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Blues Guitar Lessons: Pattern #4

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All right, so
you've been playing the five patterns,
the CAGED system in all 12 keys.
I'm sure you're on your game and
So now,
we're going to break that system down and
examine each of those patterns in detail.
Now, we're going to start,
not with pattern number one,
as you might think, but
with the most familiar pattern.
The one that we've been
working the hardest and
in fact the only pattern that we've
really been using up to this point.
Which by now,
you recognize as pattern number four.
When we play key of A in fifth
position right, remember that E shape?
In the whole scheme of things
is pattern number four.
If you see, one, two, three, four.
So in the key of A, pattern number four.
Right, all that work that we've done for
lesson after lesson after lesson has
been in that one region of the neck.
But we haven't even covered the whole
pattern, except once in a while we kind of
cheat a little bit by using
the rhythm patterns and so forth.
We cover more of the territory, but
we really stuck to the top of the pattern,
the upper octave, most of the time.
So with all the phrases that we've
learned in the upper octave.
It'll make the transition
into the lower octave
relatively easy I think
because you hear it.
And hearing it is half the battle.
So it's not just the fingering.
It's knowing what the sounds are.
So here's the deal.
We're gonna look at the lower
octave of pattern number four.
I call it down and dirty.
Cuz you're playing on
the low strings down there.
So if we take the basic
minor pentatonic skeleton.
Just the bare bones of the blues sound and
work our way down the neck,
in pattern number four.
There's the upper octave.
If I keep going,
exactly the same relationships but
the fingerings and
the position is a little bit different.
Third finger to first finger,
that's the root, that's the seventh.
The fifth, now we work those quite a bit
in a lot of the phrases we use, so
those should be familiar.
When I keep going down,
there's the fourth.
Now I have two choices,
one is reach over with my little finger.
Stay in position and
finally resolve down to the root or
shift position with my first finger and
then land on the root
with my third finger.
Now why shift position?
Because it's a little easier to manipulate
the first and the third fingers and
reaching over with the fourth
is sometimes awkward.
There are times when either
technique will apply better.
So we're gonna be able
to use both in the end.
But the shifting thing.
Is a very convenient way.
A convenient way to use the strength of
your fingers to help access some of
the phrases in the low position.
Now the first thing we're going
to do here is take some phrases
that we have played that are familiar
phrases in the upper position.
And translate them in
to the lower position.
Most blues licks, like the classic kind of
licks that make up a real blues solo as
opposed to just the technical
flashy kind of a solo, are phrases,
like vocal phrases, they're mostly within
an octave to an octave and a half.
That's the standard vocal range where
a singer can really belt it out, right?
So, we're not worried about phrases
that cover two or three octaves.
We'll get to that, right?
But, for right now,
that's kind of irrelevant.
So, we've got some really good
licks In the high octave, and if we
can just figure out how to take that sound
and recreate it in the low octave, boom.
Suddenly that'll open it.
So let's see what happens.
Let me take just a standard lick.
Now, here's kind of the mental
process that I found to be extremely
helpful in shifting around the neck and
seeing where I am,
and being able to sort of keep
everything glued together.
Instead of thinking of each phrase
as a set of fingerings, like that,
where I go first finger, first finger.
Or fifth fret, fifth fret,
eighth fret, that's all true.
That's what the tab shows you but that's
not really what makes the phrase work.
It's not the fingering or the position,
it's the relationship of
the notes to the key.
And we learned that way back,
is if I'm playing my shuffling A
that phrase has certain emotional quality
which is the fifth, the root, the seventh.
It just makes sense musically because
of the sounds of those notes and
the way that they group together,
I like it.
Okay now, to translate that to the lower
octave, what I wanna do is to understand
the structure of the scale as a series
of notes that are related to the key.
So if that's one and
that's seven and that's five,
if I go down here, here's one,
that's seven and that's five.
So if the phrase went [SOUND] 5, 8,
8, 5, 7, 8, remember that?
Ear training.
I can see it in my minds eye.
I want to find that same
relationship down here.
Well, there's eight,
there's five, there's seven.
So 5, 8, 8, 5, 7, 8, I can see it now.
Third finger.
Third finger rolls over as five to eight.
Seven is with my index finger.
Yeah baby.
