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Blues Guitar Lessons: Pattern #2

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Well, let's continue our march
up the neck through the five patterns.
You know these five patterns,
the so-called cage system.
I don't know who invented it, it's
a pretty cool way to organize the neck.
Of course, there are other ways to do
it and depending on your background
as a player, the lessons you've taken,
different methods you might have seen.
You might have encountered another
way of doing it and in the end,
it's all the same.
The point is to be able to access
any sound, anywhere on the neck, and
this one definitely works for me, so
that's why I'm passing it along to you.
But if you've got other ideas
that you picked up along the way,
the cool thing about all of this music
instruction stuff wherever you get it
is that, in the end,
you're your own teacher.
Ultimately, you have to come
up with your own system.
What works for
me might fill in some of the gaps, and
then you might fill in other
gaps from other sources.
And that's totally cool.
So, I look forward to hearing
your feedback about this
stuff along the way as well.
But in any case, where do we start?
We started with our old pal,
pattern number four.
And then,
we ventured up to the next position,
pattern number five.
And then, the sweet spot.
And that brings us to
the doorstep of pattern number two.
Now, in the key of A,
pattern number two,
happens to be the A shape.
Play A down in the open position,
move it up 12 frets, and
that's kind of the framework around
which we build pattern number two.
Now, as we've done before,
I'll walk you through the pattern,
sort of give you the idea of
the layout as it relates to blues and
then we'll talk about some phrases.
I think that pattern number two is
the second home of the down home blues.
Those kind of phrases were used by
some of the most influential
down home players,
Muddy Waters,
Lightnin' Hopkins and so one.
So, it really defines the sound and
that's right here in pattern number two.
So, we'll have some fun with that.
Okay, now in the A shape,
the lowest root is on the fifth string,
at the 12th fret in this case.
And the octave is on the third string,
up two frets.
that's kind of the tent pole
around which we hang this thing.
I've got the root there.
If I go up the scale.
Now, fingering-wise,
I can use my third finger,
second finger, fourth finger.
Or as we've done in other patterns, I can
start to shift fingers around based on
what's gonna make it easier for me to
create these little embellishments and
expressions that I wanna put on the notes.
So, second finger would work as well.
First finger.
Now that's the third so
I'm almost, invariably,
add something to that.
There's the fourth.
The flat five.
There's the fifth on the first string.
The seventh.
I can reach up with that bend
to get up to the octave.
So I can actually can go all
the way up to A on the high end
and go below the root there in the seventh
and the fifth.
So it's actually a pretty
comfortable pattern to play.
You work around the top strings there
and if you bend with your third finger,
then you're gonna reach over,
you have to do that slight stretch there
to get back to the fifth, but
that's pretty easy to do.
Some of the most common patterns we
find in pattern number four
When you compare the two, you see that
[COUGH] in terms of the geometry,
they're very similar.
Pattern number two,
the highest note you get is the seventh.
In pattern number four, that same
note would be on the second string.
And this is true of all the patterns,
is that they overlap.
It isn't that each pattern is unique and
you have to start from scratch, of course,
cuz we're seeing that the same phrases
can be moved from one to the other.
Some are easier to play in this
pattern than that pattern.
But ultimately, we're really
living in a one-octave world, and
we're just moving it around to different
positions on the neck and saying,
how could I create those one octave
phrases, more or less, over here?
What fingering do I have to use?
You know, but
the relationships are all the same.
A root is a root is a root, and
a third is a third is a third.
So it doesn't matter where you put it.
Now, before we venture
into the lower octave,
let's mess around with the upper
octave there of pattern number two.
As we have already done,
we'll do some call and response.
Just you and me,
let's play this thing here.
I will show you some of the licks
that I like that kind of echo back to
the real down home roots of blues, okay?
Here we go, one, two, three, four.
Just one bar
patterns for now.
Okay, this just a brief kinda run through
there, but you can hear those are all
like stone cold, gold plated,
down home blues phrases, they work really
well in practically any context you want.
Now the one I was emphasizing there
at the beginning is a double stop,
it's two notes.
First finger on the 12th fret,
first string,
second finger on the second string.
Now, that second string note there,
that's the third.
And as I always do with the third, I'm
gonna give it a little bit of something to
give it the blues sound, the blue note.
the essence of that phrase is
that you bend the second string.
A quarter tone without bending the first
And that built in dissonance there,
that's the deal.
That's what you want is that sound where
it kinda, yeah, you know, sort of vibrate.
And then you can sort of manuever that
sound in the context of a longer phrase.
So it's always kind of there as
a flavor to throw into that pattern.
Now, another technique that I used that
was a little different was bending on
the second string.
Up a whole step using a normal bending
And then with my little finger.
Reach over to the first string, and
while that note is bent,
I play that note on the first string.
And you can phrase that in different ways.
All right,
that's a common sound.
I'm sure you've heard that before.
And it just sort of creates a little
expression on the high end, and
you could actually follow that.
Reach way up for
that high note there.
Otherwise, we're doing more or
less standard phrasing technique.
That hammer on, pull off thing.
