Basic Scales/Modes and Arpeggios in 5 Places

Pdf’s for basic “weight-lifting”-type practice.  Being able to play scales/arps in these 5 places lead the student to be fluent all over the instrument.  Start and end in the circled root note.






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3-Note Chords – Get More Out Of Less – Pt. 1

The seemingly endless possibility of chord voicings/inversions can be baffling.  What i’ve found to be most difficult, is getting a consistently dense sound across all your voicings. And we don’t get 10 fingers to bash out thick voicings like our ivory-tinkling brethren. Also, at our disadvantage is the fact that the guitar has such a low range (take a moment and realize that over half the instrument is in the bass clef). So (with some exceptions) big 6-note chords, while full-sounding, can often be muddy, especially with anything more than roots and fifths down low. So, we have to find a way to get that dense sound out of fewer notes.

The method I’ve found to create consistently thick voicings is simple:

– A 3-note voicing where 2 of the notes are either a half-step or a maj 7th apart. Then the other note should be simply any other note from the chord.

Ex: D-7= maj 7th.  the half-step between the b3 and the 9. Then, the other note can be either the root, the 5th, or the b7th. (11 and 6/13 are available too, but we’ll keep it simple for now)  If you use a maj 7th, put the other note between them.  If you use a half-step it goes above or below, but try to keep it within a 6th.  In this first example, the 2nd bar is a voicing that we all know, but we can take this concept and give us a bunch of other great usable voicings.  (Also, for know we’re leaving the root out; in most cases, the bass-player will be playing it, but in solo guitar situations we can add the root and make a three-note chord with these same rules.)

Ex:  Gmaj7 = maj 7th between the root and the 7th.  That leaves either the 5th or the 3rd.

If there isn’t a maj 7th or a half-step available between two chord tones or a chord tone and a tension, the next best interval is a maj 2nd.

Notice that these voicings for these 2 different chord qualities are the same.  Think about some options for half-steps and major 7ths for other chord qualities (i.e. Dom7, min7b5, Alt. Dom7, & dim7).

Part II, with more voicing examples, to follow next week…

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“Pedal” strings

This is a cool thing I like to practice.  It can be very useful in coming up with interesting guitar parts.  We tend to only do the pedal/drone string thing when we’re in a key like G, D, A, etc.  But once you get comfortable with these exercises you can do the “drone thing” in any key.

This next exercise requires you to mute the middle string (once you get past the 5th).  Mute with the side of your first finger.

Being able to slide between notes really sells it.  Note the fingerings above the notation, obviously, the top note is the one that slides.  This is one is kind of tricky.

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