Re­peat­ing note ‘cells’

Shaun Bax­ter con­tin­ues to in­crease your range on the elec­tric gui­tar by ex­ploit­ing the sym­me­try of the fret­board us­ing seven- and eight-note cells.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON: CREATIVE ROCK -

helps phys­i­cally and vis­ually.

For ex­am­ple, a C maj triad can be ar­ranged on the lower string-pair (sixth and fifth): Cell Sixth Fifth (3-0) C, E, G - (2-1) C, E G (1-2) C E, G (0-3) - C, E, G That’s four con­fig­u­ra­tions that can be shifted up in oc­taves onto the other string-pairs (fourth and third strings, and sec­ond and first strings) with­out chang­ing shape.

Fur­ther­more, each en­tity (here, Cmaj) can be played in dif­fer­ent in­ver­sions depend­ing on the start­ing note. in this case, it is pos­si­ble to play three dif­fer­ent in­ver­sions of Cmaj by start­ing from a dif­fer­ent note each time: C-E-G; E-G-C (C has been switched the end); and G-C-E, (C and E have been switched to the end). And, like the root po­si­tion in­ver­sion, all the sub­se­quent ones can be con­fig­ured in the same four dif­fer­ent ways on each string-pair (3-0, 2-1 etc).

In the first few lessons we looked at play­ing two-, three-, four-, five- and six-note cells across three oc­taves. For this les­son, we are go­ing to fo­cus on seven- and eight-note ones.

The seven-note cells can be con­fig­ured as fol­lows within each string-pair: 7-0, 6-1, 5-2, 4-3, 3-4, 2-5, 1-6, and 0-7. The seven-note cells are par­tic­u­larly suit­able for any seven­note scale, such as modes like Ae­o­lian, Do­rian and Mixoly­dian.

The eight-note Cells can be con­fig­ured as fol­lows within each string-pair: 8-0, 7-1, 6-2, 5-3, 4-4, 3-5, 2-6, 1-7 and 0-8. The eight-note cells of­ten fea­ture unisons (due to com­pris­ing a seven-note scale with one note du­pli­ca­tion); how­ever, they can also be a con­ve­nient means of play­ing eight-note scales, like Di­min­ished. Note that dif­fer­ent ways of play­ing the same thing will pro­vide us with dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties via new tech­ni­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Once you have worked through the ex­am­ples, try to es­tab­lish some use­ful shapes of your own in each of the CAGED pat­terns of the scales that you know. 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. Make a note of your favourites, and ex­per­i­ment with var­i­ous ways of em­ploy­ing them in the most mu­si­cal ways.

re­mem­ber you don’t have to al­ways play from the root of the scale that you are us­ing. You can ap­ply ideas start­ing from any note of that scale. You are also not obliged to play all three oc­taves each time, as this will se­verely limit your mu­si­cal ap­proach. in­stead, you might want to use just two ‘cells’ or even just one: the im­por­tant thing is that ideas spring from the ‘con­cept’ of string-pair cells.

You may need to use tap­ping for shapes lower down the neck, whereas you may be able to pick ev­ery note when play­ing higher up; so be pre­pared to adapt your ap­proach. ev­ery­thing does not need to be played at top speed, so above all be ex­pres­sive.

The fol­low­ing ex­am­ples are all based around ‘cells’ that ex­ist within A Ae­o­lian (A, B, C, D, E, F and G), and can be taken over three-oc­taves via the var­i­ous string-pairs. The in­ten­tion is to help you to start build­ing up a use­ful reper­toire of shapes and lines that you can draw upon when im­pro­vis­ing.

Seven-note cells are very suit­able for any seven-note scale, such as ae­o­lian, do­rian, Io­nian and Mixoly­dian.

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