Getting Started on Single-Note Runs

The examples are constructed carefully so you ought to make an effort to digest them equally carefully. If you play blindly through each run your knowledge will end up fractured and incoherent. Optimal progress is possible only if you exercise your brain as well as your fingers.

Soloing over chord progressions requires not only that you know which notes fits which chords but also that you know what the next chord is going to sound like. If you are playing over a blues you can probably fake your way through even if you don't understand what you are doing because you have heard the chord sequence hundreds of times. Faking your way through Giant Steps, where the chords descend in major thirds, is a very different matter. Ear training is important so listen carefully to the chords, and in particular make yourself familiar with parallel chords (a major chord paired with the minor three semitones below). Often the single-note run will sound strange on its own so you need the accompaniment to make sense of it.

For each of the three scales, pentatonic, hexatonic, and pentadominant, the examples are divided into seven groups, numbered from zero to six, depending on the movement of the root note (the groups ht1-ht6 and pd1-pd6 are not created yet). Each group contains 24 examples, two in each of the twelve keys. I have recorded all examples with a click track and a piano accompaniment that plays the chords on the first beat of every bar. The piano accompaniment is in the left channel, the guitar is in the right channel, and the click track is in the center. The recordings are encoded in high-quality mp3 format (192kb/s). The tablature is available in four formats: 1) png (a bitmapped image that opens in a separate window), 2) pdf (for the free Adobe Reader), 3) gp5 (produced by the commercial program Guitar Pro 5 that I am using), and xml (MusicXML that can be read by other programs, most notably TablEdit which provides a free viewer. Be aware, though, that the MusicXML format does not include the left-hand finger numbers 1-4).

What to pay attention to

I encourage you to make a habit of using the clock notation to visualise the chords and notes. It is a lot easier to memorise 10-5-7-2 than Gb-Db-Eb-Bb.