3-Note Sequence Ideas For Lead Guitar
In this lesson you will learn how to take a common three-note sequence and turn it around to create a new sequence for your solos and improvising that will perk listener’s ears and turn heads due to its unique, interesting sound!
At the end of the lesson, you’ll also find a link to a free E-Book version, which also has bonus examples and audio.
First, let’s compare standard 8th notes and 8th note triplet rhythms. It is very important to understand rhythm and timing. Many guitarists (self-taught ones in particular) often play lead guitar without thinking about timing at all, but mastery of rhythm allows for much greater expression when soloing and improvising.
Example One demonstrates standard 8th notes (2 notes per beat).
Example Two uses 8th note triplets (3 notes per beat).
Note: make sure when you practice Example 2 that all three notes are evenly spaced!
The Common 3-Note Sequence
So now that we have taken a look at the 8th note triplet rhythm, let’s try it out with a common 3-note sequence in the A minor Pentatonic scale. The basic gist of this sequence is that you play three ascending notes from the first note of the scale, then three ascending notes from the second note of the scale, then from the third, etc….
Example Three – common 3-note sequence ascending the A minor pentatonic scale.
Example Four is the descending version of our common 3-note sequence.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
- Practice this using all five positions of the minor pentatonic scale
- When you use this idea in your solos you don’t need to play through the whole scale or it will sound like an exercise – small passages are fine
- Become very comfortable with this sequence so that you can break into it (and out) at will
- An additional benefit to practicing these sequences is increased coordination and synchronization between your right and left hand
Turning It Around
Now we are going to turn the common 3-note sequence around to create something new!
In our first sequence we were playing ascending groups of three notes while moving up through the scale and descending groups of three while coming down the scale.
In the following examples we will play descending groups of three notes while going up the scale and ascending groups of three notes while coming down the scale. Let’s call these “reversed 3-note sequences.”
It may be difficult to understand this just from reading the above description, but it will be clear to you once you run through the following examples a few times.
Example Five moves up the A minor pentatonic scale while playing descending 3 note groups.
Example Six moves down through the scale while playing ascending three note groups.
Get the Free E-book of this lesson with bonus licks and audio examples.
Mastering the concepts in this lesson will give you some new, unique sounding ideas for soloing and improvising. If you find it difficult to play the examples in time, simply practice them without worrying about the timing at first. Then after you become comfortable with the sequences you can focus on the timing later.
As always practice the concepts and ideas discussed here to generate your own licks in different keys and with all five positions of the pentatonic scale.
©2010 Paul Tauterouff All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission
About the Author
Paul Tauterouff is a professional guitarist/ teacher in upstate New York. For more info visit Paul’s website.