Watch the Horizontal vs Vertical Soloing online guitar lesson by Andy Timmons from Electric Expression
Let's talk about horizontal playing versus vertical. This is something that I really utilize quite a bit in the way that I choose to play my melodic phrases. Of course, normally as guitar players we start off in the pentatonic, the box position. Again, there's a lifetime of music right there, just by mastering that one position. But I really grew to be fond of playing some of these exact note collections, but voicing them in a more horizontal versus vertical way and what I mean by that is it sounds a certain way. This sounds a different way this way and a lot of it I think initially came by just learning each scale on one string. So, like we might've done in some other sections, it's a good thing to fortify playing that A minor pentatonic on each string. So I was shifting between a couple of positions, but I could've covered the same ground and stayed in a position, which in some cases may be most beneficial for your applications. But again, for my melodic ear and what I'm trying to get to emotionally usually in my playing. So, I guess the point is everything that you learn in a vertical position, explore some of the areas just around that position that will help expand it horizontally. That's also going to blend in those areas that you're familiar with, with some of the areas that maybe you're not as familiar with and that'll give you new ideas. That's really my goal and hope for all these lessons is to expand a little bit on what you already know. Some of these box positions are so familiar. But that might not have been in your vocabulary prior to that, so that's a pretty amazing little nugget to stumble on. Jimmy Page in all different positions and that could be a nice device as well. It's just stair stepping through the scale degrees. I'll do an A minor, natural minor scale here by going up to a different scale degree instead of consecutive notes. That could be a real nice thing to create some excitement in a solo. So again, just branch outside of your box pattern. It's just little bits at a time, don't stray too far from home. But before you know it, you're going to have the entire fingerboard at your disposal and then you can make those choices to decide what you think in that moment is going to produce the best effect. Whatever it is you're going for, whatever kind of energy or emotional content.