Lead Guitar Advanced Sequences
More Examples, And How To Use Them
This article is a continuation on Lead Guitar 6 note sequences. If you missed it, you can start here for an introduction on 6 note sequences. Other articled will be linked below, which all contain full notation and video. Be sure you understand how 6 note sequences are constructed before reading this article.
What are Sequences?
Sequences simply mean, a set of notes repeated in a sequenced way. There are 5 note sequences, 6 note, 3 note, and so on. Players like Shawn Lane, Paul Gilbert, and Yngwie Malmsteen are just a few names that spring to mind when thinking of players who use these techniques. Sequences can be performed ascending (going up in pitch), or descending (going down).
The examples below will be constructed in either E minor, or B minor. There are ascending, as well as descending ideas here. As a general rule, construct your ideas based around the chord tones of the chord or key. For instance, if you are in the key of E minor, your sequence should start on E, G or B. You can also use D, the 7th of the chord, for something more experimental.
Example 1: Starting on the root of B minor, this descending lick will really get your hands moving. There are many ways to fret these ideas, experiment and find the most useful ways that are economical to you.
Example 2: A descending lick based on the root of E minor. Once you have your own fingerings ‘burned in’, changing the key and moving the fingerings around can really open up your playing.
Example 3: A 6 note sequence based on the 3rd of E minor, G. The previous examples were both based around the root of the chord. This one will position your fretting hand in different positions than before. Experimentation is the key to finding the best way to play these.
Example 4: The same sequence transcribed to B minor, based on the 3rd, D. Try using the pattern you learned in example 3 and plugging your fingerings into this one.
Example 5: Ascending 6 note sequence in E minor, based on the root. Approaching these in groups of strings is a good way to go. Playing each 6 note sequence on two strings, then moving up to the next set.
Example 6: B minor ascending lick starting on the root. As with other examples, if your fingerings are sound, changing to different keys shouldn’t prove too difficult.
Example 7: Starting on the 3rd of E minor, G. Practice playing these 6 note sequences as written, then one octave higher.
Example 8: The final example, starting on D, the 3rd of B minor. Once you make it here, experiment with repeating phrases, before continuing the written sequence.
Watch Video Below To Hear All Examples:
Tips for Practicing:
- Practice in multiple keys, playing them similarly but starting on a different scale, and scale degree.
- Try these lines with in bursts, instead of one complete idea.
- Always pick cleanly! If you’re having issues with playing these, slow down, really learn them before trying to ramp up the speed.
- Pull up your favorite tunes, and play these lines over them. Or, even better, create some backing tracks specifically for this purpose.
- Track your progress! Remember that these 6 note sequences are only one small side of the improvisation coin.
- Download the PDF of all the exercises, and add them to your practice routine.
- Jam with other people! This is most important. You will never know what works and what does not work unless you perform with other people. Something that works at home doesn’t always work perfectly in the moment.
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