Denis Taaffe has been playing guitar since age seven and has developed a unique solo electric guitar style which uses regular guitar and guitar loops done on the fly and all his material is improvised on the spot. Denis performs, records and teaches guitar regularly. He has released 80 independent CD's, nine of which have been considered for Grammy Awards. He also has endorsements with Kradl picks, Seymour Duncan Pickups, Ernieball/Musicman Strings, Parker Guitars & Boomerang Pedalboards. Always in search of unique guitar sounds, Denis is set to release his 81st CD "Modern Rock Guitar Vol.81". You can visit his website at www.dtguitar.com for more info on him and mp3 audio samples.
Welcome to another edition of “Practice Up.” I just completed and released my 88th full-length album entitled Modern Rock Guitar Vol. 88 – Variations. You can hear samples of each track at my website. During the recording of that album, I found that some scale patterns were difficult to play in one position and I couldn’t apply some techniques I wanted to use. However, these same patterns became very simple when spread out over several fingering positions. In fact, it made for some flashy leads and really fast lead runs, and gave me a whole new way of looking at scale patterns. To begin, we will look at some 4 note and 6 note patterns using a single scale fingering position and the same note patterns spread out over 2 fingering positions. Let’s get started:
If we take an Am Pentatonic scale and play it in one fingering position using patterns of 4 notes, we get the following:
If we take the same 4 note patterns in example 1 and play it using two fingering positions of the Am Pentatonic scale, we get a long lead run which is ideal for hammer ons, pull offs and other techniques as follows (don’t forget to try this example descending as well):
If we apply the same concept to an A Aeolian/Natural Minor scale and play it in one fingering position using patterns of 6 notes, we get the following:
If we were to play the same 6 note patterns over two fingering positions of the A Aeolian/Natural Minor scale, we get a long lead run which is ideal for hammer ons, pull offs and other techniques as follows (and again don’t forget to try this example descending):
By taking simple patterns and playing them over multiple fingering positions, we get a whole new way of looking at scale shapes, patterns and sequences. Spreading out over multiple fingering positions also allows for some really long lead runs and the ability to apply some techniques such as hammer ons and pull offs. It also works well when you want a really fast lead run. By the same token, lead runs spread over several scale fingering positions can be played in one position for maximum efficiency. You should strive to be able to play both as it will do wonders for your technique and knowledge of the fingerboard. Next time we will apply this concept to more advanced patterns and over several fingering positions.