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For publication information, contact David M. Shere

via email: <[email protected]>

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guitarist and composer David M. Shere graduated magna cum laude

from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, May 2003, with a

Bachelor's degree in Music Composition. David completed M.A. and Ph.D.

degrees in composition at UCSB , September 2006 and 2007, where he

studied with Dr. Jeremy Haladyna, Dr. Joann Kuchera-Morin, Dr. Scott

Marcus, and Dr. Curtis Roads .

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MELODIC CONCEPTS: Table of Contents

I. INTRODUCTION 7II. SCALES, MODES, and CHROMATIC PATTERNS 9

1. Pentatonic scales 11i. Scale-related pentatonic modes 13ii. Arpeggio-related pentatonic scales 22

2. Chromatic exercises 293. Diatonic modes 36

i. Modes as Rotations of a Scale in a single Key 36ii. Modes as Pitch-Axis Alterations of a Scale 47

iii. Practicing Modes chromatically 63iv. Practicing Modal fragments: 2, 3, and 4-string

patterns99

4. Harmonic minor modes 1065. Miscellaneous scales and complex chromatic patterns 109

III. BASIC BLUES TUTORIAL 1141. Blues Scales 1142. Traditional Blues Techniques 117

i. Vibrato 117

ii. Bending notes 118iii. Pinch Harmonics 120iv. Ostinato patterns 122v. Phrases 124

IV. SCALE SEQUENCES 1281. Alternate Picking (Staccato) vs. Slurring (Legato) 1282. Alternate Picking (Staccato) patterns 1293. Slurring (Legato) patterns 151

V. RIGHT-HAND TAPPING 1671. Traditional tapping patterns 1672. Adding tapped notes to scales 169

VI. ARPEGGIOS 1731. Sweep Picking Arpeggios 1732. Legato Arpeggios3. Jazz chord/arpeggio tutorial

180185

VII. COMBINATION TECHNIQUES 193VIII. CONCLUSION 196

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MELODIC CONCEPTS

I. INTRODUCTION

The electric guitar has indisputably re-defined the world of

contemporary music beyond all question for the past 60 years. It is an

inspired creative resource of vast potential, a melodic vehicle capable of

spectacular linear gymnastics and an incredible array of extended

techniques, and a sonic medium which physically bridges the gap between

acoustic and electronic music in the most direct, literal way possible.

Some of the techniques found in this book may be used for the

acoustic guitar as well as the electric guitar. However, the development of

most of these exercises was intended predominantly for electric guitar

improvisation, and some of the ideas contained herein may be technically

impractical on an acoustic instrument. Thorough experimentation will bear

out which techniques are practical in the acoustic medium, and whichtechniques are not.

As this book is intended for intermediate to advanced players, it is

assumed that the reader already understands a certain amount of music

theory prior to approaching these exercises. All the melodic ideas in this

book are in both tablature and manuscript notation, and are typically shown

in only one or two keys in order to save space. However, each exercise may

be transposed into any other key by a guitarist with a solid grasp of musical

analysis.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you find this book useful.

-David M. Shere

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II. SCALES, MODES, and CHROMATIC PATTERNS

A musical scale is a stepwise progression of single notes.

Understanding scales and how they work requires a basic knowledge of set

theory, pitch axis theory, and scale degrees. Set theory can be

summarized as follows:

1. Any collection of objects can be defined as a set. The objects in the

set are defined as elements.

2. Musical scales are generally defined as ordered sets, meaning the

sequence of elements in the set is a fixed property.

3. Sets are expressed in the following notation:

[a 0, a 1, a 2, a 3, a 4, …a (n-1) ]

The major scale is known in music theory as the “mother of all scales.”

Let’s consider a C major scale:

The tones of the major scale can be expressed theoretically as the following

set: [R,2,3,4,5,6,7], where R is the root of the scale, and each successive

tone is given a value, known as a scale degree, in numerical order. For

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example, in the C major scale, the degree of note F = 4. The root of the

scale repeats at the octave, as does each scale degree.

This set description applies to a major scale in any key. Consider a G

major scale:

Notice that the scale degrees are the same for a G major scale as for a C

major scale, even though the actual notes are different.

In pitch axis theory, all other scales are expressed as modifications,

or alterations, of the major scale set.

• lowering a tone is expressed by a flat (example: a lowered 7 th is

expressed as [b7] )

• raising a tone is expressed by a sharp (example: a raised 4 th is

expressed as [#4] ).

