Connecting Scale Patterns (Guitar Lesson)

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Kris Norris

Connecting Scale Patterns

Kris shows you how to connect the patterns of a G major scale together. He also illustrates irregular note groupings.

Taught by Kris Norris in Kris Norris Artist Series seriesLength: 15:28Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (01:02) Introduction Guitarists can practice for years without gaining the ability to play up and down the fretboard fluidly. Most players learn a few common scale patterns early on. Unfortunately, if they fall out of one of these patterns, they find themselves stuck. In lesson 16, Kris shares a few ways to expand your knowledge of the neck and how to connect various scale patterns. The primary goal of this lesson is to help you break out of the scale pattern rut, or, if you haven't experienced it yet, help avoid it altogether!

Note: Don't be alarmed by Kris' 8-string guitar. As he has mentioned in previous lessons, he won't be using the bottom two strings (7th string B and 8th string F#). If you still are confused while watching, the Supplemental Content is written for 6-string guitars.
Chapter 2: (05:48) Irregular Note Groupings Some of the most common scale patterns taught and played use 3 notes per string. These are excellent patterns; they're easy to learn and widely used. However, it's essential for your growth as a guitarist to challenge yourself and extend the boundaries of your knowledge. This is the only way to step outside of your comfort zone, which will lead to new musical ideas and different ways to play.

6 Note Scale Groups

Kris begins with 6 note groups, which are familiar to most people who play 3 note per string scales. The difference here is that he groups these 6 note groups into segments. 2 notes are played on a string followed by 4 notes on a string. This requires multiple position shifts as you progress across and up the neck.

Exercise 1

He uses the A minor blues scale (A, C, D, D#/Eb, E, G) for the first exercise. Kris starts on the b7 (G) and then plays the root (A). Note his fingering; he plays the A (5th fret on 6th string E) with his ring finger, but plays the D (5th fret on 5th string A) with his middle. He assigns one finger to each of the notes on the A (5th) string, which requires a slight stretch. Go slowly, and relax the pressure of each finger as you leave each note. Kris mentions that the scale ends on the b5 (D#/Eb), but the pattern actually ends with the pinky on the 5th of the scale (E, at the 7th fret on the A string). Be sure to use strict alternate picking. Also, practice emphasizing every third note. You can also practice emphasizing every downstroke. Practicing both ways will improve your rhythmic feel and phrasing.

The benefit of this shape is that you can move the exact same pattern an octave higher (starting at the G note on the D string, 5th fret) and repeat everything the same way. Kris then moves the scale pattern up another octave, starting at the G note on the B string, 8th fret.

At 1:48 Kris plays the first exercise in the Supplemental Content slowly. It is then demonstrated at tempo at 2:27. Once you become comfortable with the fingerings Kris demonstrated, explore your own options.

Exercise 2

Exercise 2 (labeled "5 Grouping") features a pentatonic subset of the G Lydian mode. (G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G). Kris uses the 1st, 2nd, #4th, 5th, and 6th scale degrees to form a modified Lydian pentatonic. It should be notated that the 3rd of the scale, B, is omitted. This results in a scale that sounds more like and A7(add11) arpeggio starting on the b7 (G). For more on this arpeggio, refer to the previous lesson. Kris then applies the same octave shift concept from the previous exercise to this 5-note group. Since you're still starting on a G, the other starting points remain the same. Try beginning the exercise with other root notes as soon as possible. This exercise can be practiced as written, which is 5 notes per beat (quintuplets), or as 4 notes per beat (sixteenths), which is the next example in the Supplemental Content.

The last example Kris teaches at 4:33 is not in the Supplemental Content, but it builds on what he has already explained, using 4 notes on one string and 2 notes on the next. He takes the E minor pentatonic scale (E, G, A, B, D) and creates short, 6-note repeating licks. The first one he demonstrates begins on the E (1st) string, and he plays 15, 17, 15, and 12. Then, he switches to the B (2nd) string, where he plays 15 and 12. The notes then in order are: G, A, G, E, D, and B. Next, he moves this sequence up on the same strings, but uses notes from A minor pentatonic (A, C, D, E, and G). He plays 17, 20, 17, and 15 on E and 17 and 15 on B. These notes are: A, C, A, G, E, and D. Kris then alternates between the two patterns rapidly.

