New videos, new audio, and Stay At Home stuff…

Hey y’all, I know it’s been awhile since my last entry here. I always have so many things I’m working on that I don’t often manage to share what’s up with you. I’ll probably do a bit better now that I have more time on my hands. We’ll see.

I had intended to finish up on my “Burn at the Barn” story, and may yet do so, but not right now. D’oh!

The main thing today is, new videos to share, and notice of new recordings I’m doing, alone and with others remotely. The new videos:

1) “Just practice – workin’ on ‘Teen Town’” – Here’s a little snippet “edu-trailer” I played this morning (4/4/20 – Covid-19-self-isolation-stay-home day #24) of my arrangement of Paul Simon’s “Mrs. Robinson” I’m working on. Giving it a little different spin what with the hop-swing-funk feel and all. So fun to play, though surprisingly challenging to get all as clean as I’d like. For any fans of the 17 year-old Buzzy Feiten’s guitar part from the Rascals’ “Jungle Walk” from their “Island of Real” album, it’s in there towards the end.

2) “Mrs. Robinson – edu-trailer” – Here’s a little snippet “edu-trailer” I played this morning (4/4/20 – Covid-19-self-isolation-stay-home day #24) of my arrangement of Paul Simon’s “Mrs. Robinson” I’m working on. Giving it a little different spin what with the hop-swing-funk feel and all. So fun to play, though surprisingly challenging to get all as clean as I’d like. For any fans of the 17 year-old Buzzy Feiten’s guitar part from the Rascals’ “Jungle Walk” from their “Island of Real” album, it’s in there towards the end.

3) “Kit Guitar Practice Caged Cform 3-Arpeggio-up/3rds-down” – This video is a tid-bit from my practice, focused on 1) a warm-up exercise devised by Larry Coryell that I always start with briefly to get my fingers moving, then 2) a couple of ways I might go through the C form of the CAGED system, then 3) a combination of those two ways to go through the pattern exercise in all keys, though in this clip I only do a few to avoid boring you with an extra 20 minutes or so of repetitions of the same this in the remaining keys. If you want me to create the full exercises in the future, to play along with, or for whatever reason, let me know. If I get enough interest I’ll do some of that. I will be doing more of these with various exercises, concepts, guitar focused stuff, general music thinking, theory, whatever…

4) “Applying a Pattern Concept – Skip-a-note” – This video talks a bit about applying a particular concept, or “musical algorithm,” or a “rule,” or whatever you wanna call it, to patterns. The concept is to “Skip-a-note” from each successive note of a pattern. To do it, pick a particular pattern you want to work with, then apply a number system to the notes of the pattern, with the first note being 1, the second note 2, the third note 3, etc. This is done before applying the “Skip…” rule, or whatever rule you may use in the future. THEN, apply the rule from each successive note, from 1, from 2, from 3, etc. So, when you lay out the pattern note numbers with the concept applied, the numbering becomes 1-3, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6, etc., clarifying the sequence you’ll be playing with the rule applied. The beauty of it is that you can apply a concept to any pattern, and the more you do it with a variety of patterns the more adept you become at doing it. I could go on about the benefits of this sort of practice, but suffice to say just practice with focus, patience, consistency of technique, tempo, volume, attack and all as your first approach, then you can vary a thing or two at a time to focus on (volume, accents, whatever) as you continue to practice it over time.

The collection I’m recording for CD and digital delivery is a bunch of my original jazz-ish compositions old and new that have never been properly arranged and recorded just as I would like. Now is a good time to do it. I’ll be doing the guitar tracks and possibly some bass tracks, and there may even be a bit of midi stuff to fill things out (don’t know about that part yet), and I’m enlisting some great musicians I’ve worked with over the years to add bass, drums, percussions, keys and such here and there, possibly lots, to many if not all of the tunes. We’ll see how they evolve. Very excited about this!

Gotta go now. We’re gonna be working on expanding our gardening this year and we’re building a new enclosure for that today.

Everybody be smart, be safe, be considerate, be creative, and be well!!!

