Fourths, Fifths, Flash by Jean-Marc Belkadi / October 2002 Issue.
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 respective
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