Perfect Fourths are easy to find on the guitar. Just strum the open strings
in standard tuning and you’ll hear several fourths. Perfect fifths, too, aren’t
hard to spot. Bang on an open-position E chord, and you’ll find one between
the two lowest strings. Ironically, though these simple intervals sound cool
and are right at our fingertips, few guitarists know how to incorporate them
into their solos.
However, hotshots like Joe Diorio and Rodney Jones- perhaps inspired by
intrepid Jazz pioneers such as John Coltrane and Mc Coy Tyner- play
spectacular lines like the one in EX1. Starting on the end of beat four in the
pick up measure, this pattern uses descending fifths and ascending fourths
to surf the F major scale in a dazzling manner. (The pattern also works
in D minor.) If you can play just the first six notes, you’ve got this lick nailed.
To complete it, just repeat the same fingering three frets down, starting with
the 4th finger at the twelfth position. Voila!
Fuse the catchy riff from “ Message in a Bottle” by the Police with the
exhilarating head to Eddie Harris’s modal classic, “Freedom moves over the .
It introduces two new fingering shapes for rising and falling fourths and fifths.
Try these Am11moves over the chord shown here, or in the keys of
Am11E minor or C chord shown here, major.
Finally, see if you can integrate all three of these fingerings into a solo.
In EX. 3, the 12 pitches that cover the first three beats twice employ the six-note
shape we learned in EX.1, while the rest of the example uses grips from
EX.2. The amazing thing is how angular, adventurous, and “outside” all of
these diatonic licks sound-they add wild colors, yet never step out of their
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