P.S. If you want to keep up with videos I’ll be posting more regularly now please subscribe to my YouTube Channel. I plan to be more consistent in keeping up this blog, and if I do that, and if you prefer finding out what’s up with me here, then, well, there you go…

Posted in Guitar Concepts, Guitar Instruction, Music, Recording, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Burn at the Barn

Getting Ready and Getting There

Perched high atop a high desert hill a couple of miles west of Mosier, Oregon, sits a magical barn, of sorts. In fact, it’s not really a barn at all. It’s a music studio and supposed storage space for an assortment of vintage and modern musical instruments and related supporting amplification and recording gear in the care of one particularly interesting musician/writer of recent acquaintance. Recently I was excited and honored to be one of the singer/songwriters invited to take part in the first Northwest Songwriter’s Circle held there at Burnt Barn Recording near Mosier, Oregon, a show put on for Don Campbell’s Burn At The Barn series.

It happened on a beautiful morning, that windy Sunday morning, atop that amazing vantage point of a hill, on a windy day in the Columbia River Gorge. Ann and myself and Squeekie the dog and Solo the cat were up and about our morning routine as per usual around 7 am. We had nothing special planned together for that morning, but, as is my preferred habit before a show, especially when it promises to be one of those special days when a gig is pending that will bring a crowd of appreciative listeners to a concert venue, rather than the common case of a bar or winery or other noisy hub of humanity where folks are there to hang out and do a bit of partying with music as ambience, I like to do my best to prepare with a relaxed series of mind-cleansing, self- centering meditational visualization and semi-pampering in an effort to maximize each one of these relatively rare treats of creative performance that fulfill a couple of my most heart-felt desires… or something like that.

As it went along our morning’s events evolved organically, starting with the usual Ann and dog and cat parade to take the dog out to do her “outside” thing, followed by tea and coffee and reading and cleaning the cat box and watering our mini-garden and porch surrounds and all before a nice breakfast, in my case begun with a bowl of cereal with flaxseed, home-grown strawberries and almond milk, then in both of our cases finished with a chicken maple sausage scramble. Mmmmm… a great way to get the day’s mood off and running in a positive direction.

After breakfast I cleaned up my Bob Dill guitar, my favorite instrument ever, and put a fresh set of Elixir HD strings on her. I knew Bob and Alexa were coming to the show, and I thought I’d try to put a smile on their faces by shining up Bob’s masterful creation. I trimmed the extra length of the new strings away and pulled on the new strings a bit to settle them in, then I tuned her up and put her through a few paces on the songs I planned to play. It felt great, and I was ready to go.

We headed out early enough to get a bite on the way at a favorite lunch spot of ours called River Daze in Hood River. We like to get one of their great sandwiches and eat only half and box the rest for convenient consumption later. The food there is really good, and due to their popularity, they can be a bit slow, which is often the case with places that consistently make good food, but we timed it just right, luckily, and we had our meal and ate it too within a reasonable time frame, so we were actually a touch ahead of schedule. So we stopped by the little bookstore next door and picked up a few dollar books by John Dunning, Isaac Asimov and Veronica Roth. Good finds. Then it was time to head to the Barn.

We had never been to the place and we were excited to explore the promise of the event and the studio,. We headed to Mosier with open minds and hearts. We took the exit and curled around on the road east out of town that started climbing up a gravel road, and drove up, and up, and up some more, revealing more and more of the landscape surrounding, with high desert hills to the south and the Columbia River to the north. As we neared the place the surrounding earth fell away to the south and as we pulled into the lot to park near the house it was a but a scant 10 yards or so to the northern edge that fell away to a spectacular view of the Columbia and Bingen and White Salmon across the river.

I don’t know how often the wind blows that strong up there, but it was cooking when we arrived. We had no sooner parked than our friend Chic, another of the featured singer/songwriters, pulled up to park right next to us, dust blowing heartily as we exchanged warm greetings. As we pulled out our guitars and gear from our cars and headed down to the Barn studio just below the south side of the place we had to hang on tight as the wind buffeted and banged guitars into us and threatened to tear them out of our hands. With heroic strength we managed to hold on to all and make our way to the studio.

Next time: The Concert

Posted in Concert, Fingerstyle Guitar, Music, Recording, Singer/Songwriter, Songwriters Circle, Songwriting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I’m back… sorta.

Hello all. Long time… I have backed off of the online stuff for awhile, so there hasn’t been anything new here for some time. So, tell us something we DON’T know, right? Yeah.

Ok. Here’s the new deal. I have struggled with the idea of having a site on kitgaroutte.NET as well as my original site on kitgaroutte.COM, but since I want to keep the rights to both domain names, and I hate to waste one, I DO have a site on each, with some crossover. And, guess what? I actually have a third I still haven’t used, at Yikes… Don’t know if anything will ever come of that one.

