• The Imaginative Guitarist

Mode Practice Delightfulness

How is a practice technique made to be delightful?

By embellishing or improving the experience, the reason, or the benefits from doing so.

Let's have quick look at a couple of variables here.

Firstly, does the practice technique need to be a series of rhythmically equal notes? That is to say, do they need to all be the same length?

This is a practice technique, to infuse a sense of musicality into the muscle memory for the improving guitarist. The notes don't all need to be the same length, although it might in fact help to bring a subtle variation. After all, the idea of a practice technique is to bring variation to how the notes are played, so it isn't all just a series of adjacent mode notes that are used in a melody.

Secondly, should the practice technique begin from the lowest notes of the mode? This is often a useful place to begin, there is a visual and logical sense of placement by doing so. However something to remember is that guitarists often use the top set of three strings in a guitar solo, more than they use the lower set of three strings. So perhaps it is a nice idea to begin a practice technique from the highest E string first. And to extrapolate further, perhaps it is a cool idea to use practice technique whereby the second and third from the top set of three strings are only used.

Why do this? Musicality. It's all about the music, the phrasing, the interactive agility, the experience and the way finding capacity of a guitarist's sense of melody. Be that over a riff or a couple of chords, or a series of chords.

Here is a practice technique, or a quick description to be enhanced further: play E Phrygian, starting on the high E string: 16th notes: F G E F quarter note: G ... so this is a "phrase" that goes for two beats, half a bar if the timing is 4/4.

The phrase then descends down the mode, cascading upwards as it goes, so to speak. Again, the idea that talking about music is like dancing about architecture becomes so obvious here. So to make things more sensible, the technique shall be transcribed on staff and tablature.

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