An Update And A Lesson On Technical Recycling

“It’s been a long…long…time”

I just realized that it’s been a while since I posted anything here.  Life has a habit of getting in the way of well laid plans.  So here’s a bullet point list to create a quick update.

  • Korisoron – We are currently working on a new KoriSoron recording and our most intensive material will be on this one!  Initial tracking is in progress and we expect to have the recording out in September.  I’m also writing new material for the project and-  Booking new gigs for the fall.
  • TEDx – Korisoron has been asked to perform at TEDx Schenectady this fall and I’ll be delivering a related talk.
  • Old Project  – I don’t want to jinx anything but I should be getting together with some former band mates of mine and putting some finishing touches on a project that was very near and dear to my heart (and that I’ve mentioned in prior posts).   Fingers crossed – that will be another EP out this fall.
  • “Eel-Ech!-trick-a-coup-stick” – is the tentative title of a solo acoustic recording I’ve been working on.  I had previously recorded some tracks but wasn’t happy with them so I’ve been cleaning some things up and moving forward with getting that out the door by the end of the year.
  • The new pedagogy approach I mentioned a while back – I’ve been working on this but, quite honestly, I seriously underestimated the amount of prep I’d need to do to make this work so I’m just rolling up my sleeves and trying to pull ahead.  I took some notes back from the presentation I did at the HVCC Guitar Festival and have been pulling the material together – but I’ve learned more in the last 6 months about how to deliver everything (and what to deliver) than I learned in all my previous years.  I’m super excited about what this is becoming.
  • The other things – I have a few other musical things in the works that are too tentative to discuss, but, well, let’s just say that it’s a lot of electric guitar in various fashions that will be disruptive.  Other things also include a lot of revision plans for this site as well.

A lesson while you’re waiting

One of the things that hold up posts are the fact that I don’t write them in an organized way.  I write them in real time based on a theme in my head because it makes the writing more immediate and (hopefully) engaging for the reader.  Good for the reader – bad for productivity.  A post with any kind of lesson content typically takes 3-5 hours but some of the mode ones took 10-12 hours in editing, layout etc. so that’s why the posts get a bit sporadic for actual lesson material.

The value of recycling

One trap I still find myself falling into is the trap of “short attention span theater” or playing an idea, discarding it like a child’s toy and then picking up another idea and doing the same.  Maybe it’s a little cultural ADHD kicking it – but it’s very easy to loose site of taking a theme and really developing it into something.  (A great example of this for me is Bill Frissell’s Nashville where you can really hear each of the players take care in developing musical solos based on the melody).

From a technical standpoint, this approach can also be really useful.  It can take a long time to really master technical aspects of performance (particularly at the early stages).  Finding new ways to utilize the approaches you’ve been practicing will dramatically reduce the time it takes to learn new things.  For example, alternate picking takes a long time to develop at the early stages of playing, but once you have it down it makes everything  you have to lean to play with alternate picking easier to perform.

Optimize

Let’s take an A minor pentatonic lick.

Pentatonic Lick 1

Let’s say that you’re using hammer ons and pull offs to create a more legato feel.

For me, the most legato part of this passage is the last three notes.  I’ll move the E on the B string to the 9th fret of the G string to put 3 notes to that string and make the pattern more fluid.

(Note the change in fingering)

Pentatonic Lick 1a

This is more of how I approach pentatonic fingerings so I adapted the first fingering for one that works better for me.  Here’s the first part of the lesson – assuming that you have a base level of technique acquired – find fingerings that make sense for you!

If this fingering isn’t one that’s common for you and you want to practice the approach.  Here’s how I would do it.

 1.  Isolate. There are two technical hurdles in this lick. Combining the 1 note per string and 3-note per string notes with picking

 Lick 1CAnd this:

Lick 1D

And the transition between the two:
Lick 1E
2.  Practice

The first step is to just get the initial fingering and picking down.

  • Set a metronome for 5-10 minutes.
  • Slow it down! Playing fast before you’re ready just adds tension and makes the lick sloppier and harder to play.  The goal is to take something you can play perfectly and effortlessly and then systematically develop it so you can play it perfectly and effortlessly faster.