So… I had thought perhaps I would just boil it all down to my .com site, but obviously I haven’t done that. I have a couple of different pursuits, passions really, that I work at daily, music and art.

I suppose I either A) use one site for each, or else B) I’ll have some mixing and crossing over. Either way I suppose it could be confusing for users. A probably makes more sense, but my Blog is really the one thing that may have to be a crossover thing. My provider for my .com site doesn’t make blogging easy, but WordPress does, and that’s what I use for my .net site. So… (again with the “so…”?) maybe the best thing is just to start doing stuff and see where it leads.

Got that worked out. Stay tuned.

Posted in Random, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


I’m excited and (dare I say?) proud to announce the release of my latest CD, “Captured.” You can hear a few samples here. It’s a collection of original songs by myself and a few of my songwriting friends, Moe Dixon, Scott Casey and Tim Schneider. At my Ann’s urging I recorded them as a solo singer/songwriter so buying one at one of my shows would mean bringing home virtually the same sound that was heard at the performance.

It is a completely self produced effort, except the inspiration, conception and the photo on the back of the jacket were from Ann Fleming of Fleming Art, my guitar was built by Bob Dill of Bob Dill Guitars, and the mastering was done by Damon Whittemore of Valvetone Recording.

I will be scheduling a CD Release Party (or two) sometime soon, so stay tuned for that.

Posted in Music, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

La Grande Visit and Gorge Shows

Hey y’all, I’m coming to you from the beautiful Grande Ronde Valley wherein sits the town of my birth and youth, La Grande, Oregon. This weekend is a family visit to my parents’ place, where my folks have lived for a good long while, and to attend a couple of significant family events. My little bro’ Joe came too for this Saturday and Sunday adventure. It is a 3+ hour drive and we had beautiful clear, calm weather for it. Along the way we were thrilled to see a whole bunch of bighorn sheep feeding just up the hill from the freeway between Biggs and Arlington. We must have seen at least 60 all told!

Last night, after we got to town and had dinner with Dad and Mon,  Joe and I and my Mom went to Lyle Schwartz Theatre at Eastern Oregon University here in La Grande, where Joe’s daughter, my niece Megan, had one of the lead roles in the play “Independence,” a theatre department senior project. Afterwards we joined the cast and friends for the after party (last night was the final performance). They did a great job, throwing themselves into their roles with enthusiasm and aplomb and we had a great time visiting with them after.

This morning we will be going to support my Mom, who has provided music at her church for 40 years. The service will be honoring her so we will enjoy being a part of it and seeing her receive the plaudits she so richly deserves.

After that I am taking my family to lunch to celebrate multiple birthdays that have occurred over the last couple of months that I haven’t been here to enjoy with them. That will be a hoot.

Somewhere along the way, before we head back to our homes in the Gorge, I will arrange to meet, at least briefly, with my friend and amazing musician Matt Cooper to pass along some copies of the CD he and I are putting out soon to confirm if the song order is good before putting the package together officially.

It’s always nice to get back to where I grew up here and reconnecting with family and all, and this trip is proving to be no exception.

Later this week, I have some shows.

Usually I play Tarwater Tavern in White Salmon every Tuesday, 5:30-7:30, but this week that’s not going to work out. I will be back at that on the 20th.

Several days ago I began a more rigorous practice schedule to prepare for Saturday the 17th, when I will be playing to 3 hour solo gigs back to back, first at Jacob Williams Winery in Wishram, WA from 1 to 4 pm, then Rivertap Pub and Restaurant in The Dalles from 6 to 9. That’s going to be very demanding physically, so I am trying hard to get in 2 to 3 hours a day of good, solid, physical practice so that my fingers are not destroyed in the process of playing the 6 hours on Saturday. So far I’m doing pretty well and anticipate being in good enough shape to play my best and enjoy doing it.

As a final note, I am really enjoying creating some abstract art these days! Right now you can see some of my creations on my Instagram site, and soon I will have my storefront going here on my own website.

Well, that’s all for now. Since I discontinued my Facebook presence I guess this blog will be as good a way as any to stay in touch, so come back often, and soon, and comment, and stay in touch my friends!


