Some atom ideas

Two very simple linear one-string ‘atoms’, i.e. one ascending with hammer-ons, one descending with pull-offs. Pick the first note of each triplet; or not – depending how slippery you want the sound to feel. Note I have not indicated the picking simile everywhere due to extreme laziness, but it is implied. Apply to taste – fast slow, whatever.

Fingering: Note that when I am playing this, the lowest note is always index finger (finger 1) and the highest is always pinkie (finger 4). Finger 2 or 3 is used depending. For a stretch such as frets 3 5 7, I always use fingers 1 2 4 (Paul Gilbert uses 1 3 4 in these instances, but he has giant Japanese Spider Crab hands).  For a grouping such as frets 4 5 7, I will use fingers 1 2 4. For a grouping such as 5 7 8, I will use fingers 1 3 4. Basically fingers 1 and 4 are always at the top or bottom in these particular kinds of atoms.

In this first idea (bar 1), we are introduced to the basic pattern – it’s the two atoms ascending then descending (A then D), followed by descending then ascending (D then A). Every example uses this series.

The second bar sees us splitting the series over two strings: the first string has A then D, the second higher string D then A (click for bigger version)


The next bar sees us continuing this idea onto strings 2 and 3. In bar four we split the series over two positions on the same string.


Now we have a couple more evolved examples of the prior bar – all working the series up one string. Note the position slides, observing correct fingering (1 for lowest note, 4 [pinkie] for highest):


Now we’re combining along string with across strings.


Finally, here’s a combination example which is descending overall in contour.


Feel free to substitute different atoms.


One Response to “Some atom ideas”

  1. I really dig the lessons and information you have on your site for the guitar. Its sites like this that have made consistent musical progress possible for me over my 13 years of playing. Keep it up. IStillGotMyGuitar

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