Watch the Extended Performance online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Chord Melody
As with a number of my extended performances in this course, I'm using the chord shapes taken from the melody to create some modified arpeggios in my solo. If I play an inversion enough times in the course of performing an arrangement, I'm able to visualize that fingering without having to play it. All of my extended voicings function as little templates of harmony on the neck that I can access. In addition to seeing and executing these unusual shapes, I'm also noting the location of the intervals being played. The ultimate application of all theory is about spontaneous, creative playing done in the moment, being led by your ear. For that to happen on an intuitive level, the repetition and requisite training are essential. Repeating any pattern (chord, scale, arpeggio, intervallic pattern) creates muscle memory and fosters ear training simultaneously.
Notice the use of open strings here, both in my melody and improvisation. All 12 keys have possible open string applications; if I'm thinking of chords, I'm typically using one of the top three strings unless I'm employing a note in the bass. These unfretted notes will ring and sustain longer than a fretted note; they work best at medium to slow tempos or in tunes in which the changes don't move too quickly. A combination of pick and fingers will help create a balanced sound when combining open strings and fretted notes together in a chord.