Posted in Family, Music, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Status Update

Since I have had inquiries regarding some health issues I’ve been discovering it seems appropriate to bring those of you who are interested up to date:
I have aortic stenosis, and of late a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease has been added to the mix. D’oh!
Originally my stenosis was characterized as “moderate to serious” based on symptoms and preliminary tests. After more rigorous examination and testing it has ben updated to “moderate.” However,  in the process of investigating why my symptoms seem a little more significant than would seem appropriate for that diagnosis, a stress test was performed on me a couple of days ago and apparently they found that I have cardiovascular disease.
These problems are genetic. Unbeknownst to anyone, I was born with a birth defect. My aortic valve has “two” instead of the usual three “leafs” that regulate blood flow. Two of mine are sort of fused together and operating sluggishly, and apparently have been my whole life. Most of the work is being done (and apparently done surprisingly well) by the one normal leaf. (“new leaf” pun anyone? ;-} ) Cardiovascular disease also runs in my family.
So, I will be undergoing a program of medication (beta blocker) and a 10-week monitored exercise program to suppress my adrenal reactions and strengthen my body so as to improve the effectiveness of my heart. If the program of medication and exercise goes well I should be able to stay on that for awhile, but if it’s not sufficient then a stint will have to be considered, and eventually (hopefully not for a good while…) surgery to replace the valve.
So, there it is. Such is life, eh? No worries. I still feel incredibly lucky to have the life that I have with my soul mate and wonderful friends and family! No complaints here. We’ll just take it a step at a time and all will be well.
Peace and long life my friends!
Posted in Random, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Guitar Intervals

What is an interval?

Simply put, an “interval” in music describes the “distance” between two notes. There are many intervals to describe the many two note possibilities.

The Naming Scheme

The interval names are named according to their relation to scale steps in a diatonic scale. The names of the “Major” and “Perfect” intervals are derived from their position within a major scale. The “minor” intervals are named due to their positions between the notes of the major scale.

Minor Second (m2)

The “distance” between two notes that are a half-step apart is called a minor second (m2). For example, the notes E (such as an open E string on a guitar in standard tuning) and F (first fret on the E string) is a minor second. Other examples would be the interval between the notes B and C, between F and F#, or between ANY two notes that are a half step apart (see fig. 1 below for a generic visual example of two notes that are a minor second apart).

Int_m2.jpgm2 – a minor second interval

Major Second (M2)

Two notes that are a whole step apart are considered to be a major second (M2) interval, as shown in fig. 2 below.

Int_MA2M2 – a major second

Minor Third (m3)

Two notes that are 1 and 1/2 steps apart are a minor third (m3) apart.

Int_m3_1stringm3 – minor third (m3) between two notes on the same string.

Int_m3_2stringsm3 – between two notes on different strings (other than the 2nd and 3rd string – see fig. 5).

Bstring_Int_m3  m3 – between two notes on the 2nd and 3rd string. This situation occurs ONLY when dealing with the relationship between the 2nd and 3rd strings (in standard tuning) due to their slightly different relative tuning (M3) compared to all the other strings. ALL other pairs are tuned to a 4th interval. So, ANY interval shape will appear slightly different when looking at the relationship between the 2nd and 3rd strings as compared to the shape on any other pair of strings.

Please note: Because of the staggering of note positions along the strings when using “standard” tuning, there is more than one way of visualizing and playing intervals. For the purposes of this article the focus is on only the most common interval shapes.

Major Third (M3)

Two notes separated by two whole steps are said to be a major third (M3) apart. Of course the look of a M3 could also be shown on one string but it’s more commonly useful to know the shape across strings for intervals between pairs of notes as far apart, or further apart, than a major third.

Int_MA3M3 – between two notes on different strings (other than the 2nd and 3rd strings).

Bstring_Int_MA3  M3 – between the 2nd and 3rd strings.

Perfect Fourth (P4) or (4)

Two notes 2 and 1/2 steps apart are a perfect fourth (P4). The perfect fourth can also be referred to as simply a fourth in common usage.

Int_P4P4 – between two strings other than the 2nd and 3rd.

Bstring_Int_P4   P4 – between the 2nd and 3rd strings.

Tritone (b5)

Two notes 3 steps apart form a tritone, or flat 5 (b5) interval. When talking about this interval it’s referred to as a tritone more often than not, but in chord naming (chord construction) it is most often referred to as a flat 5th (b5). It can be called by other names as well but tritone and b5 are the most common.