This is true even when lowering a tone from a sharp to a natural note (as inG minor pentatonic, where the F# is lowered to F natural ), or raising a

tone from a flat to a natural note (as in F Lydian, where the Bb is raised to

B natural ).

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1. Pentatonic scales

The pentatonic scale is the most common scale in music. “Pentatonic”

means “five tones”. The following example shows a G Major pentatonic

scale:

The Major pentatonic is identical to the G major scale, except that it has no

4th or 7th scale degree. The G Major pentatonic scale also functions as its

relative minor scale, E minor pentatonic.

The tones of the G major pentatonic scale may be accompanied by a

G Major chord, an E minor chord, or any harmonically related chord. The

following example shows a few possible chord choices:

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The next example shows a G minor pentatonic scale:

The tones of the minor pentatonic scale can be expressed theoretically as thefollowing set relative to the G major scale: [R,b3,4,5,b7], where:

••• • R = root,

••• • b3 = lowered 3 rd scale degree, and

••• • b7 = lowered 7 th scale degree.

The minor pentatonic has no 2nd or 6th scale degree. The G minor

pentatonic scale also functions as its relative major scale, Bb Major

pentatonic.

The tones of the G major pentatonic scale may be accompanied by a

G minor chord, a Bb Major chord, or any harmonically related chord. The

following example shows a few possible chord choices:

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i. Scale-related pentatonic modes

Modes are scales derived from a parent scale. One way to define modes is

as rotations of a scale set, meaning that the elements of the set are moved

one place to the right or left, resulting in a new scale containing the same

tones but having a different ordering. The parent scale is always considered

mode 1.

If we rotate the Major pentatonic scale set [R,2,3,5,6], we get the

following modes:

mode 2: [2,3,5,6,R] mode 3: [3,5,6,R,2]

mode 4: [5,6,R,2,3] mode 5: [6,R,2,3,5]

The following musical examples show the modes of the G Major

pentatonic scale in standard notation:

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If we rotate the minor pentatonic scale set [R,b3,4,5,b7], we get the

following modes:

mode 2: [b3,4,5,b7,R] mode 3: [4,5,b7,R,b3]

mode 4: [5,b7,R,b3,4] mode 5: [b7,R,b3,4,5]

The following musical examples show the modes of the G minor

pentatonic scale in standard notation:

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The most useful way to practice modal patterns is by ascending one mode

and descending the next, up and down the guitar neck:

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ii. Arpeggio-related pentatonic scales

In any given chord progression, each chord may be embellished

melodically by matching scales or chord tones. Chord tones played

individually are defined as arpeggios. Let us consider the following

progression in the key of G Major:

Each chord in this progression has a corresponding arpeggio that may be

used to create melodies against the harmony of the chord. The corresponding

arpeggios are as follows:

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Each chord in this progression also has a corresponding arpeggio-related

pentatonic scale that:

1) functions as an embellishment of the underlying arpeggio, and

2) may be used to create melodies against the harmony of the chord.

The corresponding arpeggio-related pentatonic scales are as follows:

The next musical examples show each arpeggio-related pentatonic scale

using the following two-octave fingerings:

1) ascending only

2) ascending/descending and descending/ascending

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2. Chromatic exercises

The chromatic scale is the stepwise progression of all 12 notes in the

European musical system. The following musical example shows one

possible fingering for the chromatic scale:

Chromatic exercises are an important part of developing good

physical technique on the guitar, and are typically derived from simple

chromatic patterns. A chromatic pattern can be defined as a sequence of

notes that:

1) is derived from the chromatic scale, and

2) cannot be readily classified by tonal analysis.

Simple chromatic patterns are typically symmetrical fingerings

played across all six strings in a single position, and are an excellent tool forpreparing to play diatonic scales. The following musical examples show the

most typical simple chromatic patterns, as well as four examples of basic

exercises that can be derived from these patterns:

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3. Diatonic modes

A diatonic scale is any scale with 7 notes. Traditionally, “ diatonic”

refers to the European classical Major and minor scales.

Modes derived from the Major diatonic scale are the most important

theoretical concept in contemporary improvisation-based music. Learning

the diatonic modes is the key to understanding modern harmonic and

melodic structure in jazz and popular music. In improvisation, it is

absolutely essential to understand the diatonic modes theoretically in order

to apply them correctly.

i. Modes as Rotations of a Scale in a single Key

If we rotate the Major diatonic scale set [R,2,3,4,5,6,7], we get the

following diatonic modes:

Root position/mode 1 (Ionian): [R,2,3,4,5,6,7]mode 2 (Dorian): [2,3,4,5,6,7,R] mode 3 (Phrygian): [3,4,5,6,7,R,2]

mode 4 (Lydian): [4,5,6,7,R,2,3] mode 5 (Myxolydian): [5,6,7,R,2,3,4]

mode 6 (Aeolian): [6,7,R,2,3,4,5] mode 7 (Locrian): [7,R,2,3,4,5,6]

Each diatonic mode has a Greek name (Ionian, Dorian, etc.) that is

historically derived from European musical traditions. The Aeolian mode is

also known as the natural minor scale.

