From 50 Essential
Building Leads with Repeating Licks and Patterns
BY KEN PARILLE
A sequence is simply any pattern that repeats. Guitar players often use sequences as sources for solo licks and as exercises for warming-up. As
you are learning the following figures, pick each note and use strict alternate picking. Once you have them under your fingers, then play them
as written (with the hammer-ons and pull-offs).
The sequence in Fig. 1 is based upon a G major scale (G–A–B–C–D–E–F ). To calculate a sequence, we first need to assign a number to each
note. Since players typically refer to the notes in a scale by their number, we will use the conventional numbers: G= 1, A= 2, B= 3, etc. A typical
number sequence is 1, 2, 3, 4 — 2, 3, 4, 5 — 3, 4, 5, 6 — 4, 5, 6, 7, etc. As notes in a G major scale, this translates to G,A,B,C — A,B,C,D — B,C,D,E —
C,D,E,F , etc. Fig. 1 takes this sequence through a ninth-position G major scale.
Another common sequence is 1, 3 — 2, 4 — 3, 5 — 4, 6 — etc. In Fig. 2, we play this sequence in a tenth-position C natural minor scale, going
from the root to the highest note and then back down to the root. You will likely find going down a little more difficult.
Fig. 3 uses the sequence from Fig. 1, but this time we use an A minor pentatonic scale (A–C–D–E–G).
After you get comfortable with these sequences, apply them to other scale fingerings that you know. If you try them on the hybrid scales, they
will yield some pretty unconventional patterns which are hard to play but sound great.
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