In the last installment of Guitar Strength, I showed you how to take a simple two-string fretboard shape and move it across three octaves in order to create long, fluid lines that traverse a wide range. This time, I’ll show you how to take the technique to the next level by combining “neighboring” shapes.
The diminished 7th scale is a great way to maneuver around the the guitar, especially when you adapt three string arpeggios. The shapes you can create have a fantastic flow and make it easy to move up and down the neck freely.
Many of us know it is important to use arpeggios to outline chords in our licks, phrases, melody lines and solos. While we know learning arpeggios is important, we can become bored with our playing if we stick to using root-position, R-3-5-7 arpeggios to build our licks and melodies.
While your average songs usually exhibit an era-specific quality influenced by the zeitgeist of their time, the truly great tunes, those considered by our culture as such throughout history, actually exhibit the opposite; a quality of “timelessness."
Canadian-born Joni Mitchell originally intended to be a fine artist and considered herself a hobbyist musician in the early Sixties, occasionally playing paid gigs to support her painting studies. That all changed by the mid Sixties, when personal issues inspired her to channel her thoughts into music that would soon be covered by folk artists like Tom Rush and Judy Collins.
It can be a little intimidating to venture past trusted favorite artists and into new territory. Luckily, most of us have something in our pockets that make finding new music a breeze. Your smart phone has a wide variety of apps to help you find your next major band crush.
Welcome to String Theory, a new column dedicated to imparting guitar-centric music theory concepts in a practical, useful way that you can readily apply to composing and improvising. Rather than show you a bunch of dry, abstract textbook examples of how chords are built from and live within various scales, I will try to keep things interesting and inspiring by presenting etudes.
I recently performed at B.B. King Blues Club on 42nd Street in New York City. The band was well-rehearsed; the staff fed us well and poured red wine (and Red Bull) down our gullets, treating us like the swell blokes we are. Our friends were there, plus lots of strangers. The sound crew did a great job. We even had chord charts right there in front of us. Yet we all made careless mistakes here and there.
In my last column, I discussed my penchant for employing odd meters in much of the music I write for Animals as Leaders, using the song “Cylindrical Sea” as an example. While “Cylindrical Sea” moves back and forth freely between 7/8, 5/8 and 6/8 time signatures, the idea was not simply to write a tune for the sake of complexity.