The Importance of Guitar Scale Sequences for Original Guitar solos is often overlooked by lesser, more amateurish players. They don’t like it when you mention scales and sequences. It scares them right out of their little panties.
They were used back in the day… might as well learn from them. They were utilized in both the Common practice period and the Romantic Era. You don’t hear any of it in modern music unless you are into shred guitar instrumental albums or neoclassical music. Popular music has totally abandoned the use of the most powerful chord in the musical universe. The V chord. Thats for another article altogether. Today we’re gonna talk sequences and why they are good and also when they are not good.
After years of dodging the scale sequences thing I’ve come to realize the benefits. The benefits are for dexterity and fretboard knowledge. The reason to practice them is for originality and creativity as well as dexterity and fretboard knowledge. Notice that I didn’t mention Music theory. Thats because music theory isn’t needed when you use scales sequences. If you know your scales already and which to use over said chords, then you’re good to go.
There is an endless amount of scale sequences and you know where they are? They’re in your mind sonny. You just need a little confidence, a little bravado. You need some balls.
That being said…
You should only have one teacher.
You can have a teacher, but…stick to one. That being said…its going to be up to YOU to reach Mastery.
A Few Thoughts
When you come to know it, you don’t have the technical skill you wish you had. So for this reason and this reason alone, you should work your sequences.
String skipping sequences. Modal sequences where you go from one mode and skip up a fourth for example, to the new mode. Either up and down then move up, or ascend then slide up to the other mode by way of the 1st string and descend. The more creative you are, the cooler your sounds are gonna be, the cooler your soloing will be.
What I’ve come to notice is that there is no magical lesson that we haven’t seen before. We may come across those in the future but its all about INSPIRATION, MOMENTUM, STAYING ENTHUSIASTIC about this whole guitar thing.
So remember this and you will be just fine. YOU have to BUILD on your desire. You have to ACCENTUATE your love for this sport. If you dont you won’t lose anything, it just won’t be like you picture it in your minds eye. ENTHUSIASM going from one failure to the next is key.
Lets take an example. Here we are going to go from one mode in C major to F lydian on fret 13, 3 NPS (notes per string). We will go up and down and then slide up from the 6th string 8th fret… to fret 13. Simple right? Well, it may be simple but what can you do to it that will make it sound amazing?
Here are some things you can do…
6 Things that will Make Any Scale Sequence Sound Amazing
Whenever you come up with a lick or scale sequence you’ve got to believe in it, you’ve got to belong to it.
You’ve gotta feel like it’s really good and that it moves you in some kind of way. If it doesn’t, just say, “next”, and move on to a better lick. It could be the same lick though, and you may just have to work on the phrasing. Phrasing could turn a lick around and make it GREAT.
2) Work your phrasing
Phrasing can be anything from a slide to a pinch harmonic after a scale run. It can be the vibrato you choose to employ at the end of a run. It could be the dynamics you use, or the ATTITUDE in which you play the lick.
When you play a note it should be played like you mean it. If you didn’t mean to hit the note, then you shouldnt have hit it. Every SINGLE note must be played convincingly. This is why you record yourself. So that you know if you are playing the notes you choose to play…with conviction! Your scale sequences must be practiced over and over and over again for your fingers to feel comfortable playing them. Before you know it, you’ll be sounding good.
You should have a certain amount of skill that matches the lick you are going to play. If you cannot bend well or sweep well then you should work on these areas in isolation, then come back to the lick. You can also slow a lick down to a speed thats comfortable to you. Do not play licks that you cannot execute well at high speeds. Slowly work yourself up.
This is the most underused tactic when soloing I have ever seen. Rarely do you hear a solo on a record that is played softly and then really aggressively. Its usually one or the other. Its in the song sections themselves that they could be utilized and not necessarily in different sections. Descending and ascending scales and arpeggios should all be practiced with dynamics. Here are the dynamics you should use.
- Crescendo to Decrescendo to Crescendo
- Piano to Forte to Piano
You can use any combination of the above. Once you get yourself acquainted with dynamics, start to use them in your solos and you will be AMAZED at how good you sound!
6) What Sequence you use
You don’t have to use scale sequences when you solo but it is a highly utilizable technique. Hell, if Bach used them why not right? A sequence won’t sound great because if it doesn’t sound great to you it’s not gonna sound great to somebody else. It’s going to sound great when you push yourself… when you’re really creative with it and you add in some phrasing. If it doesn’t sound like a scale you’re good, if your solo sounds like a scale I highly suggest you add something to it like a bend or some vibrato to some of the notes. You can add some slides, change up the rhythm, skip strings and also use Rubato. (free time)
Its simple. Just not easy. It takes time but the concepts are simple. Keep it simple. Try mixing sequences. Heres an example – triplets on C Major… string skipping 16th notes on D Dorian for example. Now speed that bitch up.
Stay tuned fort the next post either later on today or tomorrow…