From a theoretical perspective, Kris is blending two different minor pentatonic scales. This works since the two scales have 4 out of the 5 total notes in common. This lick would work well over chord progressions in E minor, G major, A minor, and C major, since there are no F or F# notes that would conflict with these keys.
Chapter 3: (06:11) Connecting G Major In this scene, Kris explains some ways to connect G major (G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G) around the neck. He plays a typical 3-note per string pattern at 00:04, and follows it up with another standard pattern using one finger per fret. After improvising within these two patterns, he then begins to utilize much more of the fretboard in his playing. Learning the various patterns and ways to connect them can be overwhelming. However, it is ultimately quite liberating to be able to communicate your ideas musically anywhere on the guitar.

Note: For reference, open up the Scale Library, select the "diatonic" tab, choose "Ionian," and set the key to G.

Starting at 00:47, Kris begins his step-by-step series of exercises designed to help you play the G major scale over a wider range of the fretboard. You'll actually still be playing the same note range for the most part, which is around 2 octaves, but you'll be using new fingers and frets to do so.

The first step, which is measures 7 and 8 on the first page of the Supplemental Content, uses a 3-note per string one octave G major scale. Begin on the E (6th) string as usual, but instead of ending on the 5th fret on the D (4th) string, jump up to the 10th fret on the A (5th) string. This is somewhat inefficient from a physical standpoint, but the idea is to get used to the fact that the G note exists in two places. For some of you, this might not be new, but to others this may be a revolutionary idea. As Kris mentions, fingerings are not set in stone at this point. You are free to explore your own options or the fingerings Kris demonstrates in the lesson video.

The next step, which is measures 9 and 10 on the first page of the Supplemental Content and starts at 1:22, continues this approach. Now you'll play both the F# and G notes on the A (5th) string, at the 9th and 10th frets respectively. Physically, this makes more sense than the first step, but we needed that first step as a jumping off point.

Kris then gradually begins to add more notes to the higher fret region, leading up to 2:28, where he plays measures 11-14 from page 1 of the Supplemental Content. Now, he is playing the same scale demonstrated at 00:04. Now however, he ends up in a different region of the fretboard.

At 2:34, Kris takes the last 3 notes played (E, F#, and G) from the G (3rd) string and transplants them onto the D (4th) string. The finger pattern remains the same. Simply begin on the 4th string and shift up. This excerpt is written as measures 15-18 on page 1 of the Supplemental Content. He plays this slowly at 2:44.

Kris demonstrates how to continue this process by playing measures 19-24 of the Supplemental Content at 3:08. He extends the scale into a 4th octave, ending on the E (1st) string at the 19th fret. This is the note B, which is the 3rd of the scale.

The most important aspect to focus on while playing these examples is to say each of the note names! Don't be ashamed to say them out loud. This only helps reinforce the names by combining multiple brain functions. Consequently, you will learn the fretboard in a more efficient manner. Plenty of rock stars don't know much about music theory, or even scales, but they can at least find every E note on the guitar if they have to. So should you!
Chapter 4: (02:01) Examples Slowed Down Kris plays through all of his steps from Scene 3 at a slower speed. He includes some that aren't included in Supplemental Content, but are worth taking the time to map out on your guitar. You also could make a blank diagram of the neck (or find one online) and draw in some of the larger patterns. Again, using the Scale Library along with the Supplemental Content will help tie things together.
Chapter 5: (00:24) Wrap Up As you grow comfortable with the exercises presented here, start practicing them in different keys. You can use this process with any scale. The Scale Library is an excellent resource to check out if you are having problems with transposition.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Supplemental Learning Material



Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

meganmegan replied

This is a great lesson. Easily one of the most useful on the site.

