Tip: Practicing Basic Patterns

Last time we looked at some basic melodic patterns used in soloing. We called them the 1 2 3 1 and 1 3 2 1 patterns. Please see the newsletter archives for the tablature. Let’s now look at ways of practicing these patterns.

Main ideas in practicing include covering all the basic major scale forms and avoiding boredom. We’ll deal with the “boredom” idea last.

We showed the two patterns in just one major scale form: the one with pinky on the root, string 5. If we’re going to be proficient soloists we need to be fluent in this pattern in the other basic scale forms. Presenting those forms is out of the scope of this tip, but you can brush up on or learn them with the Playing Guitar guide.

Learn those two patterns on the basic major scale forms. But actually, before you do that and possibly court the “what good is this pattern doing for soloing” response, let’s tackle our second idea for this tip: avoiding boredom.

We can translate (transpose?) “avoiding boredom” to “playing something more solo-like.” And *that* means playing the solo with accompaniment. To play the pattern in F major, you could probably guess that you could record an F chord, and play the pattern over that. True enough. Some other suggested progressions:

  • Prog1: F, D7, Gmin, C7 [repeat]
  • Prog2: F7, Bb7, C7. You’re going to get some funky dissonances with that one. That’s part of the fun of soloing.
  • Prog3: Bb, Gm, Cm, F7. More dissonance, but some of it kind of sweet.

And that last idea for a playalong “partner”: When you don’t have a computer or tape recorder to back you up, think “drone string.” Play the pattern in E major and play over an open E string. Then, play the pattern in B major, over the same E drone.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2008 Darrin Koltow

This first appeared in the Guitar Noise News – December 1, 2006 newsletter. Reprinted with permission.