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Getting in Sequence – The Building Blocks of Shred (Part 1)

Scott AllenHi all and welcome to my new column where we shall explore new and exciting ways to make you a better guitarist. In this column we will be talking about something I get asked about all the time which is namely, “How do I develop my technique as quickly as possible”? Two things will help get you there, one is scale sequences, and the second is a metronome. I will assume for now that most of you have metronomes that you use frequently, and we will turn our attention to the sequences.

So just what is a scale sequence? It is a repeated pattern that you will play through a given scale. The really cool thing is that they can be applied to any three notes per string scale pattern. We will deal with two notes and four notes per string another time. To keep things simple we will break down the sequences by rhythmic grouping.

16th note sequences- Straight scale, Groups of 4, and diatonic 3rds.

16th note sequences tab

16th note triplet sequences- Straight scale, Sequence, string skipping, string skipping sequence

16th note triplet sequence tab

16th note triplet string skipping sequences tab

32nd note- Sequence, doubled group of 4, doubled diatonic 3rd.

32nd note sequence tab

Once you are comfortable with each of the sequences you want to get them into a rotation where you practice each sequence group through all 12 keys. One sequence per practice day, so that you are always working with a different sequence group and key each practice day. The key thing to remember is that you play like you practice and if you overly favor one sequence group that will become your default whenever you improvise. It is best to have some diversity built into your stock licks. One other option is to practice each sequence with every key every day, and while you can make serious progress quite quickly; most people do not have the time to dedicate to practicing each day. (Confession: When I first graduated from G.I.T is usually practiced around 12-14 hours per day)

Sequences will do wonders for your fret hand finger independence, picking, left and right hand coordination, rhythmic sense, lick vocabulary, and overall speed. Use your metronome to start out slowly and gradually build up speed until you are a bona fide shred monster.

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