Alternate Picking - Four Note Pattern 1

In this alternate picking exercise, you will start the journey of using all four fret hand fingers in playing the most common four note patterns that you will come across.

Congratulations! If you are reading this, then you are a guitarist looking to develop a fantastic skill - the ability to effortlessly use all fret hand fingers. This exercise might seem very challenging at first, but developing skills on the guitar is all about repetition, sometimes even an insane amount of repetition! But after you master this exercise, the rest of the exercises in this guitar lesson will be a breeze!

Alternate Picking - Four Note Pattern 1 fretboard diagram

So let's get right to it. In this exercise, you are playing the first four notes of an E Major Scale - E, F#, G#, A - which also happen to be the first four notes of an E Mixolydian Scale. Notice how this pattern has a distinct 'major' sound, which is due to the major third interval between the E and G#. By playing these sorts of exercises, not only are you building technique, but you are getting certain sounds in your head, which will help you eventually merge technique with musicality.

You may have also seen my exercises on three note patterns across two strings - Alternate Picking - Three Note Patterns Across Strings. In that guitar lesson, I also talked about the relation of the note patterns to scales and modes.  Between both guitar lessons, you are now equipped to experiment with combinations of three and four note patterns, which allow you to handle just about any riff imaginable!
Alternate Picking - Four Note Pattern 1 Guitar Pro tablature
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Guitar Lesson Exercise Performance Tips

Performance Tips

You will notice in the tab that I show two possible rhythmic approaches. When starting out, try and play as triplets - three notes a beat. You will notice that the patterns lends itself well to a triplet feel. Then when you are ready to build your speed to mastery level, try playing as 6 notes a beat (16th note triplets). As always, never increase tempo until you are already playing accurately at your current tempo.

Criteria for Mastery: Playing the Ex. B version as 6 notes a beat at 120 BPM or higher