Watch the The Basics online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Funk Fission

After checking out the String Percussion Performance, hopefully you got down with the backing track on your own and went off on a scratching binge or maybe experimented with embellishing a given chord to the point you forgot what chord it is your embellishing in the first place. But now let me reel you back in and establish the concept of order by way of moments comprised of mini composition that are fueled by calculated variations. Huh? Let me explain …

The idea is to choose and capture sets of cool scratch and embellishment ideas and repeat them within a certain amount of bars—usually in even numbers divisible by two—thus creating mini compositions (see Fig. 1). From there, you can either slightly permutate the idea or move forward and improvise a new idea all together. Either way, by creating and repeating recognizable chunks contained within two-, four-, or eight-bar boundaries you are conveying chordal ideas that will be memorable and will stick like audible glue. Whether you’re playing with just drums and bass, a full ensemble that includes horns and keys, or even just laying grooves to accompany yourself singing, memorable parts is good stuff for everyone including your listeners.