Int_tritoneTritone – between two strings other than the 2nd and 3rd.

Bstring_Int_tritone  Tritone – between the 2nd and 3rd strings.

Perfect Fifth (P5) or (5)

Two notes 3 and 1/2 steps apart are a perfect fifth (P5). Like a perfect fourth, a perfect 5th can also be referred to more simply as a fifth for the sake of convenience.

Int_P5P5 – between two strings other than the 2nd and 3rd.

Bstring_Int_P5  P5- between the 2nd and 3rd strings.

Minor Sixth (m6)

The distance between two notes 4 steps apart is known as a minor sixth (m6) interval.

Int_m6_2strings m6 – between two strings other than the 2nd and 3rd.

Int_m6_3strings  m6 – between three strings

Bstring_Int_m6    m6 – has this shape whether between the 1st and 3rd strings or between the 2nd and 4th strings.

Major Sixth (M6)

The distance between two notes 4 and 1/2 steps apart is known as a major sixth (M6) interval.

Int_MA6  M6 – between three strings other than the 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 4th.

Bstring_Int_MA6    M6 – has this shape whether between the 1st and 3rd strings or between the 2nd and 4th strings.

Minor Seventh (m7)

Two notes 5 steps apart constitute a minor seventh (m7) interval.

Int_m7 m7 – between three strings other than the 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 4th.

Bstring_Int_m7   m7 – has this shape whether between the 1st and 3rd strings or between the 2nd and 4th.

Major Seventh (M7)

Two notes 5 and 1/2 steps apart is a major seventh (M7).

Int_MA7M7 – between three strings other than the 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 4th.

Bstring_Int_MA7 M7 – has this shape whether between the 1st and 3rd strings or between the 2nd and 4th.

Octave (8va)

Two notes 6 steps apart is an octave (8va).

Int_8va_3strings8va – between three strings other than the 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 4th.

Int_8va_4strings8va- between four strings other than the 1st and 4th or the 2nd and 5th strings.

Bstring_Int_8va  8va – has this shape whether between the 1st and 3rd strings or between the 2nd and 4th.

Int_8va_4B28va – has this shape whether between the 1st and 4th or the 2nd and 5th strings.

First Things First

It’s important to understand that, on it’s own, an interval is simply the measure of the distance between two notes. The goal is to get to where you know the following well before integrating them further.

  1. m2, M2, m3, M3, P4, tritone, P5, m6, M6, m7, M7, 8va is the order in which the intervals increase.
  2.  they increase by 1/2 step (M2 is bigger than a m2 by a 1/2 step, m3 is bigger than a M2 by a 1/2 step, etc…)
  3. the visual shapes of each interval as shown should become familiar enough that you can use them easily when you begin to use them in chord construction and other musical ways.

Tip: knowing how many steps each interval has is secondary to understanding and recognizing the shapes, so I wouldn’t worry about that beyond the small intervals (m2, M2, m3, Ma3).

Why A Shape-based, Relational Approach?

The goal here is not to replace intervals as a function of notes as written on paper and by their letter names, but to prioritize the development of a visual, shape oriented system in order to more quickly and easily apply intervals to understanding chord construction, the harmonized major scale and other musical concepts. Ideally, a holistic understanding of all tools that can be used in the pursuit of musical mastery will still be the ultimate goal, but a pattern-shape-form-locational-relationship based approach will speed up the process of gaining facility and form the basis for a solid foundation upon which to build a more traditional theoretical knowledge.

Understanding the patterns, shapes, forms, locations and relationships in music will give you a powerful familiarity with the how and why of musical foundational structures and how to use them efficiently and effectively. Then, adding theoretical and literal knowledge will add richness and depth over time.

Posted in Guitar Concepts, Guitar Instruction, intervals, Music Theory, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Harmonized Major Scale Basics

What is a Major Key?

A major key is made up of the notes of the major scale, with the first note being the same note as the key. For example, the key of C is made up of the notes of the C major scale, which starts on the note C.

The Major Scale “Formula”

The “formula” that describes the distances between the notes of a major scale as a sequence of steps and half-steps is: 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1, 1/2.

The Harmonized Major Scale is…

…a series of chords built from the notes in a major scale by creating triads (1,3,5) from each of the notes of the major scale using ONLY notes from that scale, which determines the quality of chords.

