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 93rd full length album entitled, Modern Rock Guitar Vol. 93 – Street Sessions. While recording the album, I incorporated some ideas from last month’s column where we had looked at ways to spread patterns over several scale fingering positions. I want to expand on that idea, as I discovered a cool way to make these patterns sound really melodic and in fact, using this simple idea opened a whole new world of melody. It’s also a great exercise and forced me to use my pinky when playing scales.
Let’s play a six-note pattern first in the normal fashion and then we will play those six notes again, this time applying the concept for every six notes we reverse the last three notes. This forces us to use our pinky to play the last note on the second string and the first note on the first string (each is on the 12th fret). Use your pinky to pivot between those two notes, using your wrist to pivot the pinky. This ensures that each note will sound cleanly and sound as individual notes. Immediately, the second set of six notes sounds melodic and different than the first set of six notes.
Here is a standard A Aeolian Minor or C Major scale (depending on context) scale sequence.
Now let’s apply our concept – for every six notes, reverse the last three – to the last example. We get this which is more melodic.
From last month’s column, we played an A Aeolian/ Natural Minor (or C Major scale) in one fingering position using patterns of six notes which gave us this.
Again, apply our concept – for every six notes, reverse the last three – to example 4.
Last month, we also played the same six note patterns in example 4 over two fingering positions of the A Aeolian/ Natural minor (or C Major) scale which gave us a long lead run – ideal for hammer-ons and pull-offs. Don’t forget to try this example descending.
Apply our concept to example 6 and we get a much cooler sounding way to play over two fingering positions.
By taking simple six note patterns and reversing the last three, this concept gives us more melodic-sounding scale sequences; playing them over multiple fingering positions gives us an alternative to the usual six note scale sequences. Apply this to scale sequences and scale runs you already know – this concept works for arpeggios as well. Next time we will look at playing some advanced arpeggio sequences.