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!

Understanding Rhythm

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.

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.…

 

  1. A couple of things to keep in mind:
  2. Practice this using all 5 positions of the minor pentatonic scale
  3. 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
  4. Become very comfortable with this sequence so that you can break into it (and out) at will
  5. 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.

 

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.

Happy jamming!