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Wild Stringdom with John Petrucci: Recognizing Repetitive Fretboard Shapes on All String Groups

Hello, and welcome to my new Guitar World instructional column. In the coming months, I’ll share with you some of the guitar-playing concepts and approaches that have helped me develop my technique and overall playing style. I’d like to start off with an examination of ascending scalar shapes that, by design, cover the majority of the fretboard.

Wild Stringdom with John Petrucci: Using Triad Arpeggios to Imply More Complex Chord Qualities

This month, I’m going to demonstrate how one can utilize simple triadic shapes and patterns in order to imply more complex and varied chord qualities. I find this to be a very cool and useful improvisational tool, because you can apply it to playing over either a chord progression that you want to outline melodically or over a static pedal tone.

Betcha Can't Play This: John Petrucci's Descending E Mixolydian Run

I begin in ninth position with a fairly compact shape that spans the ninth to 12th frets. At the end of bar 1 and moving into bar 2, the fret hand shifts down two frets and spreads out to cover a four-fret span, from the seventh fret to the 11th. Use your first, second and fourth fingers to fret the notes.

Romancing the Fretboard: Chopin Arranged for Guitar, Part 1

Here's the first installment of Chopin's Piano Concerto in A minor, Opus No. 2. I've arranged it for guitar, and as you can see, it's not for the meek. But if you've been diligently practicing the chromatic exercises from my past few lessons, you should be ready to tackle it.

Wild Stringdom with John Petrucci: Visualizing Melodic Shapes on the Fretboard

This month, I’d like to delve deeper into concepts for expanding scalar ideas across the fretboard. As in the previous columns, I’ll demonstrate how to move diagonally across the fretboard to connect scale positions, an approach that I employ to a great extent to play melodic phrases and solos.

John Petrucci of Dream Theater Discusses Rush's '2112' — The Record That Changed My Life

“I was also blown away by how a three-piece band could sound so majestic and huge and play in a style that’s inherently rock and roll yet still pushes the boundaries of what they’re doing musically—this idea of being experimental, using different time signatures and not really being concerned about song length and traditional constraints. I can’t tell you how huge of an impact that had on me. 2112 basically set the course for my musical career and how I approached Dream Theater.”

Wild Stringdom with John Petrucci: Combining Triad Arpeggios to Form Polytonal Chordal Allusions

As I have discussed in previous columns, I often use triadic arpeggio forms within my riffs and solos as a tool to create rich-sounding, poly-chordal sounds. I’d like to continue in that vein in this month’s column by presenting different ways in which to move from one arpeggio form to another.

Wild Stringdom with John Petrucci: Moving Across the Fretboard in Unusual Ways to Produce Unique Runs

Over the years, people have noticed that when I play certain runs, my fingers move in the opposite direction of the notes that they hear. For example, as my fret hand moves up the fretboard, the sequence of notes that is heard descends (and vice versa).

Wild Stringdom with John Petrucci: Relocating Familiar Scalar Patterns to Different Areas of the Fretboard

Let’s continue with a topic that I addressed in last month’s column: focusing on the formation of specific scalar patterns, or “shapes,” and how to connect them while traversing the fretboard. To me, this concept and approach offer a sensible way to practice these ideas/patterns in order to build up one’s chops while also increasing overall fretboard awareness and mastery of scales.

Dream Theater's John Petrucci: How to Play "On The Backs Of Angels"

In the following videos, guitarist John Petrucci talks about the new Dream Theater album, A Dramatic Turn of Events, and shows you how to play the song "On The Backs Of Angels."