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied

ok i found the lessons and its perfect thanx

yanjayanja replied

loved this lesson.

carterbncarterbn replied

Great Lesson bro! Something I have been wanting to learn. Thanks!

stratmusicstratmusic replied

Kris, Thank you so much for this lesson. I was having trouble breaking out of the box patterns to be able to play lead all over the neck without getting lost. I hope your future lessons will continue to expand on this one. Thanks again!

gorbaggorbag replied

This lesson was excellent! Perhaps it could be expanded upon in the future with a lesson showing some riffs or melodies using the scale.

metalheadmclovinmetalheadmclovin replied

This lesson is amazing, it really opens up scales.

king_dragonking_dragon replied

Great Lesson Kris, I just need to learn more scales then what i know so i can work with what you showed more.

Kris Norris Artist Series

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Kris Norris kicks off the Artist Series with a wide array of ideas and lessons; from changing strings on a floyd rose, to advanced sweeping / legato techniques and soloing applications.

Changing Strings - Floyd Rose StyleLesson 1

Changing Strings - Floyd Rose Style

Kris Norris demonstrates how to install new strings on a guitar equipped with a Floyd Rose tremolo system.

Length: 13:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Warm-up Exercises with KrisLesson 2

Warm-up Exercises with Kris

Kris Norris shows you his favorite warm-up exercises. These exercises will prepare you to play the guitar from a physical and mental standpoint.

Length: 12:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Scalar Exercises: Left and Right Hand SynchronizationLesson 3

Scalar Exercises: Left and Right Hand Synchronization

Kris covers chromatic and scale pattern exercises. Also, he explains some variations on these exercise and provides you with the knowledge to create your own variations. Now you don't have any excuse...

Length: 20:23 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Scalar Exercises: LegatoLesson 4

Scalar Exercises: Legato

Kris shows you the in's and out's of legato playing. These examples will benefit beginners and and advanced players alike. The patterns Kris uses in this lesson are based on the examples shown in "Scalar...

Length: 11:01 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Chuggin' n Skippin'Lesson 5

Chuggin' n Skippin'

Kris covers right hand techniques such as palm muting, tremolo, palm muted string skipping, and upstroke accents.

Length: 13:26 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Advanced Sweep Picking ApplicationsLesson 6

Advanced Sweep Picking Applications

Kris covers the right and left hand components of sweep picking separately. Then, he shows you how to synchronize the two. Three string arpeggios and five string arpeggios with hammer-ons are both included...

Length: 35:40 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Remaining Foolish: Arpeggios & Scalar LinesLesson 7

Remaining Foolish: Arpeggios & Scalar Lines

Kris presents excerpts from his song "Remaining Foolish" from Icons of the Illogical. He explains the arpeggio patterns used in various parts of the song and also talks about alternate picked arpeggios....

Length: 17:40 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Sweep Exercises Based on Canon in DLesson 8

Sweep Exercises Based on Canon in D

Kris uses Pachelbel's "Canon In D" as a way to practice arpeggio sweeps. He shows how to sweep and alternate pick arpeggios.

Length: 10:08 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
Counterpoint: A Shift In NormalcyLesson 9

Counterpoint: A Shift In Normalcy

This lesson is about the concept of counterpoint and harmony. Kris explores contrapuntal examples from his song "A Shift In Normalcy" off of his solo record Icons of the Illogical.

Length: 8:52 Difficulty: 4.5 Members Only
A Closer Look At Pick ThicknessLesson 10

A Closer Look At Pick Thickness

Kris analyzes different pick sizes and their effect on his playing. Using a slow motion camera, he is able to point out the differences in pick thickness.

Length: 32:24 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Satriani Inspired TappingLesson 11

Satriani Inspired Tapping

Kris Norris explains how to play a Joe Satriani inspired tapping etude.

Length: 11:13 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Extending Your Musical Reach With 8 String GuitarsLesson 12

Extending Your Musical Reach With 8 String Guitars

Kris Norris takes a look at 8 string guitars and their possibilities. He demonstrates the versatility of an 8 string with jazz and metal applications. Kris also performs a short improv jam at the end.

Length: 10:34 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Neoclassical InspirationsLesson 13

Neoclassical Inspirations

Kris teaches neoclassical examples from three of his favorite guitar players.

Length: 29:17 Difficulty: 5.0 Members Only
Rock & Metal Chicken Pickin'Lesson 14

Rock & Metal Chicken Pickin'

Kris displays some adventurous ways to use chicken pickin' in a rock and metal environment.

