Showing posts from May, 2009

Playing through Changes with Digital Patterns

At the last All 12 Notes Swing Jam , the topic of Digital Patterns came up as technique for navigating chord changes. Digital patterns are easy to implement and are great for getting the sound of individual chords and chord progressions in your ear. They're also good technical studies. What's a Digital Pattern? Simply put, a digital pattern is a specific sequence of notes. The major scale could be considered a digital pattern: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Here's the first digital pattern I was introduced to as I began my journey into jazz improvisation: 1, 2, 3, 5. This four note sequence is created by taking the 1, 2, 3, and 5th notes of the major scale. Application If I were in the key of C the notes of the 1, 2, 3, 5 pattern would be C, D, E, and G-notice the pattern has a C triad in it. It can be applied to the major family of chords, for example: C, C6, C7, Cmaj7. What if I'm confronted with chords of the minor family? To adjust the pattern to fit the mino

Learning the Notes on the Fingerboard

One of the best pieces of advice I received from a former instructor during my developing years was, "You need to know every note on the fingerboard." This seemed like a daunting task to say the least. But this instructor was right on! It's incredibly helpful to know the names of every fret on every string. So let's look at what it takes to accomplish this task. Open Strings To start, you must know the open strings of the guitar. From strings 6 (lowest) to 1 (highest) the notes are as follows: E, A, D, G, B, E. By memorizing these notes you now have a home base to work from for figuring out the remaining notes. Musical Alphabet and Natural Half-Steps The musical alphabet is made up of 7 notes: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. When you reach G you wrap back around to A. The distance between each pair of adjacent notes is fixed. For example the distance between A and B is a whole-step and on the guitar a whole-step is 2 frets. There are two pairs of notes that a