Guitar Secrets
Guitar Secrets #7
Reprinted courtesy of Cherry Lane Publishing
originally published in GUITAR magazine 1984-1986

Altered Major Scale Leads

When you start to play leads most likely you'll begin with the blues scale played in the position of your bar chord. This means that if you start with a G chord you'll probably play in the position of the 3rd fret. When the chord changes to C you'll do the same forms starting on the 8th fret.

An alternative to doing that which gives your lead phrasing a different sound and feel is to work off a different position altogether. An altered major scale without the 7th and 4th of the scale is a common variation for lead playing. In the key of A start with your index finger on the 2nd fret (F#), then go to your pinky on the 5th fret (A). On the A string the notes are B on the second fret and C# on the fourth fret. Use your index and ring finger for these notes. Repeat the exact same fingerings on the D string for the notes E and F#, and again on the G string to get the notes A and B. On the B string the notes are C# and E on the 2nd and 5th frets followed by F# and A on the high E string, also played on the 2nd and 5th frets. A nice bluesy touch can be gotten by hitting a C note and bending it to C#.

Here's a riff based on this scale. Fret the E and A notes vvith your pinky on the B and E strings 5th fret. Pluck the two notes together with your middle and ring finger while holding the pick between your thumb and index fingers. Almost simultaneously, play the 4th fret G string pre-bent up a whole step to C#. In a continuous motion, bend back down to B and pull-off to the index finger waiting on the 2nd fret (A). Continue ta pull off to the open G string, then follow with a 4th to 2nd fret pull-off on the D string. End with your middle finger on the 3rd fret A string. Pull that note (C) and let it pop off to the open A string. A good place for this riff is in the 11th bar of a 12-bar blues progression, just before you go to the final V chord, in this case an E.

Guitar Secrets 1 | Guitar Secrets 2 | Guitar Secrets 3 | Guitar Secrets 4 |
Guitar Secrets 5 | Guitar Secrets 6 | Guitar Secrets 7 | Guitar Secrets 8
Guitar Secrets 9 | Guitar Secrets 10 | Guitar Secrets 11 | Guitar Secrets 12 |

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