Length: 15:25 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Exotic Embellishments In The Style Of Marty FriedmanLesson 15

Exotic Embellishments In The Style Of Marty Friedman

Kris teaches arpeggio examples that use notes outside of a scale. He also demonstrates an example using the Chinese scale.

Length: 12:19 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Connecting Scale PatternsLesson 16

Connecting Scale Patterns

Kris shows you how to connect the patterns of a G major scale together.

Length: 15:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mastering Modes: Basic Scale Theory PrimerLesson 17

Mastering Modes: Basic Scale Theory Primer

This is the first lesson in the "Mastering Modes" mini series. Here Kris explains the fundamentals of scale basics.

Length: 19:08 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Mastering Modes: IonianLesson 18

Mastering Modes: Ionian

In this lesson, Kris explains the history behind the modes and then explains the Ionian mode.

Length: 9:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mastering Modes: DorianLesson 19

Mastering Modes: Dorian

In this lesson, Kris covers the Dorian mode, which is the second mode of the major scale.

Length: 13:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mastering Modes: PhrygianLesson 20

Mastering Modes: Phrygian

Kris explains the basics of the Phrygian mode, which is a minor sounding mode of the major scale.

Length: 7:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mastering Modes: LydianLesson 21

Mastering Modes: Lydian

In this installment of the "Mastering Modes" mini-series, Kris covers the Lydian mode. This is the fourth mode of the major scale.

Length: 9:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Mastering Modes: MixolydianLesson 22

Mastering Modes: Mixolydian

Kris explains the basics of the Mixolydian mode, which is a major sounding mode of the major scale.

Length: 10:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Mastering Modes: AeolianLesson 23

Mastering Modes: Aeolian

Kris explains Aeolian, which is the 6th mode of the major scale. This is also known as the natural minor scale.

Length: 7:32 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Mastering Modes: LocrianLesson 24

Mastering Modes: Locrian

Kris covers the Locrian mode, which is the 7th mode of the major scale.

Length: 5:48 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Song Workshop ExperimentLesson 25

Song Workshop Experiment

Aaron Miller sits down with Kris in the JamPlay studio to discuss songwriting techniques.

Length: 78:38 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Song Workshop Experiment - FinaleLesson 26

Song Workshop Experiment - Finale

Kris Norris and Aaron Miller are back to finish up what they started. Get ready for more songwriting, playing tips, and inside information. Enjoy

Length: 32:00 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Picking Practice With Drum RudimentsLesson 27

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Kris shows how some drum rudiments can be used to make exercises for your right hand.

Length: 18:33 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Sliding ArpeggiosLesson 28

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Kris teaches how to use sliding techniques with arpeggios. He uses an example in the Lydian mode and also plays over a backing.

Length: 15:11 Difficulty: 4.0 Members Only
Left Hand Finger IndependenceLesson 29

Left Hand Finger Independence

Kris teaches exercises focused on getting the left hand fingers to be more independent.

Length: 26:19 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Building Triad ArpeggiosLesson 30

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Kris explains root triad arpeggios and their first and second inversions.

Length: 25:12 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Practicing Triad Arpeggios ChromaticallyLesson 31

Practicing Triad Arpeggios Chromatically

This lesson focuses on sweep picking major, minor, and diminished triad arpeggios chromatically.

Length: 16:33 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Re-voicing Progressions with InversionsLesson 32

Re-voicing Progressions with Inversions

Kris shows you how inversions can be used to create smooth voice leading within a progression.

Length: 14:34 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Dual Tonality PentatonicsLesson 33

Dual Tonality Pentatonics

Kris shows how to combine pentatonic scales from different keys to form new and interesting sounds.

Length: 24:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Betcha Can't Scale ThisLesson 34

Betcha Can't Scale This

Kris shows you how to learn scales vertically and horizontally on the fretboard.

Length: 16:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
The Neapolitan ChordLesson 35

The Neapolitan Chord

Named after the "Neapolitan School" from the 18th century and not ice cream, this chord is a major chord built on the lowered 2nd scale degree.

