Sunday, July 26, 2009

Half Step Cluster Paths

The half-step clusters can be played as a set of two patterns - or paths - running from the lowest string to the highest and, in the key of C, from the open strings to the 13th fret. The term path is used because it best describes the linear nature of these patterns.

Try playing the paths using this fingering (lowest string first, slashes indicate string change);

Phase One: [ 0, 1 / 2, 3 / 1, 2 / 3, 4 / 1, 2 / 3, 4 ]

Phase Two: [ 1, 2 / 1, 2 / 3, 4 / 1, 2 / 3, 4 / 3, 4 ]

The first path, called Phase One, ascends from the open 6th string, beginning on the IIIrd scale degree of the key (bottom E) and ends at the 8th fret of the 1st string at the Tonic (C). Phase Two ascends from the 7th fret of the 6th string on the VIIth scale degree (B), and ends at the 13th fret of the 1st string, on the IVth scale degree (F). Notice that the fret positions of the end of Phase One coincide with the beginning of Phase Two, and that the end of Phase Two at the 12th and 13th frets on the 1st string coincides with a repeat of the same two notes on the 6th string. These bottom string notes then become the beginning of Phase One again.

If we transpose the pattern into other keys, the geometry remains the same, though the fret positions change accordingly. So, in the key of A, for example, Phase One, which begins on the IIIrd scale degree, would originate at the 9th fret of the 6th string (C#), while Phase Two would start out at the 4th fret of the 6th string (G#).

All contents of this blog are © Mark Newstetter

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