It's no secret that virtually every kid who picks up a guitar dreams of one thing — playing super fast. And I don’t blame them. Playing fast is fun. It is exhilarating. And it sounds awesome when done right. But here's the thing when it comes to guitar playing and speed: It is fairly easy to learn but hard to master.
One key to becoming a more versatile blues soloist is learning to combine the minor pentatonic and major pentatonic scales to create guitar lines that go beyond the minor pentatonic scale. As a prerequisite to this lesson, you should have a basic understanding of the finger positionings for the minor pentatonic and major pentatonic scales, particularly the first and second positions of both scales.
In this month’s installment of Absolute Fretboard Mastery, we’ll be going a little bit deeper into the modes by learning how to apply them across our fretboard. But before we get into that, I want to address a common misconception a lot of guitarists have when learning the modes. They think of modes as completely separate entities, as opposed to different aspects of one scale.
For many guitarists learning to play solos, it can be easy to fall into a rut based on a certain hand position of a scale, and in doing so forget to play melodically. In this lesson, we will focus on learning to effectively incorporate melody into a solo. After all, iconic melodies are what set great guitar solos apart in many instances.
In this month’s lesson, I want to talk a bit about modes, which is a very interesting area of music theory. The great thing about modes is that once you master them, they can give you a whole new degree of freedom when creating melodies and composing solos. But they also can be a bit tricky to understand at first.
If you take some of the greatest guitarists of our time, the one thing they have in common is that they know their fretboard like the back of their hand. If you look at a guitarist like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen, you’ll notice how their hands just seem to dance across the fretboard without looking at it.
Being a guitarist involves pushing your boundaries with the instrument. Many players find themselves struggling to develop the physical abilities needed to play like their heroes, and they never settle on a consistent set of exercises because they find themselves drowning in so many different suggestions. In this column, I discuss some essential practice techniques you can work into a simple, short daily routine.
When I was starting out as a guitar player, it took me a while to understand the ultimate purpose of playing guitar. During those early years, I had some chops and I knew some theory, but my playing felt like it lacked purpose. That’s because it took me a while to understand that the ultimate purpose of playing guitar, at least to me, was to make the instrument an extension of your own self.
When most people start learning guitar, the first chords that they learn are often the A, C, D, E and G open chords. And the CAGED chord system is a chordal shape that can be used to navigate the fretboard using the C, A, G, E and D open-chord shapes, in that particular order, to ultimately be able to spot any major chord all across your fretboard.
Another great thing about this spread-fingering shape is that, from a theoretical perspective, it makes it much easier to visualize your scale intervals and to navigate across them. Say, for instance, you want to figure out how your I, III and V intervals sound when played together. You can do so easily by using this spread fingering position.