Goin’ Round Again

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For those who are familiar with Battlestar Galactica 2003 “re-imagining” this lesson may tread on familiar ground, er space. For those of you who are not familiar, jump on Whateverflix, or whichever service is your preferred purveyor of sci fi awesomeness and watch it now. Go ahead. I’ll wait. It is that good. One of the themes of that show is (if you haven’t watched it by now, you aren’t going to so I don’t care about spoilers) all things repeat. There is a circular nature to the universe inhabited by those characters. This cyclical property of the BSG universe was illustrated in the fact that history would eventually repeat itself, as well as in the fact that there were multiple copies of the same person (can never have too much #6) in the form of the antagonists.

Or to put it another way.

Oh no, here it comes again
Can’t remember when we came so close to love before
Hold on, good things never last
Nothing’s in the past, it always seems to come again
Again and again and again ooh again oh

Black Sabbath
Neon Knights
Sung by the late, great, Ronnie James  Dio

Science fiction philosophizing aside, a similar symmetry can be found when it comes to finding notes on the guitar. After I had been playing a few years, it was pretty easy for me to find notes that were an octave apart on the Low E, A, D, and G strings. Finding notes is no big deal on the guitar, right? Then a DaM* exploded in my head  about 5 years ago when I was watching an episode of the PBS show “The Piano Guy”.  He was talking to the camera about something while simultaneously performing these seemingly complex (they seemed complex to me at least) runs up and down the piano keyboard. He then explained how he was performing those runs. He was just playing the same sequence of notes over and over, BUT he was moving the starting points up or down to different octaves. In other words he was just repeating himself over and over. Sometimes it would be a sequence of 5 notes. Other times it was 3 notes. It was all very casual and nonchalant and after he explained what he was doing, the idea clicked inside my head and I was like DaMmmmmmm. I realized I could apply this repetitive technique to the scales on the guitar.

What do I mean?

To illustrate this point let’s keep this sweet and easy and take a look at the first three notes of the major scale as I like to play it on the guitar. Here are the instructions:

Part A.

Step 1. Play any note on the 6th (Low E) string.

Step 2. Move two frets up toward the body and play the corresponding note.

Step 3. See Step 2.

Congratulations, you’ve just played the first 3 notes in a Major scale. Play these notes over and over. Let your fingers get used to the stretches while your arm gets used to moving up and down. Change the note order, play around with the duration of the note. JAM DaMmit. Own those notes.

Now let’s take a look at where those notes repeat an octave higher.

Part B same as the first.

Step 4. Skip the 5th string (A). Fret the notes on the 4th string (D), but don’t start at the same fret you did on the Low E. Start 2 frets closer to the body. This note, and the note you played in Step 1 above, are, get this, the SAME NOTE. That’s right, these two notes in question are one octave apart. The same note, but on two different places on the fretboard.

Step 5. Move two frets up toward the body and play the corresponding note.

Step 6. See Step 5.

This diagram may help you visualize this. The green dots in the diagram show the fingering positions on the Low E string. The red dots show the fingering positions exactly one octave higher on the D string. Play around with these notes. Improvise. Then play the same lick an octave higher or lower. Trust your ears.

octave

This method can be applied anywhere there are repeating notes on the fretboard. If you are already familiar with the different ways to find octaves, you can apply this trick to just about any spot on the neck. It also applies to most other scale shapes. I found using this repeating note technique is a good way to get around the fretboard and leads to a whole bunch of worthwhile exporation, allowing you to eventually get faster at finding notes up and down the neck.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

-Prof. P.

-Prof. P.

 

*Dumbass Moment – See previous post for further explanation.

 

For those who are familiar with Battlestar Galactica 2003 “re-imagining” this lesson may tread on familiar ground, er space. For those of you who are not familiar, jump on Whateverflix, or whichever service is your preferred purveyor of sci fi awesomeness and watch it now. Go ahead. I’ll wait. It is that good. One of the themes of that show is (if you haven’t watched it by now, you aren’t going to so I don’t care about spoilers) all things repeat. There is a circular nature to the universe inhabited by those characters. This cyclical property of the BSG universe was illustrated in the fact that history would eventually repeat itself, as well as in the fact that there were multiple copies of the same person (can never have too much #6) in the form of the antagonists.

Or to put it another way.

Oh no, here it comes again
Can’t remember when we came so close to love before
Hold on, good things never last
Nothing’s in the past, it always seems to come again
Again and again and again ooh again oh

Black Sabbath
Neon Knights
Sung by the late, great, Ronnie James Dio

Science fiction philosophizing aside, a similar symmetry can be found when it comes to finding notes on the guitar. After I had been playing a few years, it was pretty easy for me to find notes that were an octave apart on the Low E, A, D, and G strings. Finding notes is no big deal on the guitar, right? Then a DaM* exploded in my head about 5 years ago when I was watching an episode of the PBS show “The Piano Guy”. He was talking to the camera about something while simultaneously performing these seemingly complex (they seemed complex to me at least) runs up and down the piano keyboard. He then explained how he was performing those runs. He was just playing the same sequence of notes over and over, BUT he was moving the starting points up or down to different octaves. In other words he was just repeating himself over and over. Sometimes it would be a sequence of 5 notes. Other times it was 3 notes. It was all very casual and nonchalant and after he explained what he was doing, the idea clicked inside my head and I was like DaMmmmmmm. I realized I could apply this repetitive technique to the scales on the guitar.

What do I mean?

To illustrate this point let’s keep this sweet and easy and take a look at the first three notes of the major scale as I like to play it on the guitar. Here are the instructions:

Part A.

Step 1. Play any note on the 6th (Low E) string.

Step 2. Move two frets up toward the body and play the corresponding note.

Step 3. See Step 2.

Congratulations, you’ve just played the first 3 notes in a Major scale. Play these notes over and over. Let your fingers get used to the stretches while your arm gets used to moving up and down. Change the note order, play around with the duration of the note. JAM DaMmit. Own those notes.

Now let’s take a look at where those notes repeat an octave higher.

Part B same as the first.

Step 4. Skip the 5th string (A). Fret the notes on the 4th string (D), but don’t start at the same fret you did on the Low E. Start 2 frets closer to the body. This note, and the note you played in Step 1 above, are, get this, the SAME NOTE. That’s right, these two notes in question are one octave apart. The same note, but on two different places on the fretboard.

Step 5. Move two frets up toward the body and play the corresponding note.

Step 6. See Step 5.

This diagram may help you visualize this. The green dots in the diagram show the fingering positions on the Low E string. The red dots show the fingering positions exactly one octave higher on the D string. Play around with these notes. Improvise. Then play the same lick an octave higher or lower. Trust your ears.

octave

This method can be applied anywhere there are repeating notes on the fretboard. If you are already familiar with the different ways to find octaves, you can apply this trick to just about any spot on the neck. It also applies to most other scale shapes. I found using this repeating note technique is a good way to get around the fretboard and leads to a whole bunch of worthwhile exporation, allowing you to eventually get faster at finding notes up and down the neck.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

-Prof. P.

-Prof. P.

 

*Dumbass Moment – See previous post for further explanation.

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