Unlocking the Neck: part 4

After spending the past two weeks looking at session work, lets get back into playing. This week we will move on to part 4 or in other words the 4th string or “D.” If anyone needs a refresher on what this series of posts are all about or wants a refresher on the key and point of what we’re doing, please refer to parts 1-3 of Unlocking the Neck. It’s important to read and understand all of these parts, as they all work together to enable you to unlock the neck!

Part 4 of  Unlocking the Neck will get you on your way to knowing the neck like a pro!

The D string

D — 0 2 3 5 7 9 10 12 14 15 17 19 21

Just as with the other three lessons, I want you to practice the sequences… ascending up and then back down the neck as follows, FOUR TIMES EACH. Please use alternate picking! If you’ve been following these posts, then you know that I like to use repetition to gain confidence and knowledge on the neck.

D —- 0 2 3 (4 times)
2 3 5 (4 times)
3 5 7 (4 times)
5 7 9 (4 times)
7 9 10 (4 times)
9 10 12 (4 times)
10 12 14 (4 times)
12 14 15 (4 times)
14 15 17 (4 times)
15 17 19 (4 times)
17 19 21 (4 times)

Now descend the neck

21 19 17 (4 times)
19 17 15 (4 times)
17 15 14 (4 times)
15 14 12 (4times)
14 12 10 (4 times)
12 10 9 (4 times)
10 9 7 (4 times)
9 7 5 (4 times)
7 5 3 (4 times)
5 3 2 (4 times)
3 2 0 (4 times)

We now have the top 4 strings mapped out as follows

E– 0 1 3 5 7 8 10 12 13 15 17 19 20
B– 0 1 3 5 6 8 10 12 13 15 17 18 20
G– 0 2 4 5 7 9 10 12 14 16 17 19 21
D –0 2 3 5 7 9 10 12 14 15 17 19 21

Enough talking, lets play! Follow these licks as closely as you can, but remember to experiment and stray so you can learn the neck. After all, that is what we are here for!

E 8 5 7 8
B 8 5 6 5 6 8 10
G 7 5
D 5 7 5 7

E 12 13 15 12 13 12
B 15 13 15 12 13 15 12 13 15 12 13
G
14 12 14
D
12 14

Remember that beginning and resolving on the three notes that make up the first chord of the key you are in is essential. Since we are in A minor, those notes are A, C and E. In the first lick above, I began and ended on the note A or the root note. In the second example I used E, or the 5th. Experiment with this and you will play those “money” notes every time.

For the next example, lets do some insane three note per string diatonic passages. Remember to use a metronome on these passages so they are in time and the notes are spaced out evenly.

E 3 5 7 5 7 8
B 3 5 6 5 6 8
G 2 4 5 4 5 7
D 2 3 5 3 5 7

E 7 8 10
8 10 12
B 6 8 10 8 10 12
G 5 7 9 7 9 10
D 5 7 9 7 9 10

Great! So we end by resolving to E, or the 5th. I like to do this a lot when I play to give it an interesting sound for resolution. Landing on the root note is a great choice as well, but the 3rd or 5th leads your ear to recognize something interesting about the note choice. As you can see these three note per string scales are just following the patterns I have drawn up in today’s lessons and prior lessons. All you are doing is taking what you have learned so far and expanding on it. So keep expanding and get back next week when we get to the A string. Pretty soon we will know the whole neck in the key of A minor. After that, you will be blazing up and down the neck like a seasoned pro!

Thanks for reading.

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  • cool lesson brian! I’ll be giving it a try tonight, tomorrow, the next day…

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