step 1: Extracting the Not-peggio

This idea uses the same 3-note-per-string / two string idea that’s behind all the visualization process here.  But to review:  Let’s start with a B Locrian scale pattern on the E and A strings:



C Ionian
From there:  I’m going to remove the 1st and 3rd notes of the pattern:



Not Peggio Extraction

Leaving a C major major triad with an added 4th which is something that intervallically lies somewhere between an arpeggio and a scale.  Technically it’s a close voiced arpeggio but the “not-peggio” tag has worked better for me when I explain to people so I’ll use it here as well.

Call it scrapple, grapple or anything else that will help you remember it - the naming convention is much less important than getting it under your fingers and in your ears so you can play it.

The good news is that applying this approach to a Major scale only produces four unique qualities of these melodic devices which I’ll talk about below.

One brief technical note:  I recommend either one of following picking patterns for any of the 4-note shapes presented here:

Picking Examples

If you’re used to alternate picking, that will work as well but I find that the semi-swept approach of the first example gives me a more uniform sound for legato playing.  It’s counter-intuitive but check the A minor straight ascending mp3 below to see what I mean.

Major add 4

Major Add 4 shapes

This shape doesn’t really work that well over major chords because the 4th (aka 11) is an avoid tone over a major chord.

However they do work well over minor chords. Try playing the C Ionian shape over an A Minor but for the most part, I find the major add # 4 shape to be one I use much more often.

Major add #4

Major add # 4 shapes

.

I’ve talked about this before – but a kind of cool applied theory trick is that Lydian and Dorian are relative major/minor substitutions.  By that I mean that while C major is the relative major key of A natural minor related chords scales C Lydian and A Dorian both come from the same parent major scale (in this case G Major).  So licks generated from this source will do double duty over both major and minor chords.  A two-fer if you will (or won’t – I understand either way).

Let’s apply this idea to G Dorian.

Here’s the 4-note shape taken from F# Phrygian:

G add # 4 extraction

And here it is an a 3 octave form:

G add # 4 3 octave pattern

.

Here’s a more sequences lick type of approach:

G Lydian 3 Octave run

Here’s the audio – with a short descend of the patten ending on the G on the 8th fret of b string.

You can try this approach over E minor for an E Dorian type sound as well.

 Minor add 4

Minor add 4 shapes

Okay a couple of quick tips here.  Since you don’t get the natural 6 of Dorian or the b2 of Phrygian in these shapes – they’re not really going to give you much of the flavor of those modes.

In this case, I’ll use the A Aeolian shape over A minor and F Major chords.

A Minor:


A Aeolian part 1

In this audio example I play the 3 octave form and then play the multi-octvave sequenced idea.

A Aeolian over F lick

Used over F Major:

Now I’ll take the same sequenced idea and apply it over an F major lick.  Here’s an audio example.  I slid up to the G on the 15th fret of the high E string and then descended with some tremolo bar scoops along the way.

Normally, applying an A Aeolian idea over F major would give it a Lydian sound – but the lack of the B (#4) in the pattern makes it a little more open sounding to me.

Finally – here’s the Diminished form.

Diminished add 4

Diminished add 4 shapes

Looking at the notes here (B, D, F, E) – I see the upper notes of a G7 (add 13) chord: G [Root] – B [3rd] – D [5th] – F [b7] – E [13].  So this pattern is one I use in Dominant 7th situations.

Here’s the basic pattern:

B Locrian Multi Octave

And here’s the application over a G7 chord.  It uses the same pattern sequencing idea as the other examples ascending but bends into a couple of notes including the 3rd on the B string for the final note.

Next time?  Some Melodic and Harmonic Minor shapes to get under your fingers.

As always, I hope this helps!

-SC

PS – if you like the ideas in this approach – the following books will help you expand on this idea exponentially!

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Chord Scales

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes: Melodic Patterns

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Modes: Harmonic Combinatorics

A Transparent Guitar And A Translucent Lesson

Hello everyone!

I hope this finds you well!  I have a couple of quick updates and a new lesson here for you today.

Guitar-Muse update:

Just in case you didn’t see it, I just wanted to let you know that a new review / tutorial on what to look for when buying a new guitar is up on Guitar-Muse right now.  Interested parties can check that out here.

Book Update:

All of the GuitArchitect’s Guide To… covers are done and up online.  You can see the revised editions here.  The Pentatonic book is getting a graphic overhaul and cleaned up for the print edition.  But I should have a new cover (and a revised edition) up by April.

Update Update:

I’ll have a couple of big announcements to make in the weeks ahead, but I think that it’s going to be good news for the readers of this blog and perhaps offer something truly useful.  So stay tuned – I might have an announcement (and something new to offer) as early as next week.

And an overdue lesson:

It’s been a spell since I’ve posted a lesson here (most of the lesson material for 2013 has been transcription work and lessons for Guitar-Muse), so I thought I’d rectify that with the following little morsel.  One thing I hope to do more in the future is offer bite sized lessons rather than the 3-6,000 word uber-lessons I’ve put up in the past.  Hopefully by making the lessons shorter, I can get them posted in a more routine fashion.

“You say you want a substitution…”

Okay – maybe none of you were saying that but I’ve got a string skipping idea that I think you might dig and want to explain where it’s coming from.

