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  • Writer's pictureKeith L. Cooper (guitar)

Connect-Four: Chord, Scale, Arpeggio, & Pentatonic Relationships

I. An indisputable way for knowledge and application of the fretboard, technical practice, improvisation, and composition, is to internalize patterns relating to a tonality. We can think of this as an “algorithm” for musicianship. Or, if you remember the game Connect-4 (Milton Bradley), you’ll have an idea that each chip has to line up with the others in a horizontal, vertical, or a diagonal way. Similarly, the same concept relating to guitar technique is extremely practical for many reasons. These include the economy of motion[1] and technical fluency relating to fingering positions. These studies can develop razor-sharp functionality with proper fingerings - and will increase your confidence as a player of rock, blues, jazz, and worship music, as they’re all applicable in these respective styles. We will start with 6th-string root major tonalities.

The following study is in G major and includes the chord, scale, major arpeggio (rockers), (or) major 7th arpeggio (for jazz-ers), and the major Pentatonic. We are going to link all of these elements together. It is vital you follow the recommended articulation, fingering and the picking patterns. Why; (remember) economy and fluency!

II. Finally, the chords at the bottom relate to each other in major tonality. There are four shapes rooted from the third-fret. Some chords are “rootless” and are often called extensions. Chord extensions relate to notes added to a chord above the 7th; 9, 11, 13. These shapes can be used, most of the time, when comping with a Major 7 chord; in this case, G. These allow us to create additional harmonic structures when comping, as opposed to staying on the same chord for several measures. Have a blast and keep up the non-negotiable daily practice! - Coop 🎸

[1] Little, Jerome B. "Ergonomic string instrument." U.S. Patent No. 6,034,308. 7 Mar. 2000.

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