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Fretboard Patterns For Technique

Jim Heidinger (8553) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Intermediate · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

In this lesson I am presenting a few concepts that will enable you to create enough technical exercises that will last you an entire lifetime! It involves permuations of finger movements and string/fret positions. Once you are aware of how to combine the two concepts, you can spend a lifetime discovering new fretboard patterns to enhance dexterity and to open your ears to interesting new sounds!

Looking at your left hand assign the following numbers to your fingers:
  • Index 1
  • Middle 2
  • Ring 3
  • Pinky 4


Now any fret and string combintion can be assigned in a similar fashion in a four position block:

String/Frets.......
  • 1|1|2|3|4|5|6|
  • 2|1|2|3|4|5|6|
  • 3|1|2|3|4|5|6|
  • 4|1|2|3|4|5|6|
  • 5|1|2|3|4|5|6|
  • 6|1|2|3|4|5|6|


So lets take 1st string and frets 1 2 3 4

Assign left hand fingers to the corresponding fret position (east to do) and now play the following pattern seqence concentrating on finger numbers:
  • 1234
  • 1243
  • 1324
  • 1342
  • 1423
  • 1432

  • 2134
  • 2143
  • 2314
  • 2341
  • 2413
  • 2431

  • 3124
  • 3142
  • 3214
  • 3241
  • 3412
  • 3421

  • 4123
  • 4132
  • 4213
  • 4231
  • 4312
  • 4321


As you play this combination of patterns you will notice some are easy and some are difficult. Make note of the difficult patterns and work on them. Play them slow at first and increase speed until you are playing as fast as you can. Notice how these different patterns stretch your technique in different ways? This points to the fact that your technique is generally limited to familiar patterns and movements.

You can span the fretboard over 6 frets (as many as I can play anyway) and also any combination of strings (up to 4).

If you can see the mathematical possibilities in this lesson, then you are well on your way to developing a lifetime of exercises on your own!

The sonic possibilities are staggering. You can superimpose these patterns over scales, modes, arpeggios, random placements (my favorite) and come up with enough twists and turns to really keep your technique finely tuned. Once you find a few patterns on your own that you enjoy you can incorporate them into your playing with a little skill and a good ear!

Continued...