Guitar Block System: Block 2-2

Well, we’ve had enough with minor for now, haven’t we? This week, we turn to the “major” sounding block. No half-steps within the block here – just a whole step followed by another whole step. And, for those of you keeping score, two whole steps put together gives you a major third. So, there we have it – the major block. Other fun thing: if you shift up one fret when changing strings, you get my favorite weird scale – the Whole Tone Scale. In fact, I just might talk about that next week…

There are four ways to play this block as a simple exercise, all of which are written to start on fret 5 (side note: there are more than 4 ways to play the three-note blocks. I quickly mentioned one at the end of the last block post). If you need a bit of direction on how to read these, see the Handy Dandy Little Reading Guide at the end of this post.

First, go from string 6 (low E) to string 1 (high E):

Block 2-2 Example 1

Next, start at the string 1 (high E) and return to string 6 (low E):

Block 2-2 Example 2

Now, head back up to string 1, but this time start on the block’s higher note:

Block 2-2 Example 3

Finally, return to string 6 while playing the higher note first in each block.

Block 2-2 Example 4

There are three ways to pick these exercises, if you so choose. First, down-pick every note. After that, try alternate picking – down then up (a little trickier now, since every other string will start with a note picked up, but still highly worthwhile). Lastly, as a real test of your fretting abilities, only pick the first note of each block then either hammer-on (first two examples) or pull-off (last two) to the other notes.

Exercises are great, but have some fun with these, too. Experimentation is highly encouraged. And above all, pay attention to what you’re doing and don’t be afraid of messing up – Your next mistake could easily turn into a good riff. Until next time…

Handy Dandy Little Reading Guide: String 1 = E, 2 = B, 3 = G, 4 = D, 5 = A, 6 = E. In tablature, string 6 is at the bottom of the staff while string 1 is at the top. The numbers on the lines tell you what fret to play and the lines themselves tell you what string to play.

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