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!


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:






(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.


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.


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.


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.


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 or on Amazon (, or

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



Glass Noodles – adapting a Philip Glass arpeggio approach to guitar

I tend to get a lot of playing ideas from sources other than guitar.  A primary source of influence is film and one of my all time favorites is Mishima. To me, Philip Glass’ score works brilliantly with the subject matter and helps create a powerful experience.

Here’s a lesson post on some cool approaches I borrowed (read: stole) from Glass that might provide you with some inspiration.

I’ll post the exercise first and then add some color commentary.

A link to an mp3 is here:  Glass Noodles122bpm

First thing’s first – the  triadic* chord progression (see note at the bottom) is  G Major, G# diminished, A Major, A# diminished, B Minor, G Major, B minor, B Diminshed, B Minor, G Major, B minor, B Diminshed. (Note: The second bar repeats – I just forgot to put the repeats in).

I’ll start with a technical issue and then go into the theoretical things to grab.


If you want it hypnotic –   you’ll have to lose the pick.


Part of the sound of this is the hypnotic repetition and a large part of that sound come from a uniform attack.  You can sweep pick all of these arpeggios as well – but for a more legato sound it’s best to approach all of these with fret hand tapping (i.e. all hammer ons and no picking).  From a technical standpoint the real challenges here are 1. keeping the attacks uniform (i.e. all of the note volumes are even) and 2. playing it in the pocket rhythmically.


Getting the maximum effect of something like this requires  sequencer like articulation and timing – and that alone makes this something worth studying.


As a starting point you’ll probably want to mute the stings to prevent open notes from ringing out (I just use my picking hand – some people use a hair tie or a piece of cloth.)

For uniform attacks – you’ll have to have very clean hammer-on technique with the fingertips hitting the strings instead of the pads of the fingers.   If there’s any slop there – it will come out in the arpeggios.  One other thing to note is that the notes should be lifted off and not pulled off.  If the only sound created is by the individual fingers hitting the strings – you will have a more uniform sound (which is totally the goal here).


Here’s a good way to visualize the fret hand finger motion you’re looking for.


Put the palms of your hands on a table.  Now without lifting the palms up, tap your fingertips one at a time on the table starting from the pinky and ending on the index.  You’ll notice that the fingers stay curved and that the large knuckle of each finger is responsible for the tapping.  This motion is what you’re looking for in this process.  You should also notice that you don’t need to hit the fingertips very hard against the table to get a crisp attack.


You should strive to get volume with the minimum amount of finger pressure.

The more relaxed you can keep your hand, the easier this will be.


You can add some compression to make help make the attacks more uniform as well.  I typically don’t use a lot of compression as I like to play very dynamically and find myself adjusting volume and tone a lot when I play – but a compressor plug in will make all of this easier to play.

This approach gets counter-intuitive at the G major arpeggio (the second arpeggio of bar 2).  For a technical stand point this is the trickiest part of the passage. (Note:  The numbers under the notes indicate fret hand fingerings.)


I am used to playing the G major arpeggio as a 5 string form – which usually uses the 3rd finger as a barre on the 12th fret, but barring the B and G on the 12 fret completely breaks up the sound and makes it impossible to get the tapped sound of the other notes.  To get around this – I use the index finger to fret the G  so each note gets a unique attack.


This is one of those deceptive exercises.  Playing it at 60% will not take very long – but the difference between 60% and 100% is HUGE.


Playing everything  with correct timing and really articulating every note will take a while.  Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen right way.


The key here is to plan on spending a lot of time playing the arpeggios really slowly to make sure that the timing and volumes are 100% from the beginning.  You can read some of my posts on practicing to get a sense of the best way to start working on something like this.

Now some theory observations:


If you sharp the root of a major arpeggio – you get a diminished arpeggio.

This doesn’t sound like much – but look at the first 3 arpeggios.  By making the G a G#, you get a nice chromatic motion on the B string leading into the A Major Arpeggio.  You can also notice that the A# in the diminished arpeggio after the A major arpeggio leads right into the B Minor arpeggio.  This is a great way to sequence between 2 Major Arpeggios a step apart (Like G major and A major).


If you sharp the 5th of a minor arpeggio – you get the root of a major arpeggio.


Again a small thing – but by using this you get  a nice voice leading between the B minor/G major arpeggios in bar 2.  Also notice the chromatic motion on both the G and the high E string.   This continues the chromatic movement that occurred on the B string between the first 3 arpeggios.


If you flat the 5th of a minor arpeggio – you get the 5th of a Diminished arpeggio.


Check out the last arpeggio in bar 2!  By continuing the downward chromatic motion through the  G Major – B Minor – B Diminished – a sense of urgency is created and then the last point –


There’s mystery in keeping it unresolved.


In the Mishima soundtrack (you HAVE put the movie in your Netflix Queue yes?) there are a number of moments where at the end of the arpeggio flurries – it ends on an unresolved chord.   Here I’ve repeated the last arpeggio fully and then ended on the lower F on the last repeat.  If I was making a song out of these ideas – I would continue with the type of figures and ideas that have already been presented here and possibly resolving them.  But here in this context – ending on the F – just leaves a giant question mark and makes it interesting.  If you don’t believe me – watch the film!


*Note: If you move away from triads – there’s another analysis here:


The notes of G# diminished are can also be seen as the 3rd, 5th, and b7 of an E7 arpeggio.

Therefore: If you sharp the root of a major arpeggio – you also get the 3rd of a dominant 7th arpeggio (with no root).


This would make the chord progression   G Major, E7, A Major, F#7, B Minor, G Major, B minor, B Diminshed, B Minor, G Major, B minor, B Diminshed.

The bass motion would be what determines the actual chord progression.  I believe the bass motion followed the chromatic motion but the E7->A and F#7-Bm are pretty standard analysis for a chord progression like this.

More posts soon.  Please feel free to post any questions or comments you might have or e-mail me at