Length: 7:13 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Diatonic Chords In G MajorLesson 36

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Kris shows the diatonic chords of G Major.

Length: 19:42 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Diatonic 7th ArpeggiosLesson 37

Diatonic 7th Arpeggios

Kris teaches you how to play diatonic 7th arpeggios and their inversions in the key of G major.

Length: 15:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Tapping 7th ArpeggiosLesson 38

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Kris shows you how to play seventh arpeggios with tapping, legato, and string skipping.

Length: 7:45 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Popular Chord ProgressionsLesson 39

Popular Chord Progressions

Kris shows some common major and minor chord progressions.

Length: 27:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Quick Connect EMG Active PickupsLesson 40

Quick Connect EMG Active Pickups

Kris installs these new EMG pickups into his guitar.

Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Workshop With ChodypthLesson 41

Workshop With Chodypth

Kris Norris sat down with Chodypth, aka Cody, and this video is the result of a day of jamming and practicing.

Length: 77:35 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Kris Norris

About Kris Norris View Full Biography Mr. Kris Norris was born August, 31 1978 in Canton, Ohio. He began playing around the age of 14. Early on the self-taught guitarist took an interest in metal and began playing in a local Virginia metal band. Kris' early influences were rooted in Swedish metal, bands include In Flames, Dark Tranquility, and Edge of Sanity. Norwegian Black metal also played a part in Kris' interest including early Mayhem, Emperor, and Ulver. Kris started Disinterment with future Darkest Hour bandmate Ryan Parrish. Disinterment lasted over 6 years and developed a local following in the Virginia metal by being some of the first players to incorporate Swedish metal and 3 guitar players.

College Days
When Kris was 17 he attended Virgina Commonwealth University School of Music (VCU). He studied Music composition and focused on film with world renowned composer Dika Newlin. Kris also studied classical guitar with John Patykula, prize student of Jesus Silva who was the prize student of Andre Segovia. Kris left the University after 6 years of studies. After college, he began his teaching career instructing private students and giving lessons at Mars Music. Kris' teaching career would eventually be put on hold to join Darkest Hour.

Darkest Hour Days
Kris' first album with Darkest Hour ,Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation, the 2005 release was recorded at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden with producer Fredrik Nordstrom. Ironically, the same studio facilitated many of Kris' influences 10 years prior.

Darkest Hour's next release, Undoing Ruin allowed Kris to stretch his wings and show what he could truly do on the instrument with the addition of several solos. The record was produced by Canadian metal mastermind Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad, Steve Vai). Townsend was a big part of pushing Kris to his own musical potential on Undoing Ruin and even more so on the follow up record, Deliver Us.

Deliver Us was released in 2007 and debuted at 110 on the Billboard Chart. This would be the last Darkest Hour record with Kris as a member. The album like its predecessor was also produced by Devin Townsend, who was able to take a bigger hand in its production. Devin pushed Kris to experiment with his own playing and to hone in on his strongest abilities.

Kris' career with Darkest Hour spanned 6 years, 23 countries, 4 continents, countless tours, 3 albums, near 200,000 album sales, and many lifelong friendships made along the way. With the birth of his son in 2008, Kris felt he needed to take his career closer to home while still focusing on music and guitar. In order for Darkest Hour to devote 100% to their music and touring, Kris came to the decision to amicably part ways with the band.

His Future:
As of early 2009, Kris has full sponsorships from ESP, EMG, Peavey, DigiTech, InTune, and Morley. Currently, Kris is producing and mixing aspiring metal acts while also working for Final Symphony Studios out of Charlottesville, Virgina. Kris also edits records for James Murphy (Testament, Obituary, Death) at Safehouse Productions. Kris has released his first solo record through Magna Carta Records, entitled Icons Of The Illogical. His solo effort was recorded at Karma Productions with Cory Smoot (GWAR) and features vocals from Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe.

Kris is excited to be an addition to the JamPlay Instructor Roster. Lending his metal chops and thorough education to his lessons make him a valuable teacher. Kris is excited to be making lessons for JamPlay and just as stoked to learn new things from our other instructors. Check it out and stay Metal.

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