The Cascade

Learning this idea on the guitar will benefit you in the following ways:

1. Improve your finger independence
2. Smooth out string changes
3. Get comfortable moving diagonally in a nontypical way for guitar
4. Improve your legato technique


From a musical perspective, you're going up and back a third in the key of E minor, then stepping down a second. Then, this idea repeats starting down a third from the first note of the previous section. You will see this looking at the standard music notation.

From a visual, guitar-minded perspective, the run cascades diagonally up the fretboard and down the strings.

I like this lick because it sounds great and feels natural for the fingers. Oftentimes, sequences that work great on other instruments like the piano feel cumbersome on the guitar. But not this one!


Here's how I recommend practicing this lick:

First, master each four-note idea. The first four notes make up the motif that the entire sequence is based on. 
Once you have mastered each four-note motif, practice overlapping. Overlapping is where, generally, you practice one measure and end on the first note of the next measure rather then just practicing each measure on its own. My fantastic classical guitar teacher in college, Rob Lunn, introduced this practicing technique to me and it has stuck with me ever since.


The benefit of overlapping is that when you put all the pieces together, you've already practiced the transitions from measure to measure. Contrast this to the less effective practice method of playing measure by measure– when you go back to put it all together, the measures will sound blocky because the transitions between the measures were not practiced.

Next, practice saying each note aloud as you play. The rule is you cannot play a note until you say it. This will slow you down considerably at first, but your your knowledge of the notes of the fretboard will increase very quickly.

Finally, practice playing the whole exercise as a whole.

Once you've got this down, there is much more we can do with it, but I'm going to end the lesson here for today. If you have questions or need more, you know where to find me- stop by the Fort Worth guitar school or give us a call!