Watch the High-Low-Low-High online guitar lesson by Johnny Hiland from Ten Gallon Guitar
Now we're going to get into the high-low-low-high pattern. This is something that I've come up with on my own, through my own years of experience and teaching. I use this for solo construction and a lot of people come to me when they're trying to form solos and they're trying to figure out why I put this lick with this one. As a result, I want to show you how the high-low-low high pattern works. Let's together, choose how we're going to start the solo. Let's say we're going to start it in the low register key of A. Now we ended up on the high A note, so we went from a low register to a higher register. Well from this A that I left off, when I go to a D chord, where am I going to end up? Where is my nearest D position from where I've just ended, this high A note? And folks, what this really does is you can hear that I'm going from a lower to a higher register and then when I switch chords I'm going from high to low, and then low to high, and high to low. Essentially, this creates a water image to where the solo has total flow, just like how a wave would look like. This keeps your solo consistent and fluid the whole time. The way I like to describe this pattern is by picturing a championship pool player. When you see pool on television, you see a camera angle on the top part of the table, which allows you to see the whole table. You see the pool stick coming, and you see the championship pool player shoot the q-ball and he knocks the calls for the six balls in the corner pockets and he gets it. What makes the guy a champion pool player is when he shoots that ball in the corner pocket but then the q-ball turns around the whole table and it lines him up perfectly for the next shot. Essentially, that is the same concept that I'm using here. Knowing where I am at all times and where I want to be next is the whole key so when I started up low in the key of A and worked my way up higher, I have to have a get idea of where I would like to go next. Now I played something a little bit differently but I'm in the same area. I know that I have a D scale that starts right here. I'm just showing you the comparison and how they fit. It fits just like a glow, so I'm going to play A low to high and the D scale that we've learned earlier. Now I've ended up going high to low in D but I also went low to high again. Can you do that? Of course, we're creating this solo together. When you create your solos, it's going to be yours so you can go high to low, and low to high within the same key, just know where you're going to end up and where you've got to go from there. So we went back low to high in D after we finished that D scale. That means in E we have to go from low to high again. That means, from this D, I go low to high in A. I used another open string lick that we learned earlier as well. So if we played this whole thing as a solo, it's all going to fit together and be consistent and fluid. Let's go ahead and play this together. I took a few liberties and just added a few little nuances in there but essentially the solo is flowing and it sounds consistent. The high-low-low high pattern will enable you to do a number of different things- it will help your solo flow, it will give you peace of mind to know where you are, and it will give you an opportunity to think of which licks you want to use and where, and to line yourself up to be able to use the lick you want to use. For example, when I played that low A section when I started out the solo, I knew I wanted to hit that open D string lick because it sounded real cool so I lined myself up to be in that spot for when the D chord came around. Music has different numbers of bars and things like that so you may have to play low to high and high to low a couple of different times in the same key, that's okay. Just know where you're going to end up, and it's going to help you figure out where you need to be next. That's the overall understanding of the high-low-low-high pattern and I just want you to realize that all of these licks that I've shown you today can be utilized in the same technique in informing solos and actually giving them a good structural foundation. I think if you have comfort in your mind, you can relax more and be more efficient in your playing and you'll be more productive in putting solos together that make sense and can stay musical. Have fun with this little high-low-low-high pattern and when we get to section 2 with the band tracks, you'll see me utilizing this a lot and it will make sense to you. I think it's one thing that I had to explain. I know I've touched on this before and other things that I've taught throughout the years, and it's been a major way for me to help students out and by using this technique you'll never feel like you get yourselves into a rut and you can utilize the fret board as a whole, and not just in one spot. With the high-low-low-high pattern, you can never find yourselves in a bad rut. As a player, that's a wonderful thing. I'm very happy that I've been able to use it as much as I have throughout the years and by teaching it I hope you pay close attention to it and you can use how to learn it and make it effective for yourself. Check it out folks.