In my guitar lesson Alternate Picking - Three Note Patterns I started you down the very important path of developing dexterity and independence of your fret hand fingers. I did this by showing you the unique, three consecutive note patterns that come up in diatonic scales, where you spent considerable time practicing dexterity-building exercises. In addition the exercises reinforced common shapes on the guitar which will help develop your lead playing skills. In the previous guitar lesson you were using all four fret hand fingers, but not at once. Now we are going to turn up the gas and really start cooking!
I am not sure why guitarists tend to use only three fingers on their picking hand. And how often do you hear a guitarist defend a habit - be it about technique, theory, etc - by referring to some known guitarist with a similar habit. "So and so only uses the first three fingers." "So and so doesn't know music theory." "So and so doesn't know scales and modes." Who cares about so and so. This journey is about you, and you are aiming to go beyond so and so - having the ability to proficiently use all fret hand fingers can only make you a better guitarist.
A lot of my exercises are based on building skills through repetition, so that the skill will become ingrained at an unconscious level, as well as ingrained into your muscle memory. When this happens, you suddenly find your fingers doing things you didn't expect. You transform as a guitarist when pushing yourself to develop a hard earned skill. I am giving you this prep talk because I know many of you will find the exercises in this guitar lesson frustrating, especially when trying to play at fast tempos. But just have trust in knowing that your perseverance will pay off!
Similar to how we looked at the three note patterns, let's take a similar approach with four note patterns. We will use G Major again, and start from G, giving us G, A, B, C. So on for each note. The below fretboard diagram shows the various patterns that come about when we start on each note of the G Major Scale.
From this diagram, we see that there are only four unique four consecutive note patterns. Do you see that? Notice how starting from G and D are the same, from A and E are the same, and from B and F # are the same. In terms of scales and modes, when considering the first four notes, Major (Ionian) has same pattern as Mixolydian, Dorian has same pattern as Minor (Aeolian), and Phrygian has same pattern as Locrian. The Lydian mode (4th mode of a Major Scale, which in G Major is C Lydian) is the only one whose first four notes are unique. Looking at the fretboard in this way will help you visualize how to launch into scales and modes from nearly any point on the fretboard - allowing you to really take your lead playing to a new level.
So hopefully you already mastered the three note pattern lesson and are ready to move on to some exciting territory by mastering these four four note patterns - let's get started!
Note: Due to the fact that four note patterns require considerable stretching, I start each of the exercises in this guitar lesson from the 12th fret. I say that because whereas in my Alternate Picking - Three Note Patterns all the exercises were in one key, this time around we are taking a different approach.