3 notes per string blues freedom

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The best of Paul Gilbert

Did you try out Paul Gilbert 3-notes-per-string Blues scale patterns? Then perhaps you’ve also found them difficult to use when playing solos. The 3 notes per string blues scale patterns involves weird stretches and unusual fingerings but it's well worth the effort mastering them. These patterns allow you to use all the sequences and licks that you know from the Major / Minor realm, because you have the same amount of notes per string - And you'll be able to play incredibly fast blues runs much easier. Today's idea offers you even more freedom, the freedom to use these patterns where ever you are on the fretboard. Your number one blues scale pattern looks like this when you lay it out as a 3-notes-per-string scale pattern:

(You can find all 6 of these patterns under the “Resources” section on this website)

Expand your regular blues scale shapes now

An here's the idea: Instead of seeing these shapes as three similar patterns laid out in three octaves, you can use them to expand your regular blues shapes and create some pretty impressive licks, very fast. You wont believe what learning this will do to your sense of freedom when you play. To truly master this you need to learn to dive into a 3-notes-per-string pattern from any note in the traditional blues scale patterns. So no matter where you are in the scale you can go from playing in your regular shape to playing a two string, three note per string pattern. There are six 2-string 3-notes-per-string patterns that look like this:

Shape 01

Shape 02

Shape 03

Shape 04

Shape 05

Shape 06

The point is not only to learn these patterns, but to learn to start playing anyone of these patterns from any note in the regular blues scale shapes. So that where ever you are in those traditional blues shapes, you can launch into a three note per string shape.

Here's how to use this right now

Here’s an amazing exercise that will help you develop this skill in no time: Take each of the notes that you would play with your first finger and play both a traditional two string shape and a three notes per string shape:

Begin on the low E-string and play two strings of “normal” blues scale shape:

Then play a 3-notes-per-string pattern starting on that same note:

Go back and forth between these two shapes to get the hang of it. Even though you're playing the same six notes every time, you tend to change your phrasing pretty radically when you go from one shape to another.

Now do the same thing starting on the A-string instead. Play the normal two string shape:

And then the 3-notes-per-string shape:

Here’s the rest of the patterns all the way down to the E-string:

D-string regular pattern

D-string 3 notes per string pattern

G-string regular pattern

G-string 3 notes per string pattern

B-string regular pattern

B-string 3 notes per string pattern

The project of the month

When you’ve memorized these, start playing around with them. See if you can use the three note per string patterns to play some nice legato runs. Now it's your turn to systematically practice doing the same thing with the remaining four of your old blues scale patterns. If you can, do it directly by visualising the notes on the fretboard, or sit down and draw the shapes on a piece of paper first. Make this the "project of the month" and stay in each of the five traditional blues patterns for 6 days in a row, before you move on to a new one. This will allow you to learn them all in very little time. Here are five examples of licks that utilizes this concept. One for each of your regular blues scale shapes:

3 Notes Per String Blues Freedom Examples