What’s happening, Premier Guitarists? Thanks for tuning in for another installment of Intense Guitar! For the last couple of months, we’ve been taking a gander at a few ways to sequence intervallic patterns to break up your scalar playing. Let’s continue with this theme.
Thus far we’ve looked at intervallic patterns consisting of the intervals 1, 3, 4, 6 and 1, 2, 4, 6. Now let’s check out the intervals of 2, 3, 4, 6. Remember we’re simply taking the 2, 3, 4 and 6 degrees of any scale or mode and playing them consecutively across all six strings. Just like the last couple of columns I’ve done these in our “favorite key” of E minor/G major.
If you really want to hear some great players utilizing this playing style, I suggest checking out everyone from Don Mock and Joe Diorio (both taught at G.I.T./M.I.) to Al DiMeola and Pat Martino. Joe Diorio has a book out called Intervallic Designs for Jazz Guitar, which I highly suggest checking out if you’re looking to further explore this kind of intervallic playing.
In some cases the fingerings may seem somewhat awkward at first. Check out fingerings two and six – the Dorian and Aeolian modes respectively. If you are not used to using your third and fourth finger combination, starting the sequence off with this combination may be quite cumbersome. So, if this finger combination proves to be a little too awkward, trying using the fingering 2, 3, 1, 4. Depending on where I’m at on the fretboard and how I’m approaching the sequence I’ll use this fingering as well.
When you practice these, I suggest using a metronome (of course) and counting 16th notes – four notes per beat. In other words, every time you start a new “sequence group,” the root note of the sequence will be on the click or beat. If you pick every note you’ll get an Al DiMeola or Steve Morse type of sound and approach; if you hammer-on every second note on the string when ascending and pull-off every second note on the string when you descend, you’ll get more of an Allan Holdsworth or Bill Conners sound.
Something else you’ll want to experiment with is combining all three installments of these intervallic sequences together to create a unique sound all your own. For example, try playing a line that goes from one octave with sequence III, to the next octave playing sequence II, then in the last octave playing sequence I. If you ascend one way and then try descending with a different sequence pattern, it will really break up any monotony you may have in your playing … guaranteed.
Alrighty folks, that about wraps it up for this month. I hope you find some new and interesting sounds with these patterns. Remember, you can reach me at Toshi@TOSHIISEDA.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like me to cover any particular topics or ideas. Again, thanks for tuning in and as always, “who dares, wins!”
Toshi Iseda is an Alumnus of the prestigeous Berklee College of Music and the American Conservatory of Music. He has been featured in Guitar Player, Guitar World and Guitar/Guitar One Magazines, and is a former instructor at the National Guitar Workshop and former instructor at the American Institute of Guitar.