Wild Stringdom with John Petrucci: Visualizing Melodic Shapes on the Fretboard

by John Petrucci
Posted Dec 4, 2013 at 6:14am

These videos are bonus content related to the January 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

This month, I’d like to delve deeper into concepts for expanding scalar ideas across the fretboard. As in the previous columns, I’ll demonstrate how to move diagonally across the fretboard to connect scale positions, an approach that I employ to a great extent to play melodic phrases and solos.

Let’s start with a series of phrases that are all based on the E Aeolian mode, or E natural minor scale (E Fs G A B C D). FIGURE 1 details a series of three different three-note phrases, each played in a three-notes-per-string pattern and starting with the index finger. I begin in seventh position and play through the first six notes of E Aeolian.

In bar 2, I shift up to ninth position and play a six-note pattern that begins on the fifth degree of E Aeolian, B, sounding the notes B C D E Fs G. Finally, I move up to 11th position to play a six-note pattern beginning on the second, or ninth, Fs, sounding the notes Fs G A B C D. The high D at the end of the phrase is useful, because it can easily be bent up one whole step to the E root. By connecting all three patterns this way, I am moving up the fretboard in a diagonal path that covers a lot of range.

Note: To see the TAB for all eight figures in this lesson, check out the January 2014 issue of GW!


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