Three Note Per String Patterns
(18 Feb 03)
Scale patterns, such as the 5 pentatonic patterns or the 5 major scale patterns help you a lot to navigate the fretboard. Once you have familiarized with them, you can use them to create some nice solos.
Of course, you´ll need some time to explore those patterns and get out of the "playing only up and down"-rut. That means, once you have familiarized yourself with the patterns, you might find yourself playing up and down the scale constantly, which after a while gets boring for sure.
So you need to get back to creating melodies and actual music again, combining that with runs and sequences that are based on those patterns.
OK, if you're familiar with the regular major scale-patterns, you might be interested in learning the 7 longform patterns ( aka. "three notes per string" patterns ).
Those have become an important tool for many players such as myself. The advantage of those longform patterns, compared to our regular major patterns, is that you do have the same amount of notes (three of them) on every string, which works great with both alternate picking and economy picking.
The major scale patterns often have two notes per string inbetween. The same goes for the pentatonic patterns (that's why I showed you the stretch- or three note per string-pentatonic).
So, without further ado, lemme show you how to generate the patterns, how to play through them and practise them, and how to create some cool licks and sequences with them...
How to create the patterns
Our example will be in the key of F Major. That scale has the notes F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F.
Now, starting on the low E-string, we move along each string and mark each of these notes. Let's say we start on the lowest F, 1st fret of the low E-String. We mark that one, then we mark the G (3rd fret), A (5th fret), Bb (6th fret), C (8th fret) etc.
Next, we'll do the same on the A-string, and then on all the other strings.
Once we do this on all strings, it looks like this:
Each dot marks one note from the F Major scale. The red dots mark the Fs.
Have you ever heard about those Fretlight-guitars. There were quite a few ads for those in the guitar magazines a few years ago. The Fretlight Guitars were strat-style guitars with LED's in the fretboard. There were LEDs at each fret and below each string. Also, there were some extra controls on the body of the guitar. With those controls, you'd dial in a certain key and scale (i.e. E major), and on the fretboards, certain LEDs were activated, marking each note of the E major scale.
Now, that might be a neat tool to get used to scales and patterns. I dunno, cuz I never tried it. But you don't wanna depend on only such a special guitar. You wanna be able to find those scales and patterns on the fretboard yourself... on your regular guitar.
If you practise and memorize those patterns (the major scale ones, or the pentatonic ones, or the longform patterns), you'll be able to do in your mind what the Fretlight guitars did.
If you know what key you're in, you can imagine those patterns on the fretboard, and it is basically as if you have those LED's installed. That is at least how it works for me. Once I know what key I am in, I imagine the patterns on the fretboard, and I see all of them, see the notes of that key and their location on the fretboard.
Of course, that takes a lot of practising and memorizing, and once you're done, you have to make sure you're not stuck with those patterns, trapped by them (playing them only up and down), but to use them to create whatever you hear in your mind.
OK. Now, after we've marked all those notes, let's split the fretboard up into patterns. This is how it looks then:
Looks confusing, doesn't it? Well, let's split this up into five separate patterns...