Right, the finger roll applies
here as it does in pattern number four.
Okay, now we're getting
into the lower octave.
So let's talk about how you'd
proceed down through the pattern.
Now whether we went to the lower
octave of patter number four.
We talked about a choice that you make.
[SOUND] You get down on that point and
ask am I gonna use that four finger?
Reach up.
[SOUND] Before I resolve to the root or
am I gonna go [SOUND]
slide down and
then resolve onto my third finger?
And it's a matter of where you're
coming from, where you're going to,
there has to be a context
to make that choice.
And also, the third finger on the root
allows you to have a little bit more
control, because you've got the supportive
fingering behind that finger, right?
Same thing applies up here,
this is really just a snapshot [SOUND]
of the same exact fingering pattern.
[SOUND] So I can make the same choice,
[SOUND] fourth finger.
[SOUND] Sorry.
[SOUND] Change position,
may wind up on the root.
Now in pattern number
two I can keep going.
In order to access the lower notes,
that's why I wanna make that shift.
playing exactly the same phrases that
I would play in the heart of pattern
number four, only here,
I'm on the lower strings.
Now playing the same phrase in two
positions, why would you wanna do that?
If you've got it up here,
what's the use of having it up here?
Well, it has to do with where you're
coming from and where you're going to,
as well as, another consideration, which
is a subtlety but it's very important.
The sound of the notes on
the lower string, [SOUND] and
I'm snapping them a little bit there.
Lower strings and the higher frets,
they have a unique quality,
because they're big fat strings,
and you're playing melodies.
All right?
In a position where you don't
normally hear guitar players play.
Down here the strings
are a little tighter,
[SOUND] plus you're phrasing
the same ideas on skinnier strings.
So they sound brighter,
[SOUND] you can remember hand ratio,
[SOUND] right?
Do that sort of a salary,
swoop up the neck, and
that's just a quality that you get from
the low strings that is just different.
So this is something you
wanna add to your palette,
doesn't mean you're gonna use it everyday.
Or that you're gonna go to that
spot very frequently until you've
really absorbed it, but
there it is, it's waiting for you.
Okay, lets do a little call
response in the lower octave.
[SOUND] Starting up here and
then going down a bit.
Okay, here we go, you and me.
[SOUND] Lets do two bar phrases this time,
why not.
Okay, one, and two, and three, and four.
on the A.
that's a lot
of notes.
But I'm just going down through
the pattern more or less in order.
Using that
lower end there
to my advantage.
Now I'm gonna use my fourth finger.
Right, when I pass by that note,
my fourth finger can
handle it pretty well.
Don't have to spend a lot of time there.
so on and
so on.
Now, what you find in that pattern
is that you've got [COUGH]
the convenience of that sort
of box shape first finger,
third finger, first finger, third finger
If I keep going I can actually
ship up into the next pattern and
I played the whole thing with nothing but
two fingers.
Which makes this area of the neck kind
of a popular one for that reason.
It's so easy to manuever, so
a lot going on in pattern number two.
Lets play with the track now and I'm
gonna play a 12 bar solo in the key of A,
I'm sorry that's pattern number two,
mislead you there.
In the key of A in the pattern of two and
that means I'm gonna stick
around the 12 fret area there.
And mine it to see what kind of
phrases I'd come up with without going
out of the position,
just to really dig down into it.
All right, let's see what happens here.
Yeah, all right, so I kinda worked
the whole thing from one end to the other.
I was in a way thinking a little bit
more technically than I might otherwise,
because when I say I'm gonna
play from here to here.
Limit your phrase, so it fits into that
framework there but as you can tell,
the ideas are pretty much the same ideas
that I would play in other positions.
This kinda leads us to a point
we're gonna discuss more later,
but to me the definition of style
has a lot to do with repetition.
How do you know when you hear B.B.
King play, that it's B.B. King?
Well, It's 'cause he plays B.B.
King licks all the time.
If he didn't,
if he never repeated himself,
you wouldn't know who that guy was.
Because it would be just, some guy,
he's just playing blues all over
the place, I can't tell who that is.
So the fact that B.B. repeats himself
constantly, is what gives him an identity.
He has a style, and the style is
based on that repetition of ideas,
that's just what works for
him, he hears it in his head.
Same thing for me, same thing for you.
As you develop a style, you're gonna
find that you repeat yourself,
you just like those licks,
and that becomes your sound.
So, when I'm playing in these
different patterns here, you say.
Well, yeah, that's the same old
stuff you played over there.
It's like, yeah.
Because that's how it's gonna be.
I'm not gonna try to alter my style
to fit the technical confines.
I'll use the sounds that I hear and adapt
them to the different spots on the neck.
But basically, I'm trying to follow
the trail that is in my ear and
my imagination.
Okay, now mess around
with pattern number two,
I've showed you a bunch of phrases there.
Play over that 12 bar, and just see,
can you get some of the familiar sounds
that you would use in other positions.
Especially, pattern number four
to speak to you in that spot.
And especially,
[SOUND] work that sound because that's one
you are gonna want to have with
you wherever you play blues.
All right, have fun with that one.