Star guitar lesson: Chris Buck's 5 ways to unlock the neck

(Image credit: Olly Curtis / Future)

Best of 2019: Chris Buck offers us an insight into his ingenious blues guitar style with five ideas to open up new avenues in your playing...

In the video lesson, Chris explores the idea of discovering more  about the fretboard both from the point of view of melody - using a  mix of major and minor scales - and harmonically, using a chord style  inspired by Jimi Hendrix. Alas, we only had enough room to tab out  some of the many ideas on the video, but these are the key moments  that will give you a few ideas to work on when you practise.

As usual, the advice here is to take things slowly - especially  Example 5, which might contain ideas that are unfamiliar to you. But  patient, persistent practice will soon unlock new levels of creativity!

Example 1: Fretboard Orienteering

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In this first example, looks at a simple way of mapping out ideas on the fretboard using a lick repeated all over the neck. It’s a great plan for players who find themselves stuck in the pentatonic shapes or ‘box patterns’ to break free and begin to map out the fingerboard. After working through the example, come up with your own ideas and try to find the places they repeat up the neck.

Example 2: Major Scale Ideas

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The major scale tends to be overlooked in a player's early days on the instrument, favouring instead the minor pentatonic. But the major scale features heavily in music whether it be pop, rock or blues. Chris demonstrates a few licks to set you on the right path.

Example 3: Mixing Minor & Major Ideas Together

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The most effective blues licks often take elements of both major and minor scales and blends them together. In order to kick that principle off, Chris takes a lick that is ostensibly minor and then, in Example 4, begins to take it to another place.

Example 4: Mixing It Up

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Here, Chris demonstrates how the minor idea in Example 3 can be expanded by repeating it in a major key. This is another thing that would benefit from repetition all over the fretboard. Take your time to work out the positions slowly — it'll soon become second nature.

Example 5: Chordal Style

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)

Despite discovering Hendrix later on in his playing, Chris has developed a melodic chordal style that owes a great debt to Jimi. Here, he gives an example of how this way of thinking can be taken up the fretboard, tracing an E major scale.


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