3.1 Exercise 1
This melodic technique is very effective in creating long lines that span several bars, so to put this into practise let’s play and analyse Exercise 1:
This is a straightforward 5 positions minor pentatonic workout, and the shapes will be familiar to you from Ex 1 in Chapter Two.
We are ascending Position 1, descending with Position 2, ascending Position 3, descending Position 4, ascending Position 5 before a final phrase in Position 1 again an octave higher.
However, listening to this you’ll note it sounds far more interesting than the aforementioned Module 2 exercise: and the reason is simply that Andy is displacing the note patterns.
Look at the transcription and you will note we’ve numbered his note groupings:
Starting from Bar 1 he ascends in a straightforward 4 notes on beat one, but from beat two onwards he starts grouping the ascending notes in 5’s, spinning back a string to ascend in 5 again, spinning back to ascend in 5 again and repeating this sequence until the end of Bar 3.
The first three bars together are played to this structure:
4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 = 48.
He then replicates this exactly over the next three bars:
4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 = 48
The next two bars conclude this by the following:
4 5 5 5 5 4 4 = 32Finally Andy concludes the sequence in the final bar with a classic rock bend/vibrato climax.
Now let’s rip into some drills specifically designed to build up your core physical abilities:
3.2 Drill 1
Drill 1 sees Andy takes a Position 2 pentatonic with added b5 notes – thus technically utilising the minor blues scale – as shown in Diagram 1.
Keeping to the 16th note template already established, here Andy applies the following groupings, as shown in the transcription:
Bar 1: 4 5 7 = 16
Bar 2: 6 5 5 = 16
Then Bar 3 concludes with a Rocktastic heavy vibrato laden root note.
3.3 Drill 2
Our next offering sees Andy utilise an extended Blues scale pattern starting in Position Three, shifting down to Position 2, then Position 1 and with a quick dip down into Position 5 that spans the 13th fret down to the 3rd fret, as shown in Diagram 2:
Using pull offs, with slides to navigate the lateral fretboard position shifts – this descending run utilises the following groupings:
Bar 1: 6 5 5
Bar 2: 6 5 5
Bar 3 concludes - again - with the Root note.
3.4 Drill 3
Drill 3 takes a brief detour back more into more conventional rock territory with a Paul Gilbert style (check out ‘I Like Rock’) Position 1 lick.
‘Displacing’ for a while (pun intended) the displacement concepts we’ve featured so far, Andy utilises a legato heavy ‘Dorian Blues’ sequence that would provide a fitting addendum to the previous more sequentially based licks we’ve examined.
These sort of licks can act as a ‘humanising’ element to the more structured approach, thus providing a light and shade element that adds variety to your fretboard excursions.
The ‘Dorian Blues’ scale is a ‘hybrid’ combination of the Minor Blues scale (1 b3 4 b5 5 b7) and Dorian ‘Mode’ (1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7) thus creating an ‘Octatonic’ (8 note) scale with the following formula: 1 2 b3 4 b5 5 6 b7.
Whilst you could construct a myriad of scale patterns to play, in practice the most easily used application is to insert the extra intervals/note into the second octave of the minor pentatonic Position One shape as shown in Diagram 3:
This pattern is relatively easy to play: just make sure you accent the beats to provide some attitude and attack to the phrases to ensure this one’s a keeper.