The Quality of the Resulting Chords

The quality of the resulting triads varies depending on which type of 3 (third interval) and which type of 5 (fifth interval) are dictated by using ONLY notes from the major scale. The naturally occurring triads for ANY major key are the same:

I – Major, II – minor, III – minor, IV – Major, V – Major, VI – minor, VII – minor flat five.

Harmonized Major Scale “Guidelines”:

  1. Note names of ANY major key ascend step-by-step through the musical alphabet, cycling A through G as needed. (Note: This clarifies when accidentals occur whether to call a note sharp or flat.)
  2. Major scale formula ALWAYS applies from “key” note: 1, 1, 1/2, 1, 1, 1, 1/2.
  3. I, IV and V chords are Major, the rest are minor, and the VII chord is minor with a flatted 5.

Common Notation:

There are various ways the Harmonized Major Scale may be referred to. For one thing, Roman numerals can be used instead of Arabic numbers to avoid confusion regarding things like whether “7” means the seventh chord of the harmonized major scale, or in reference to chord structure, or quality, like A7, or Gm7b5 and so on. Roman numerals have been the traditional standard. In what’s now called “The Nashville System” Arabic numbers are the standard. So, here are some ways both number systems might be used, depending on who’s using it.

  1. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 – When assuming the user understands Guideline #3 above the numbers can be used on their own. When playing I chord it’s Major, when playing a II chord it’s minor, etc..
  2. I, IIm, IIIm, IV, V, VIm, VIIm(b5) or 1, 2m, 3m, 4, 5, 6m, 7m(b5) – This system retains the numbers but adds the chord quality of each chord.
  3. I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii(b5) – In this scenario a capitol letter designates Major and small case means minor.
  4. Other combinations of the above may occur as well. The main thing is for the writer/speaker and reader/listener to be using the same system.

Key of C:

I – C, IIm – Dm, IIIm – Em, IV – F, V – G, VI – Am, VII – Bm(b5)

Key of D:

I – D, IIm – Em, IIIm – F#m, IV – G, V – A, VI – Bm, VII – C#m(b5)

Key of E:

I – E, IIm – F#m, IIIm – G#m, IV – A, V – B, VI – C#m, VII – D#m(b5)

Key of F:

I – F, IIm – Gm, IIIm – Am, IV – Bb, V – C, VI – Dm, VII – Em(b5)

Key of Bb:

I – Bb, IIm – Cm, IIIm – Dm, IV – Eb, V – F, VI – Gm, VII – Am(b5)

You can find additional guitar, ukulele and bass resources at and Advanced Guitar Concepts at

Posted in Guitar Concepts, Guitar Instruction, Music Theory, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pattern Visualization for Guitar

Pattern Visualization as a Core Structure

This morning I’m thinking about how I use pattern visualization as a core structure to base guitar playing around. Please note that I don’t mean this is the ONLY structure or concept to utilize, not by any means, but it is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

We’ll begin with a few “mathematical” patterns that have the same fingering/fret positions on every string and that include open notes on every string.


The “Map”

In order to develop fluency with any pattern is to get the “map” of it firmly implanted so that anything played while using it is controlled by the “picture” of it rather than how it sounds. A good way to start the process of implanting the “0-1-2” pattern as shown above is to play it in ascending, then descending order…



A powerful ability to develop is the awareness of the conceptualization of the sequencing being used to play the pattern. Mastery of a particular sequential concept as a road map through one pattern opens the door to using the same concept on ANY pattern. In this case the sequential concept is “Linear Up & Down.” For more on applying a sequential concept to other patterns, check out Mathematical Patterns.

My experience with many, many students over many years of teaching has shown that at first people have a tendency to begin to remember how to play a pattern in sequence as a result of beginning with the ascending and descending sequence, which seems to be the simplest and most effective way to begin. Over time, as other sequences and concepts are applied, the map gradually becomes more and more readily accessible in larger “chunks” and finally as a whole until, in the end it becomes second nature to see it in your mind and move about freely within it.


Playing and sequencing 3 note patterns that include open notes:

Since our focus here is to explore how we can use 3 note patterns that include open notes, let’s look at another pattern that has a mathematical basis, using a particular sequence of note positions that is consistent across all the strings. We can call it “0-2-3,” with the numbers in the name being based on the fret locations.