Lick 1 Slow

  • Pay attention to the 3 T’s (Timing, Tone and hand Tension).  If you find your attention wandering this will get it back.  Are there any biffed notes? (Watch that pinky!)  Is any part of the hammer-on/pull-off uneven? (Bonus credit – make a video recording and listen back.  Pay attention to what both hands are doing.  Be critical but not judgemental.  Imagine you are watching a friend play this.  What constructive criticism could you add to help him or her play it better?)
  • Write down what you just did.
  • Adapt this to the second lick and the transitional lick if need be.  Get it to the point that the entire lick can be played without mistakes.
  • Repeat as long as time allows.  Do daily (and if possible, multiple sessions daily).
  • Typically with something like this, I’ll also practice it as sextuplets and a few other rhythmic variations to have those at my disposal if need be.

3.  Extrapolate.

This is something I improvised over a C minor-ish feel that uses the same technical approach that I used on the previous lick with a C Blues scale.

Cmin Lick

Click on image to see a larger version

From a technical standpoint – this is the same basic idea as the first 6 notes from the previous A minor example.

C min lick 1
(Ah – the fingering is missing here – I’m using 2-1-2-3 for each of these)

Sequenced here from the b7:
C Min Lick 2
And from the 5th here:
C Minor Lick 3

In fact the only new thing is the string skipping at the end:

(I got lazy here – I’m using the tritone F#/Gb interchangeably).

Cm String Skip
If the string skipping is unfamiliar to you you can just use the same approach to get it down outlined above.

(Yet another) Shawn Lane Observation

I was watching some footage of Shawn Lane that someone posted the other day and this technical recycling was VERY apparent to me in the footage.  From a technical standpoint, it appears to me that he took six or seven technical approaches beyond the realm that anyone else was willing to develop them to (fretting hand taps as opposed to hammer-ons, rhythmic groupings variations (5,6,7,9, etc), wide interval string skipping, Hindustani / Carnatic slide playing and blues phrasing) and adapted those to all of the different music he was engaged in.

In Karate, it always comes back to the Kata.  In boxing – the basics, the jab, the hook, cross, the uppercut.  You can practice fundamentals your whole life and STILL find things to improve.  New techniques take a long time to get down.  Invest the time wisely to get the one’s you need REALLY down to help realize what you want to express and then explore your sonic world with the tools you’ve developed.  (and if you’re not sure which techniques those are – a good teacher can help!  You can email me at guitar (dot) blueprint at gmail if you’re interested in setting up skype lessons to help realize your goals.)

As always, I hope this helps!

Thanks for reading,

SC

 

 

New Lesson PT II – Improv(e) and Applied Theory

Case Study

In Part I of this lesson,  I laid some ground work for the idea that improvisation can be utilized as a tool for practicing and composition.  You might want to read that post here.

In this lesson I’ll use a real world example to demonstrate how improvisation and applied theory led me to develop a lick.

Ganamurti Melankarta

I’ve written before about how theory can not only help you understand what you’re playing but can also expose you to new sounds you never considered before.

I was fortunate enough to have some studies with Aashish Khan at CalArts in Hindustani (Northern Indian) Music – the Carnatic (South Indian) has been of interest to me as well.  In South   I have a photocopy of L Shankar’s 1974 AWESOME Wesleyan dissertation, The Art of Violin Accompaniment in South Indian Classical Music (typically available through interlibrary loan – Reminder – SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY) but as that text is not accessible to some people I’d recommend fellow Berklee alumni Charlie Mariano’s An Introduction to South Indian Music as a really good source for making South Indian melodic material accessible to people who wish to adapt the music.

One Melakarta (this is an oversimplified definition but for discussion purposes here – a 7-note scale) I got exposed to was called Ganamurti

(scale formula: Root, b2, bb3, 4, 5, b6, 7)

or with A as a root:

A Bb Cb D E F G# A  (aka A Bb B D E F G# A).

I feel the best way to internalize new scale ideas is to write a new tune with them.  Here’s an excerpt of a new tune based on this idea I’m playing with KoriSoron.  You’ll be able to find it on our next EP.

