Three-oc­tave pat­terns

Shaun Bax­ter con­tin­ues his new se­ries de­voted to ex­tend­ing your range on the fret­board. This month he in­tro­duces three-oc­tave pat­terns.

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE -

com­press­ing the in­for­ma­tion into a sin­gle string-pair, so that the same shape ('cell') can be shifted over dif­fer­ent oc­taves via the other string-pairs.

For ex­am­ple, the five-note Am pen­ta­tonic scale can be ar­ranged on the low­est string­pair as fol­lows: (5 - 0) - (4 - 1) G (3 - 2) E-G (2 - 3) D-E-G (1 - 4) C-D-E-G (0 - 5) A-C-D-E-G

So, six con­fig­u­ra­tions that can each be shifted in oc­taves onto the other string-pairs with­out hav­ing to change shape. it’s the sym­me­try that’s im­por­tant here. Be­cause it’s con­sis­tent the shapes are easy to re­mem­ber and it’s a great way of or­gan­is­ing notes on the fret­board.

each en­tity can be played in dif­fer­ent in­ver­sions depend­ing on the start­ing note. for ex­am­ple, in this case it’s pos­si­ble to play five dif­fer­ent in­ver­sions of Am pen­ta­tonic by start­ing from a dif­fer­ent note each time: a) A-c-D-e-G; b) c-D-e-G-A; c) D-e-G-A,-c; d) e-G-A-c-D; and e) G-A-cD-e. And, like the orig­i­nal in­ver­sion, all of the oth­ers can be con­fig­ured in the same six dif­fer­ent ways on each string-pair.

In the first les­son of this new se­ries, we looked at play­ing two- and three-note en­ti­ties across three oc­taves via var­i­ous string-pairs; in this les­son, we are go­ing to fo­cus on four-note en­ti­ties (7th arpeg­gios). Th­ese arpeg­gios can be con­fig­ured as dif­fer­ent num­bers of notes played on each string-pair, as fol­lows: 4-0; 3-1*; 2-2; 1-3*; and 0-4. (*Th­ese are suit­able for sweep pick­ing, be­cause there is an odd num­ber of notes on each string.) Dif­fer­ent ways of play­ing the same thing will pro­vide us with many in­ter­est­ing per­mu­ta­tions.

once you have worked through the var­i­ous A-C-D-E-G A-C-D-E A-C-D A-C A ex­am­ples in this les­son, try to come up with shapes of your own in each of the cAGeD pat­terns of the var­i­ous scales that you know.

Make sure you es­tab­lish the pos­si­ble note-con­fig­u­ra­tions (cells) in a sys­tem­atic way, and au­di­tion each one against a back­ing track so that you can hear it in con­text, mak­ing a note of your favourites and ex­per­i­ment­ing with var­i­ous ways of em­ploy­ing them in the most mu­si­cal ways. But re­mem­ber, you don’t have to play from the root of the un­der­ly­ing chord or scale that you are us­ing; you can ap­ply ideas start­ing from any note of that scale.

Also, you are not obliged to play all three

This same prin­ci­ple is ex­ploited by pi­ano play­ers; namely, the prac­tice of tak­ing what­ever they play and shift­ing it up or down over many oc­taves.

oc­taves each time, as this will se­verely limit you dy­nam­i­cally. in­stead, you might want to use one or two ‘cells’ in­stead: the im­por­tant thing is that the mu­si­cal idea might spring from the un­der­ly­ing ‘con­cept’ of three-oc­tave cells. Don’t for­get to work out the in­ver­sions too (four-note en­ti­ties have four in­ver­sions).

You may need to use tap­ping for shapes played lower down the neck, whereas you may be able to pick ev­ery note when play­ing higher up the neck; so be pre­pared to adapt your ap­proach ac­cord­ingly.

fi­nally, and most im­por­tantly, don’t only play fast ideas or you’ll sound pre­dictable, whereas the aim is to be ex­pres­sive.

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