In this lesson, we’ll start with an F Pentatonic Minor (F, Ab, Bb, C, Eb)…and then add some notes to make something cool.

Visualizing the scale:

The first step in this lick is to visualize F Pentatonic minor in the 8th position.  The first group of notes in the example below is a F Pentatonic Minor scale.  In the second figure, I’ve removed the Bb  and moved the Ab to the G string to make it a 3-note-per string idea with a similar fingering.

 F Pent Minor - F Pent Minor 2 string

I find that removing notes from a straight scale-based pattern helps open up the sound of the scale as well when playing it in a linear fashion.

Preliminary Lick: F Pentatonic Minor on two strings

F Pentatonic Minor 2 strings

And here’s an mp3
.

Where there’s two there can usually be three:

Now I’ll take this same string skipping idea and expand on it moving it to a pattern on the E, G and A string.
F Pent Minor to F Minor 3 String

.

Preliminary Lick #2: F Pentatonic Minor on three strings

F Pent minor 3 strings

And here’s a MP3:

.

Adding by Subtracting

Using a trick I pulled from Eric Johnson (and a number of other players) I modified the scale by adding the 6 (the note D in this case) and the 9 (G) to the Pentatonic Minor scale to give it a slightly different sound.

Rather than think of extra notes – I simply modify some of the notes of the scale by a 1/2 step:

Changing the b3 to the 9 means changing an Ab to G

Changing the b7 to the 6 means changing an Eb to D

I don’t do this with every note, just a few of them.  If you look at the before and after below, you’ll see that the modified scale has the same number of notes but with an added bonus – namely a symmetrical fingering.

F Pent Minor to add 6 and 9

The advantage of a symmetrical fingering is that it makes it easier to manipulate when we use it in a pattern.

The Lick

Now with all of this back story it becomes much easier to see how I came up with the pattern below (based on an improvised idea):

F Dorian string ship seq

Here’s an MP3:

And here’s another MP3 in a more improvised vein.  By adding the natural 6 and the 2 (9) to the scale – what we really have here is a string skipping dorian lick.

Taking the idea a little further

In this case, I don’t mean stuffing more notes into a passage – I mean getting comfortable with the sound of added notes.

The MP3 below uses an approach from an early chapter of my Symmetrical Twelve-Tone Patterns book.  In that text, I talk a lot about understanding what it means to play “in” before you play out and being able to resolve “out” ideas or (in this case) resolve notes outside the scale.  But I also talk about working through ideas and finding resolutions.

When working with pentatonics add ons like the ones above, I’ll often work on accenting a note so I can really start to hear how it sounds in context.  The following short improvisation starts on the 6 and stresses that note for to accent the Dorian sound.

When working with ideas like this strive to get past the notes and to, instead, get into the sound.  It’s not just about playing a lot of notes, it’s about knowing which notes affect you before you play them.

Finally for those of you who are interested in the tech side of things – if you like the tone – it’s the same – AU Lab, Apogee Duet, FnH Guitars and Scuffham Amps combo that I typically use….

Scuffham Amp RigWith a little added reverb and a front end boost courtesy of the TS-999.

TS999

I hope this helps and, as always, thanks for reading!

-SC

The GuitArchitect’s Guide To Symmetrical Twelve-Tone Patterns Is Out Now

Hello all,

After a marathon couple of days editing the material – my 12-tone book is finally out the door!

The book and the e-book pdf are available on Lulu.com right now (and is also available on Amazon).

Symmetrical_12_Tone_Cover_Low Res

.

Bundle In The Jungle

Symmetrical Twelve Tone Patterns is a 284 page book with a large reference component  and about 100 pages of extensive notated examples and instruction.

What makes this book different (apart from the cover) and what I’m most excited about offering is a bundle of files that will help readers maximize material in the book.  The bundle contains:

  • Guitar Pro files of all the examples in the book (in GP6 and GP5 format). For those of you unfamiliar with this musical notation, tablature platform and playback program, having Guitar Pro files means that you can hear the examples without having a  guitar handy.  Having the files in a Guitar Pro format means that you can isolate each phrase and use it as a phrase trainer to help get the examples to up to speed.

  • MIDI files of the musical examples.
  • PDFs of the musical examples.
  • MP3s of all the musical examples (again, exported from the same material).

Here are some screen shots that I should have uploaded when this was posted originally!

.

TOC_1

Click on page to see larger image.

.

Click on page to see larger image.

Click on page to see larger image.

.

TOC_3

Click on page to see larger image.

.

Page 44

Click on page to see larger image.

.

Page 204

Click on page to see larger image.

.

Page 270

Click on page to see larger image.

.

“They play country And western”

Symmetrical Twelve-Tone Patterns presents the material in both improvisational and compositional contexts.  It shows how to create various intervallic lines and creates the outline of a tune and dissects how all the parts were created using this method.  If you’re looking for ways to explore new avenues in playing or in your writing this is the book for you!

The softbound copy GuitArchitect’s Guide To Symmetrical Twelve-Tone Patterns is for $35 and the e-book pdf is $15.  Both are available from The GuitArchitecture Product page on Lulu  or here on Amazon.com).

I’ll have a lesson from this material up in the weeks ahead, but in the meantime you may want to check out this post to get a flavor of the approach (and some interesting licks)!

Lots more ahead about this.  Thanks for reading!

-Scott