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METAL GURU RUSTY COOLEY Killer Sequences


To make scalar, stepwise riffs and runs more interesting, many guitarists apply sequences to scales. But I find that many of the traditional patterns guitarists employ sound too in-the-pocket and predictable. This is especially true of four-note sequences, which often produce that stale, one-e-and-a two-e-and-a sound. Shawn Lane, however, was always experimenting with new groupings, and he is the inspiration behind one of my favorite patterns the sequence I refer to as sevens. To play sevens, youll first need to choose a typical three-note-per-string scale such as the A Dorian fingering in Ex. 1. Try it descending, starting on the C at the 8th fret of the high string. Now, play it in sevens, as shown by the sequence in Ex. 2, in which seven notes are played on each string. There are two huge advantages to this repeating pattern. One, youll find that sevens, surprisingly enough, feel very comfortable and are actually easier to pick than fours. This is because there is no string skipping involved until you start the next group of seven notes. Secondly, a sevennote pattern, when played over a 4/4 groove, seems to float over the beat in a refreshing, unpredictable way. Your listeners wont be quite sure what theyre hearing. Theyll just think it sounds cool. The key to playing sevens in 4/4 is realizing that each new seven-note grouping starts on a different subdivision of the beat. Specifically, the first seven starts squarely on beat one, the next on the last sixteenth-note of beat two, the next on the third sixteenth of beat four, and so on. The same is true of ascending sevens, which you should also master [Ex. 3]. Another cool sequence is fives. Lets apply this grouping to the A natural minor scale presented in Ex. 4. I play fives as shown in Ex. 5. Again, each grouping takes place on a single string, but this time the pattern alternates in the sense that the first five-note group starts on the highest scale tone on the first string, the next on the lowest scale tone on the second string, the next on the highest scale tone on the third string, and so on. Once you are able to really feel the rhythm of these patterns, youll find that, with practice, you can get them up to light speed. Eventually, you may want to try mixing fives and sevens in the same lick. Then, take inspiration from Shawn Lane and come up with new groupingstwos, nines, sixes, whatever you can think of. As told to Jude Gold g

EX. 1

A Dorian scale
III

= root

EX. 4

A natural minor scale


VIII

= root

Ultra-fast descending

EX. 2

Am
4

7
4

~~~~~~~~~~

simile

8 7 5 7 8 7 5
T A B

~~~~~~~~~~
7 5 4 5 7 5 4 7 5 4 5 7 5 4 7 5 3 5 7 5 3 7 5 3 5 7 5
EX. 5

8 7 5 7 8 7 5

Ultra-fast descending Ultra-fast ascending

EX. 3

4 =========== &4 # =
7 7
etc. T A B

Am

5 5 5 4 =========== &4 = Am
4 4 etc.

13 12 10 12 13
T A B

10 12 13 12 10

3 5 7 5 3 5 7

3 5 7 5 3 5 7

4 5

12 10 9 10 12

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