The following musical example shows all seven rotational modes in

the key of C Major:

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The next set of musical examples show all seven rotational modes in

the key of G Major, in the following fingering configurations:

• one octave

• two octaves

• 2.5 octaves

• 2.5 octaves ascending/descending and desc./asc.

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In a diatonic chord progression, each chord corresponds to a

rotational mode from the same key. The root tone of each chord

corresponds to the root tone of the matching mode. Let us consider the

following progression in the key of G Major:

Each chord may be melodically embellished with tones from its

corresponding rotational mode , as follows:

• Gma7 (I) = G Ionian

• Am7 (ii) = A Dorian

• Bm7 (iii) = B Phrygian

• Cma7 (IV) = C Lydian

• D7 (V) = D Myxolydian

• Em7 (vi) = E Aeolian

• F# half-diminished7 (vii) = F# Locrian

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ii. Modes as Pitch-Axis Alterations of a Scale

The second and most important way of defining modes is as

alterations of a major scale relative to a single root. For example, let’s

consider every mode that begins with the note ‘C’, each of which may be

derived from a diatonic scale in a different key:

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If we collect together all of these modes that begin with ‘C’, and analyze

them relative to the C major scale as pitch-axis alterations of the parent

scale with raised or lowered tones, we get the following scale sets:

mode 1 (Ionian): [R,2,3,4,5,6,7]

mode 2 (Dorian): [R,2,b3,4,5,6,b7] mode 3 (Phrygian): [R,b2,b3,4,5,b6,b7]

mode 4 (Lydian): [R,2,3,#4,5,6,7] mode 5 (Myxolydian): [R,2,3,4,5,6,b7]

mode 6 (Aeolian): [R,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7] mode 7 (Locrian): [R,b2,b3,4,b5,b6,b7]

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Now let’s consider every mode that begins with the note ‘A’, each of which

may also be derived from a diatonic scale in a different key:

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The next set of musical examples show all seven pitch-axis modes in the

key of A Major, in the following fingering configurations:

• one octave

• two octaves

• 2.5 octaves ascending/descending and desc./asc.

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Each modal alteration implies a significant change in the underlying

harmony. Every mode can be harmonized using any diatonic chord derived

from its parent key. Additionally, every mode can also be harmonized using

chords constructed over the root that incorporate the altered modal scale

tones. The following example shows some possible chords for each mode:

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iii. Practicing Modes chromatically

One of the most important tasks in your practice regimen should be

learning your diatonic modes in as many configurations and harmonic

relationships as possible. The more ideas you can develop, the better you

will learn your fretboard and the more thoroughly you will understand the

inner workings of modes.

The following exercises demonstrate a few possible ways to practice

modes chromatically. It is recommended that each student should develop

his or her own additional methods for practicing modes in chromatic

relationships.

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iv. Practicing Modal fragments: 2, 3, and 4-string patterns

In addition to practicing modes vertically across all six strings, modes

should also be practiced in 2, 3, and 4-string “fragments” horizontally across

the guitar neck. This approach allows the practitioner to become thoroughly

acquainted with modal fingerings in every possible fretboard position. It also

opens up the possibility for complex melodic patterns which are relatively

easy to execute horizontally but are impractical using strict vertical

fingerings.

The following figures show several basic examples of fingerings for

modal fragments:

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Once a guitarist is familiar with modes in both vertical and

fragmented-horizontal fingering configurations, a combined

vertical/horizontal fingering approach can be used to move through the tones

of any scale all the way across the neck. Again, this approach is extremely

useful for complex melodic patterns which are relatively easy to execute

horizontally but are impractical using strict vertical fingerings. The next

musical illustration shows several examples of this approach:

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Finally, it is important to be familiar with the tones of each mode

played using fingerings entirely on a single string:

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4. Harmonic minor modes

An interesting source for modes is the Harmonic minor scale. The

harmonic minor scale may be theoretically described as an Aeolian mode

with a raised 7 th (#7).

The modes of the harmonic minor scale do not have traditional names

like the modes of the major scale. There are numerous possible ways of

naming these modes. One possibility is as follows:

1. mode 2 = Locrian #6

2. mode 3 = Ionian #5

3. mode 4 = Dorian #4

4. mode 5 = Phrygian #3 (Phrygian Dominant)

5. mode 6 = Lydian #2

6. mode 7 = Altered Diminished

The modes of the harmonic minor scale may be practiced using the

same methods as the diatonic modes of the major scale.

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5. Miscellaneous scales and complex chromatic patterns

i. Miscellaneous scales

In addition to diatonic major and harmonic minor modes, there are

numerous other scales that a guitarist may find useful and should be familiar

with. These include the following:

a. Whole-tone scale

b. Diminished scale

c. Jazz 8-tone scale

d. Melodic minor scale

See the examples on the following page.

As this book is not intended primarily as a scale dictionary, this is a

very small and incomplete list of additional scales. For further scale

material, feel free to consult books such as “The Guitar Grimoire” series

by Adam Kadmon, and Nicholas Slonimsky’s “Thesaurus of Scales and

Melodic Patterns.”

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ii. Complex chromatic patterns

Complex chromatic patterns may be defined as sequences of notes

that meet one or both of the following criteria:

a. combines two or more simple chromatic patterns

b. occupies more than one position on the guitar neck.

The following pages show four examples of fretboard patterns that

meet this description.

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III. BASIC BLUES TUTORIAL

1. Blues Scales

Playing the blues is a time-honored tradition among electric guitarists,

and is perhaps the most fundamental medium for exploring improvisation,

regardless of skill level. The blues requires a unique melodic approach that

relies predominantly on a traditional pentatonic vocabulary, deeply rooted in

gospel music and imitative of the human voice.

While the minor pentatonic scale is considered the core of blues

melody, the blues can be also defined as a close relative of jazz, requiring a

broader harmonic vocabulary. Consequently there are a number of other

scales that are every bit as integral to the blues as the pentatonic, including

several diatonic modes. The following pages show the most commonly used

blues scales in the key of A:

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2. Traditional Blues Techniques

i. Vibrato

Vibrato can be best described as repeatedly bending and releasing a

single note in a rhythmic manner, and is typically used to imitate the singing

qualities of the human voice. There are two basic types of vibrato:

stationary and bent. A stationary vibrato is notated as follows:

A bent vibrato is notated as follows:

The two most important aspects of vibrato are maintaining an even,

steady rhythm, and maintaining a consistent interval width. It’s important to

listen to recordings of established blues players who are known for strong

vibratos. Some guitarists use a rhythmically fast, intervallically shallow

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vibrato, while others use a rhythmically slower, intervallically wide vibrato.

Choose a guitarist that really speaks to you, and take note of the speed of

rhythm and interval quality of that guitarist’s vibrato.

ii. Bending notes

Bending notes is one of the cornerstones of playing the blues. The

following examples show several typical note-bending ideas.

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iii. Pinch Harmonics

Pinch harmonics produce a “squealing” sound which is very

expressive when combined with bent notes. Pinch harmonics are a derivative

of natural harmonics.

Natural harmonics can be played by lightly touching the string at

specific mathematical points ( nodes ), measured by fractions of the length of

the string. The most accessible harmonics are at the following points:

• 1/2 node (12 th fret = octave above fundamental)

• 1/3 node (7 th fret = octave + 5 th above fundamental)

• 1/4 node (5 th fret = 2 octaves above fundamental)

• 1/5 node (~4 th fret = 2 octaves + major 3 rd above

fundamental)

Pinch harmonics are artificial harmonics created by the picking

technique of snapping the string against the bony part of the thumb, just

above the pick, at nodes above a fretted note. For instance, when fretting

the 10 th fret, a 2-octave pinch harmonic may be played at 1/4 the distance

between the 10 th fret and the bridge:

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In this instance, the node would be located at roughly the 34 th fret position.

As most guitars have a maximum of 24 frets, a certain amount of trial and

error must be employed to locate pinch harmonic nodes.

A frequently-used pinch harmonic is the 2-octave node applied to a

whole-step bend and vibrato at the B string, 15 th fret (high D bend to high

E). This bend is notated as follows:

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iv. Ostinato patterns

An ostinato pattern is a melodic phrase which is repeated verbatim a

number of times for musical effect. This concept originated in European

classical music, and is used in numerous types of contemporary music. It is

particularly common in improvisation as a way of emphasizing an especially

powerful melodic idea.