The numbers in the graphic are fingering numbers, which are optional. However, if circumstances dictate, 0-2-3 could be used for fingerings as well. Fingerings are always dependent on logic and ergonomics.

Don’t Go By What You Hear

It’s wierd, I know, but for this stuff part of the point is to have a rock solid visualization of the fretboard and pattern note positions to develop your ability to stay on track with the notes, sequences, conceptualization and all intellectually. The long term goal is to combine this skill with your ear and all other skills to have a complete toolbox from which to balance every aspect in whichever ways best suit whatever situation you are involved in at any given point in time. This can come in particularly handy when using different tunings or other unique ways of using your instrument and complex musical concepts.

I can hardly overstate the giant benefit of using what you might call a “mathmatical” or “geographical” or geometric” approach (whatever works for you) inherent in this way of thinking is that once understood conceptually this process will transfer nicely to any pattern, scale, note sequence, chord shape, and so on, in any tuning, on any string instrument.

Another Conceptual Sequence

Now that we have established the “map” of a couple of patterns and familiarized with how to play them in a simple linear up and down, let’s return to the 0-1-2 pattern and approach it with a new conceptual sequence.

In the first step we established what the pattern we wanted to play “looked like”, and we applied a sequential concept to that pattern map that was simply to start on the lowest note and play “sequentially ascending and then descending.” That’s always a good way to begin with a new pattern. How about we add a little twist to the sequential concept we used first. Let’s add “skip a note.”

Skip a Note

There are now three concepts being combined. 1) The pattern “map.” 2) The “sequentially ascending and descending” idea. 3) The “skip a note” concept.

One way to understand this is to reference the notes of the pattern with sequential numbers, with “1” meaning the first note of the pattern (low E), “2” meaning the 2nd note (F – 1st fret of E string) and so on. Skipping a note from each note in succession can now be described as 1 through 12 when ascending and then the numbers can be reversed when descending. Alternatively the numbers could be kept consistent whether ascending (1-12) or descending (12-1). Whichever works better.

For example, a “1-3” pattern (note positions a whole-step apart on the same frets on every string) numbered with this sequential number system showing the order of notes looks like this in ascending order:


…and like this when the numbers are reversed  in descending order:


For any new pattern simply use the same numbering system to map the “Skip a Note” concept, or whatever sequential concept you wish to use (such as “3 in a row” from each note) onto the pattern you’re using.

Goals and Follow Up

There are a number of goals that can be elaborated on regarding the concepts and information in this post. One of the most important is to develop your ability to use Visual Sequencing in a variety of ways and then be able to transfer each sequential concept to any pattern(s) you encounter.

Stay tuned. More to come soon…

Revised on Thanksgiving morning, 2017. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY!



Posted in Guitar Concepts, Guitar Instruction, Music Theory | 1 Comment

Strength and Courage with Love

Let’s be straight. Life on this planet is going to get a lot more difficult before there’s a chance it will get better.

We’ve let this climate thing go so long now that the best we can hope for is to slow it down, even with drastic and immediate steps to change the factors that are caused by humans.

I am NOT a pessimist. I AM a realist however. As ninety some percent of scientists believe, we are firmly headed down the road and to deny it is to deny the facts and resulting projections, or “reality”, as best as our most educated and intelligent minds can figure. I have to agree that it’s virtually undeniable. We are living it now, and I am sorry to say conditions will continue to worsen.

Many folks apparently believe that this is some sort of conspiracy, or exaggeration, or just not in keeping with the idea that the world is as we would like to believe it is, which seems to be the new mantra for so many. Rather than try to convince the nay sayers, I will simply express my profound sadness and anger towards those of this head-in-the-sand attitude since it makes me feel that what should be theirs to have to suffer because of their beliefs is really ALL of ours to suffer.

What will be needed is strength and courage with love my friends. Strength to live with greater and greater challenges, mental and physical. Courage to stay hopeful and work toward a better future despite the daunting picture the clear and open mind may see. And we need all the love we can muster to cope with the varied viewpoints that will ever resist bringing consensus to deal with things in a timely and effective way.

I won’t dwell on this issue in the days and months and years ahead. For myself I will do my best to be strong and courageous, and I will try to understand and love all life and living things with the hope that we, as a people, and in the bigger picture as a living system, are and will become what we do, and that we will somehow find a way to do better.

Here’s hoping for the best for us all.

Posted in Random, The future, Uncategorized | Leave a comment