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Small Trick, Big Effect! Improve your guitar playing fast

Sometimes the smallest little change you make in your guitar playing can make the biggest difference. As some of my guitar students here in Vancouver tell me, all we need is one little idea... and that little idea can radically improve our guitar playing, spark new creative ideas, and so much more.

Guitar Soloing Like a Pro book cover

Don't forget to check out my book, "Guitar Soloing Like a Pro," which has many more of these types of tricks and ideas. The book is available on Amazon.

This trick in this guitar lesson is what I call "Up a Fourth" because when we play "up a string" we are going up a fourth -- except from the G to B strings. It's easy to do, and it helps us to break up the scale-wise pentatonic playing that can make us sound too much the same all the time.

Improve your guitar solos and picking technique by practicing the exercises from this guitar lesson and incorporating the "up a fourth" roll-over technique in your own solos and jamming.

Download a PDF of all the licks in this video using the link below. Or follow along with the tabs below.

Download PDF • 62KB

Start with third-finger rolls on the D string, then the A string, then combine them.

Make it more interesting -- and sound more like a lick -- by adding a bend at the beginning, as in the following two examples. The first has a bend on the high E string, the second on the B string.

Add the blue note into the concept and now we have a much more interesting series of notes. The blue note combined with the "up a fourth" roll sound great together.

Just as we can start the line with a bend to make it sound more like a lick and less like a scale, we can also finish the line with a different ending. Here are three different examples, starting with the alternate ending in the above tab, and two more below.

Make a tired old lick sound more interesting by adding the up-a-fourth concept to it. The first line below shows the lick I call "Stop Playing This Lick" because it's rather over-used. But adding the roll-over helps a lot.

Then we can also try the up-a-fourth trick using the first finger. It works just as well.

You can do this trick on any set of strings and in any pentatonic shape. Here are some examples of this trick on different sets of strings. Notice that it can be much more difficult when crossing from the G to the B string in the third example below. You should use your third finger then pinky to make this work. Still sounds great!

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