6 Note Sequences? How many are there?
Closing discussion on first 12 sets of sequences
So far, we’ve explored the ideas of improvising using 6 note sequences. A common question many students ask is, “well, how many of them are there to learn?” The answer is infinite. Generally, by using various melodic devices and experimentation, there are literally an endless amount of ideas you can generate and form into exercises for improvisation. 6 note sequences are common for shredder type lead guitarist like Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Frank Gambale, Vinnie Moore, Randy Rhoads, even traditional rock players like Jimmy Page.
Part 1 and Part 2 have examples of descending lines, based on the keys of B and E minor. Part 3 takes these ideas and reverses them into ascending lines. This article will also show a few more ascending lines, built much the same way as previous examples. The entire PDF for this article, as well as the previous 3 can be downloaded here for free.
Example 11 is in B minor, an ascending 6 note line, starting on the 3rd, (D). Similar to other examples shown, the device of placing strong chord tones on strong beats take a precedence over the sequence itself. B is repeated in beat three for this purpose. Stressing chord tones will help make your line sound strong and natural.
Curious students can experiment with NOT repeating the chord tone. What they end up with is a 6 note sequence that emphasizes C# on beat 3, D on the upbeat, E on beat 3, F# on the upbeat, and a bend on G, sounding A. While this may sound pretty cool, this pulls the sound away from B minor for sure. But, that may be what you’re looking for!
The final example is also in B minor. The device of repeating the root, B, is repeated on beat 2. This is the last of the 6 note sequences as presented so far. There are many, many more, which will be explored in further articles.
Click the video below to hear examples 11 & 12
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.
Thanks again for reading! Be on the lookout for more lead guitar lessons! Leave a comment if you have any questions!