Think outside the box

As guitarists we often get trapped into our “box patterns”.  They’re familiar and we’ve gotten used to them.  But we also start playing the same licks over and over.

There’s two ways you can break out of the box.

This first tip is one that I learned in college while studying The Advancing Guitarist byMick Goodrick.  Great book to have around when you need some inspiration.

Take those scales that you know and practice playing them on just one string.  Go for two octaves.  Now do it on each string.  For me, this showed me some great transition licks to get from one box pattern to the next, and really cover some fretboard real estate.

The second tip is to learn 3 note per string patterns.  Yeah, the speed demons like to use these, but they’re good for all sorts of playing.  In it’s most basic form… Play the first two notes of your scale on your bottom string.  Then instead of going to the 5th string, stay on the 6th for the next note.  Then move to the 5th string for the 4th note of the scale and do the same 3 note idea there.  You’ll find you’re moving around the next a lot more.  And again, you’ll find lots of cool transition licks.

Try those two ideas out and you’ll be blazing around the neck in no time.

What kinds of things do you do to break out of a playing rut?

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~ by Phil Johnson on December 11, 2009.

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