What’s notated below is what I wrote for Farzad’s part on the A section of the tune.  I’m playing a counterpoint line and doubling some parts of the tune.

Ganamurti A section

So this gives you a basic idea of the melody and vibe of the tune.

Han(d) Solo

There are a few other sections of the piece and then some sections to solo over.  One of those sections has a repeating pattern like this.

Ganamurti Ost

Now this is the basic form.  There’s a lot of melodic variation and fills thrown in on the last beat so it’s not played robotically but you get the general gist of one of the ostinatos being soloed over.

So what I’m going to do now is walk you through the process of how I approach improvising over something like this and how I generated a new lick to add to my vocabulary.

To review the process from Part I of this lesson:

  • Improvise. (Create)
  • Record everything.
  • Listen back and find the new things that you improvised that you like. (Assess)
  • Learn (and when possible improve upon) the best ideas you came up with when improvising.

Here’s the ostinato.

Ganamurti Ost

Thought Process #1. 

I start negotiating the scale looking for melodic fragments to utilize.

I see D F G#

D F G#

aka D, F, Ab

D F Ab
which I recognize as a Diminished triad.

The scale also has a Cb (B) (This is going to be referred to as B from here on out for simplicity.)

D F Ab Cbb

Which makes it a Diminished 7th.

Thought Process #2:

This means I can play dimishished arpeggios over the ostinato.

As diminished arpeggios are made up of all minor 3rd intervals, the notes repeat over the same string groups every three frets.  This is useful information because whatever I come up with melodically here:

D F Ab Cbb

Can be played at the 8th fret:

8th fret 4 note

And the 11th fret:

11th Fret 4 note revised

And so on to create a melodic sequence.

What’s your Position on That?

Before I look at developing a multi-positional lick I’m going to look at it in position.  Since the intervals are made up of all minor thirds – this arpeggio:

D F Ab Cbb

will have a D on the G string as well:

D Dim 7 to octave

Thought Process #3.

THIS is useful information because if I have an arpeggio that’s contained on three strings (in this case using 2 notes-per-string, 1 note per string and 2 notes-per-string which I think of as a 2-1-2 form) then I can take whatever I’m using as picking and fingering for that shape and (with slight modifications to the fingering) apply the same basic idea (more or less) positionally.

So this:

D Dim 7 to octave

Becomes this:

Positional Ab

And this:

Positional D

**Note on playing with patterns:  I find pattern playing to be extremely useful when improvising because it makes modifying those patterns (i.e. making music from them) in real time feasible.   Having said that playing this as quintuplets (i.e. 5 notes to the beat)

Diminished 7th quint

will give you a very robotic feel.  (This IS a really good way to practice getting quintuplets under your fingers but that’s another discussion).  With arpeggios like this I typically play them as 1/16th notes to alter up the feel a bit.

With all this in mind – here is the lick I improvised initially:

four four sixteenth first

It basically involved:

  • Seeing a diminished shape
  • Seeing it on three strings
  • Manipulating it in position

While I’ve detailed a lot of the thoughts out BEHIND the scenes here,  Once I saw the initial shape I arrived at this intuitively.

Then I just moved it up 3 frets:

four four positional sixteenth two

And three frets more:

11th Fret four four revised

Once I saw the whole thing – I tied it together into this monstrosity:

Ganamurti Diminished lick full

News Flash!

We play this tune around 100-110 BPM on acoustic guitars.  What looks like a pristine metronomic moment of perfection in the example above was a train wreck when I first tried to pull it off.

In order to have it under my fingers (and at my disposal) when we play live I’m going to have to practice it and in Part III of this series, I’m going to show how I’ve been practicing this to get it up to tempo.  If you’ve ever felt like practice lessons are not fruitful for you or wondered if you’re doing it the right way – Next week’s lesson will be an awesome one for you!

A call to action:

As always – thanks for reading.  I hope that this helps!

I’d like to continue to keep the lesson content I put up here for free but, in addition to the amount of time it takes to generate lesson content this in depth, there are also expenses associated with putting any content online.

If you like this lesson, or the other material on the site, there are a number of ways you can contribute (and enrich your own quality of life) and help keep the information here free.

  • You can schedule a private lesson.  You can email me at guitar (dot) blueprint at gmail for information on skype or in-person lessons.

Any and all support is appreciated.  As always, thanks for reading!

-SC

 

Pentatonic Short Lick Part III

Hello everyone!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out part one or part two of this series I’ve been revamping some of the material from my last clinic for some upcoming events and I thought I’d take a couple of posts and put up one lick/approach in each one.

Prepping The Lick

In this lesson I’m going to combine a few penatatonic shapes to make a shape that can be played with sweep picking for a more legato sound.

 

Sticking with E Minor Pentatonic from the previous licks, in the example below I’ve taken a two-note per string fingering starting from D in the first measure.  In the second measure, I’ve started the sequence from the root, E, and changed the fingerings of the notes so that it alternates from 1 note-per-string to 3 notes-per-string.

Positional Explanation

This allows me to use all down-strokes and hammer-ons when ascending the scale which helps create a more fluid sound.

Lick #3

This lick is simply an ascending and descending run to demonstrate the fingering and sweep picking approach.  As a lick, it’s something I would use typically either ascending or descending to get into another register of the guitar when improvising.

While I practice ideas like this in 16th notes to get them under my fingers, I find the phrasing to be a little mechanical.  So, after I get the fingering down, I’ll typically move it to other rhythmic groupings.  Moving it to sextuplets in this case, puts the accents in more interesting places (and makes it a 4/4 phrase rather than a 3/4 phrase):

Pentatonic Lick #3

Here’s a mp3 at different tempos.  As with lick #2, the first pass is phrased at 16th notes and the second at sextuplets.

Tips:

Remember to keep your hands relaxed and focus on the 3 T’s (Timing, Tone and (hand) Tension).

Try experimenting with this idea starting from other notes in the scale and/or modulating the ideas to other tonal centers!

If you like this idea, you may want to check out my not-peggio lesson posts as they use a similar alternating 1-note-per-string-3-note-per-string idea.

That’s it for now!

As always!  Thanks for reading!

-SC

.

ps – for those of you who are interested, this was tracked entirely on my iPhone using JamUpPro and a Line 6 Sonic Port.

Pentatonic %22rig%22

p.s.s. – If you like this idea you may dig my Pentatonic Visualization Book!

theminorpentatonicscale-front
Click Cover For Book Link

Pentatonic Short Lick Part II

Hello everyone!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out part one of this series, I’ve been revamping some of the material from my last clinic for some upcoming events and  I thought I’d take a couple of posts and put up one lick/approach in each one.

Recycling

One thing that will become apparent if you read this blog with any regularity, is that I recycle licks a lot.  That’s generally because if I’m going to spend the time to really learn a lick, I want to make sure I can get the most mileage from it I can.  In this lesson I’m going to use a pentatonic shape to create a modal sound.

Sticking with E Minor Pentatonic, here’s a 2-string fingering based on an idea in the last lesson.

E Minor Pent 4-note

Taking that same E Minor Pentatonic shape and moving it to F# creates a pentatonic sequence based on E Minor Pentatonic and F# Minor Pentatonic :

E Minor Pent F# Minor Pent

The notes from both patterns produce E, F#, G, A, B, C# (aka E Dorian with no 7th).  This works really well over and E minor chord for a E Dorian type sound or G Major for a G Lydian type sound.

With 8 you get octaves and rhythmic displacement

I’m not counting on many people getting the play on “With 6 you get eggroll” name drop (a feature with Doris Day and George Carlin!!), but I’ll take this idea and move it in octaves:

Lick 2 - Moved in octaves

Click to enlarge:

Depending on what chord I’m playing this over I’ll end on different notes.  For example, when played over E minor, I’ll stop on the B on the 19th fret.

While I practice ideas like this in 16th notes to get them under my fingers, I find the phrasing to be a little mechanical.  So, after I get the fingering down, I’ll typically move it to other rhythmic groupings.  Moving it to sextuplets in this case, puts the accents in more interesting places (and makes it a 4/4 phrase rather than a 3/4 phrase):

Lick 2 Full

Here’s an mp3 at different tempos.  The first pass is phrased at 16th notes and the second at sextuplets.

