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Technique Rules! - November 2000
Welcome to my new column!
In this place I will be giving you my tips and advices on developing guitar techniques. I will also try to pass on to you some of the knowledge that I think is important for mastering the electric guitar.
I suppose that many of you reading these lines will be on different levels of knowledge and skill regarding the guitar. However, I think that it would be good to start from the basics so that those of you less familiar with the "dazzling guitar pyrotechnics" can catch up more quickly later on.
For this first time I will present you how I visualize C-major scale (same as A-minor - so called relative scale) across the fingerboard in "3 note per string" manner. This is for me the cornerstone (for developing a virtuoso style) on which we will be building guitar exercises later on. Memorizing these "patterns" will teach you some important things (if you don't know them already): C-major scale "all over" the guitar neck, but also the "map" across the neck for any natural diatonic scale you can think of. The patterns for any scale (g-minor, E-minor, B-major, …) will "connect" to each other in exact same way like these ones (for C-major) while the only difference will be the starting point (fret) of the "first pattern". So eventually you will develop a (perfect) sense of orientation around the guitar neck - which is essential for improvising solos!
I have given you (as you will see) the 7 basic patterns because there are of course only 7 different notes in C-major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B and the C upper octave). So the "8th" pattern would be the same as the first one just starting from 13th fret (upper octave), and so on.
If you are completely new to this I would advise you to learn the patterns one by one. Learn one every day and "connect" them as you go. Play the patterns from the low E string across all strings to the high E string starting from the "nut" and work your way up in the direction of the "bridge". After that try playing the patterns again from high E string to low E string starting from the highest fret you have and go back in the "nut" direction. Do this at least one hour every day and try to get to the point where you won't make any mistakes (by hitting wrong notes).
When you eventually succeed in this try to do the same again but this time without looking at the fretboard! Practicing this way will enable you to "visualize" the pattern positions in your mind and develop a precise, instinctive, second nature freedom of finger movement around the neck (using major/minor scales).
Remember to practice this slowly!
For any questions you can contact me at : firstname.lastname@example.org