Most of the examples in the section “ ii. Bending notes” can be

classified as ostinato patterns. The following exercises show several more

typical examples of ostinato blues melodies.

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v. Phrases

The following pages contain examples of possible blues phrases that

can be constructed from a combination of the previous scales and melodic

ideas outlined in this chapter.

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IV. SCALE SEQUENCES

1. Alternate Picking (Staccato) vs. Slurring (Legato)

Scale sequences may be played using either alternate picking or

slurring techniques, or a combination of the two.

a. Alternate picking (picking every note using up- and down-

strokes) tends to produce a clipped, articulate, enunciated

sound for every note (a staccato sound).

b. Slurring (using hammer-ons and pull-offs) tends to producean unbroken, fluid sound in which each note flows smoothly

into the next (a legato sound).

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These are not hard-and-fast distinctions, of course: alternate picking

can produce a smooth, fluid sound via quiet, precise picking, and slurring

can produce a clipped, articulated sound when combined with heavy palm

muting. For the most part, however, these two techniques are used separately

to produce the associated effects previously described.

Furthermore, the construction of alternate picking sequences tends to

differ slightly from the construction of slurring sequences. Certain sequences

that work well using hammer-ons and pull-offs do not always work well

using alternate picking, and vice versa. Again, this is not a hard-and-fast

distinction, as many sequences work well using either technique; however, it

does serve to explain why there are specific types of sequences that tend to

be associated with either the alternate picking or the slurring technique.

2. Alternate Picking (Staccato) patterns

The following pages show examples of alternate picking exercises.

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3. Slurring (Legato) patterns

The following pages show examples of legato exercises.

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V. RIGHT-HAND TAPPING

Tapping is an extension of the legato technique whereby the right

hand is used to hammer notes onto the fretboard, in order to produce wide

intervals and/or complex melodic effects. Tapping is also often applied to

produce greater melodic speed than is possible with the left hand alone.

1. Traditional tapping patterns

The following musical examples show several typical tapping ideas,

beginning with single-string triads and progressing to multi-string patterns.

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2. Adding tapped notes to scales

Possibly the most useful and inconspicuous application of the tapping

technique is to incorporate right-hand tapped notes into left-hand legato

scale runs. This approach has the benefit of adding another order of

complexity to an already interesting sound, and allows for an element of

unpredictability and speed which is difficult to achieve through use of the

left hand alone.

The following pages show several exercises for developing this

approach.

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VI. ARPEGGIOS

1. Sweep Picking Arpeggios

The single most common approach to playing arpeggio runs in

contemporary guitar music is the sweep picking technique. Sweep picking

means to rake the pick across two or more strings in a single direction to

pick notes on those strings in quick succession.

To sweep notes in an ascending direction, a down rake is used. To

sweep notes in an descending direction, an up rake is used. To sweep a

quick ascending/descending arpeggio, a down rake followed by an up rake is

used.

The following pages show several examples of sweep picking patterns and

progressions.

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2. Legato Arpeggios

Legato arpeggio patterns typically do not employ sweep-picking (or

employ minimal sweep-picking), instead using hammer-ons and pull-offs to

play two or more chord tones per string. The advantage of this approach is

that it is typically easier to play arpeggios based on 7 th chords, alterations,

and extensions using legato technique instead of sweeping technique.

The following pages show examples of legato arpeggio patterns and

progressions.

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3. Jazz chord/arpeggio tutorial

The next tutorial shows yet another possible approach for fingering

arpeggios. This tutorial goes through two basic jazz chord progressions in

the key of ‘G’, showing first the chord fingerings and then the corresponding

arpeggio patterns. These arpeggio patterns may be played using either

hammer-ons and pull-offs, or strict alternate picking.

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VII. COMBINATION TECHNIQUES

1. Adding tapped notes to Sweep Arpeggios

One of the most commonly used combination techniques is the

addition of one or more tapped notes to a sweep arpeggio, as shown in the

following examples.

2. Building Sweep + Tap + Legato + Picking Lines

The most interesting melodic ideas are typically derived by

assembling components of more than one technique. The following musical

example shows a study in which sweeping, tapping, legato, and picking are

all combined into a single melodic idea.

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VIII. CONCLUSION

I genuinely hope you have enjoyed the material contained in this

book, and that you have learned something new and useful from its pages.

There are so many topics and subtopics when discussing guitar technique

that it is impossible to address every subject comprehensively within a single

volume. This book is intended primarily as a general overview, and serves as

the foundation for books which are to follow, namely the transcription of

over 20 years of journal content detailing my development as a melodic

player.

Thanks again for reading!