# Ideas Without Limits. Part 1

date: 09/17/2009 category: features
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## The Basic Sequence

Let us take this sequence of five notes as our basic building block: We may have heard this in a solo, or just came up with this while improvising. Either way, we have a basic idea and we want to make it more interesting. The first thing that comes to mind is that you can play this sequence with different time divisions, for instance in triplets: or in quadruplets: or even in quintuplets: Each of these three options has the accents fall on different rhythmic places, making the sequence feeling different. If you want to hear the difference, I prepared a video on my website where I play all the licks in this article and show some tricks on how to nail the different rhythmic divisions.

## Single String Idea

Just repeating the same notes again and again is not very exciting. The next logical step is to move the sequence around the fretboard. The easiest thing to do is to play the sequence while ascending/descending a scale on a single string. Here I wanted a Neoclassical sound, so I am using the A Harmonic Minor scale. (Blues players, fear not: there will be more blues-sounding examples below and in Part 2). You can play this pattern straight while ascending the scale: Also, you may `reverse' the pattern, always while ascending the scale: Here the licks are tabbed in quadruplets, but do not forget that you can play it in triplets and quintuplets too! Of course, you can use both the straight and reverse patterns while descending the scale instead than ascending. Is that all? No! After a bit of experimenting you may realize that you can alternate one straight pattern with one reversed pattern:

## Taking it on more than one string

So far so good, we have seen some application on a single string. Yet the guitar has 6 strings (or more) to work with. This opens a lot of possibilities: let us take an A natural minor scale with the following fingering pattern (the root note positions are indicated with a red diamond): This pattern has 3 notes per string, which is exactly what we need for our little sequence! So let us apply the straight pattern on a descending scale that way: Notice how playing this lick in quadruplets causes both the accents and the string changes to be `misaligned' with the beat, making the line more interesting. We can use the reverse pattern too, and the resulting lick is actually one of my favorites, great for flashy song endings. I tend to play it in sextuplets, so here it is: These licks lend naturally to be played in legato instead than picking every note. The muting of unwanted strings is tricky, though. In the free video I prepared I give some tips on how to play the last example cleanly in legato. We are not limited to a single position on the neck: inserting some scale fragments along with our sequence, here is what can come out: