This month Shaun Bax­ter ups the ante as he con­tin­ues his se­ries de­voted to ex­ploit­ing the sym­me­try of the gui­tar fret­board in string-pairs.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

Shaun Bax­ter ex­plores how to use six-note string-pair cells to en­hance your lead play­ing.

This se­ries is de­voted to the prac­tice of com­press­ing the in­for­ma­tion of a mu­si­cal en­tity (triad, arpeg­gio, Pen­ta­tonic scale etc) into a sin­gle string-pair, so that the same shape (cell) can be shifted up and down over three oc­taves via the other string-pairs.

If we con­fine our ap­proach to the fol­low­ing string-pairs, the shapes re­main the same in each oc­tave, pro­vid­ing phys­i­cal and vis­ual con­ve­nience: sixth-fifth; fourth-third; sec­ond-first.

re­vi­sion: For ex­am­ple, an Am triad (three-note en­tity) can be ar­ranged on the lower string-pair (sixth and fifth strings) as fol­lows: So, that’s four pos­si­ble con­fig­u­ra­tions that can each be shifted up in oc­taves onto the other string-pairs with­out hav­ing to change shape.

Fur­ther­more, each en­tity (here, Am) can be played in dif­fer­ent in­ver­sions depend­ing on the start­ing note. For ex­am­ple, in this case, it is pos­si­ble to play three dif­fer­ent in­ver­sions of Am by start­ing from a dif­fer­ent note each time: A-C-e-Ce-A (A has been copied off the front and du­pli­cated on the end); and e-A-C, (A and C have been taken off the front and placed on the end). And, like the orig­i­nal in­ver­sion, all of the other ones can be con­fig­ured in the same four dif­fer­ent ways on each string-pair (3-0, 2-1 etc).

so far we’ve looked at play­ing two, three, four and five-note cells. To­day we are go­ing to fo­cus on six-note cells, which can be con­fig­ured as fol­lows within each string-pair: 6-0; 5-1; 4-2; 3-3*; 2-4; 1-5; and 0-6. (* the 3-3 note-con­fig­u­ra­tion is con­ve­nient be­cause it is based on a familiar ap­proach to most gui­tarists. Fur­ther­more, it is also suit­able for sweep pick­ing, be­cause there are an odd num­ber of notes on each string).

All six-note string-pair cells are good for hex­a­tonic scales such as Whole-tone; and dif­fer­ent ways of play­ing the same thing will pro­vide us with dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties via new tech­ni­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties.

As usual, once you have worked through the ex­am­ples in this les­son, try to es­tab­lish some use­ful shapes of your own in each of the CAGeD pat­terns of the scales that you know.

es­tab­lish the var­i­ous pos­si­bil­i­ties in a sys­tem­atic way, and try each one against a back­ing track so you can hear it in con­text, not­ing your favourites and work­ing out ways of em­ploy­ing them mu­si­cally. But re­mem­ber:

You don’t have to play some­thing from the root of the un­der­ly­ing chord or scale; you can ap­ply ideas start­ing from any note. You are not obliged to play all three oc­taves each time, as this will limit your mu­si­cal ap­proach; you might want to use just two cells (or one): the im­por­tant thing is that the mu­si­cal idea might spring from the ‘con­cept’ of string-pair cells. Don’t for­get to work out the in­ver­sions too (six-note en­ti­ties have six in­ver­sions)

You may need to use tap­ping for some of the shapes lower down the neck; just be pre­pared to adapt your ap­proach ac­cord­ingly.

Fi­nally, don’t only play fast ideas, or you’ll just sound the same all the time. Above all, be ex­pres­sive, as the point of learn­ing any new tech­nique or the­o­ret­i­cal con­cept, is to be able to make mu­sic with it; not sound like you are sim­ply run­ning up and down ex­er­cises.

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