Exact translation.
How about another one?
Starts on the root, the third, fourth.
Blue note up to the fifth.
Flat five, band there.
Flat five note.
starts on the root goes to
the minor third, fourth, band up.
Okay, where's the root down here?
That's why I want to move down.
Shift down, because that gives
me access to all those notes.
that fingering is much more awkward.
I can do it, but it doesn't sound right.
Now that one will work in position.
So you see what I'm getting at
here is that the relationships
between the notes
are the same in both octaves.
The only thing that's
different is the fingering.
So I can't play every scale,
lick, or combination in both
octaves with the same fingering, because
they're laid out differently on the neck.
But I can play the same notes.
So if I hear the phrase
I can find the phrase.
And the practice aspect of it is I want to
close the time gap between hearing it and
being able to execute it.
And that's familiarity.
Let's do a little call and
response in the lower octave there.
We'll just do it, just you and me.
I'll keep time.
And I'm gonna play a lick in the lower
octave and you grab it and play right back
at me and we'll see how quickly we
can kinda get a handle on this thing.
All right.
Here we go.
In the key of A, of course.
One, two, three, four.
That's a little tricky right off the bat.
was kind of
an incomplete
phrase there.
One, two and three, four.
One, two and three and four.
Now, I'll use the fourth finger.
Different way to approach the same phrase.
Here's another one.
about this?
Just changing the timing a little bit.
so on.
We could keep going for quite a while now.
So seventh root, third, fourth, fifth.
[SOUND] And in fact,
almost any lick I could play up here.
[SOUND] I can fake it down here at least.
Maybe [LAUGH] not so well, right?
All right.
So the string bends are a little iffy,
[SOUND] but all the slides and
other combinations I can pull those off.
Now naturally, each position on the neck,
each octave is gonna
have its own vocabulary,
that's comfortable in your fingers and
not every phrase translates directly.
But with a little practice, you can
figure out how to get most of the same
ideas that we played in the upper
octave dwon into the lower octave.
This is also true in open position,
by the way.
We've been doing this a little bit
already, like with the turnaround.
That Chicago style turnaround was
a great example of a lower octave.
That's on right.
Move that into the key of E.
So we're already playing melodies
down there, we're using the walking bass.
That's a melody in the lower octave,
it's just that we didn't
label it like that.
So for practice purposes, what you do
is take phrases that you normally play,
just your vocabulary, it's your sound.
You play in the upper octave,
pattern number four [SOUND] and
move them into the lower octave.
And then another way to practice that's
very valuable is take a 12 bar solo and
play just in the lower octave.
Limit yourself to the bottom three
strings, that's all you get.
[SOUND] I'll give you an example of that.
I'll play a 12 bar shuffle in A,
100 beats a minute let's say,
just a medium range there.
And I'm gonna play the whole solo, just
a one chorus solo in the lower octave.
Now another little technical note here
is when you play low, it's a good
idea to kind of bring out the dynamics by
using your bare finger or your fingernail.
So I'll do some of that,
just to make it more stylistic.
Let's see what that sounds like.
So I had a little theme there.
Just running down the pentatonic scale,
the blue note pentatonic.
I'll [SOUND] use my fingernail there
to pop those notes a little bit.
Rhythmically, it's the same solo
I would play on the high strings.
But because it's on the low strings,
it sounds distinctive, and
this is something that you can add to
your repertoire is don't always play in
the high strings in the high frets,
cuz everybody does that all the time.
And after a while it's like, okay,
I've heard it, I've heard it already.
If you play on the low strings,
even if it's the same exact licks,
suddenly it sounds fresh.
And some players have really kinda
made a statement Duane Eddy was called
the King of Twang, cuz he played on
the low strings almost all the time.
That was his identity.
So there aren't too many people
that do it all the time, but
some players do it very distinctively.
Freddie King, for example, as well.
So you can mess around on the low
frets there and have a lot of fun, but
now we've got the full range
of pattern number four.
So it suddenly gives you access
to this whole vocabulary there,
where the idea doesn't have to stop,
just cuz you ran out of room and
that's what we're really after.
The idea will go where it wants to go and
you have the skills to be able to follow
it, anywhere it wants to take you.
Mess around with that and we'll come back
and tackle another part another day.