Tips:

Remember to keep your hands relaxed and focus on the 3 T’s (Timing, Tone and (hand) Tension).

Try playing moving this shape to other areas (This E min shape + D min = E, F, G, A, B which produces a Phrygian-ish type sound).

If you like this idea, you may want to check out my not-peggio lesson posts as they use a similar alternating 1-note-per-string-3-note-per-string idea.

That’s it for now!  (Trust me getting that in the pocket may take some time!)  Lick #3 will be up next week.

As always!  Thanks for reading!

-SC

.

ps – for those of you who are interested, this was tracked entirely on my iPhone using JamUpPro and a Line 6 Sonic Port.

Pentatonic %22rig%22

p.s.s. – If you like this idea you may dig my Pentatonic Visualization Book!

theminorpentatonicscale-front

Click Cover For Book Link

Listening To Advice Given And A Short Pentatonic Lick Series

Hello everyone!

I’ve been revamping some of the material from my last clinic for some upcoming events and considering some of the really insightful comments I got there and emails sent here in an effort to make improvements on that material (and things presented here) .

I’ve been told recently with regards to the lesson material here that much of it is very rich in content and a lot to digest.  When I posted lesson material here in the past, my idea was always that people would simply take what they got from it and come back as they needed to.  But one thing the clinic reminded me of is that sometimes people just want a bit of something and not the whole shebang.

With that in mind, I thought I’d take a couple of posts and put up one lick/approach in each one.  A sonic amuse-bouche if you will (and if we’re going to take this questionable post holiday meal / sound analogy any further).

Life in the Shawn Lane

One idea I copped a while ago from Shawn Lane was modifying pentatonic patterns to create things that work for you.

For example, let’s say I was going to play a pentatonic sequence in E Minor Pentatonic:

Here’s the initial idea using a 2-string shape starting from A and one from B:

Pentatonic Sequence 1

Maybe I’ll take this idea and move it in octaves:

Pentatonic Sequence 2

Even playing this legato, there are some technical challenges as you get into faster tempos and the fingering creates an 1/8 note accent that makes the phrase less legato than I like.

By moving the second note of each pattern to the next string:

Pentatonic Sequence 3

I create a fingering pattern with some plusses and a minus.

On the plus side:

  • Each pattern now uses the same fret hand fingers (2-1-2-4)
  • Picking is simply downstrokes (although you could use hammer ons for every note)
  • The patterns only accents the first note. (Special playing tip – if you play this as sextuplets, it gives the lick an even more legato feel!)

On the minus side:

  • The patterns use some WIDE intervals.  (Player’s tip – you may want to modulate this to other keys where the frets are closer together or use right hand taps for the top note if the stretch is too wide for you – if you experience any fret hand pain when playing this – stop immediately!  Playing through pain can cause long term damage to you hands!!!)

For me, the pluses outweigh the minus.  When I initially approached this idea, I just worked on the initial pattern for a while before moving it into octaves.

Lick #1

Pentatonic Sequence 4

And here’s the audio:

Tips:

Remember to keep your hands relaxed and focus on the 3 T’s (Timing, Tone and (hand) Tension).

Try playing this over various harmonic contexts (like Emin, Amin, G major, etc.)

If you like this idea, you may want to check out my not-peggio lesson posts as they use a similar alternating 1-note-per-string-3-note-per-string idea.

That’s it for now!  (Trust me getting that in the pocket may take some time!)  Lick #2 will be up next week.

As always!  Thanks for reading!

-SC

.

ps – for those of you who are interested, this was tracked entirely on my iPhone using JamUpPro and a Line 6 Sonic Port.  Still tweaking the tones a bit but there’s a lot of potential in this rig (particularly with the Air Turn integration and the upcoming BIAS release)!

Pentatonic %22rig%22

p.s.s. – If you like this idea you may dig my Pentatonic Visualization Book!

theminorpentatonicscale-front

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