Jamie Holroyd Guitar

Jamie Holroyd Guitar

Pat Martino Licks for Jazz Guitar

Pat Martino Licks for Jazz Guitar

This article contains 13 Pat Martino licks for jazz guitar. The task of learning all the notes on all the strings of the guitar can be a long process. Many notes on the guitar can be found in more than one place, in the same octave. As one of the instrument’s top players, Pat Martino also has a unique way of thinking about the guitar. One particular musing of his is the concept he calls “stairways”.

Quite simply, he is referring to the manner in which a guitarist connects a melodic pattern in one area of the fingerboard to the same melodic pattern in a different area of the neck. Further, he describes the “stairs” as chromatic passing tones used en route from one iteration of the melodic pattern to another. This is an important vehicle for improving your improvisation because it frees up the player to move from one fingerboard area to another.

In this Pat Martino licks analysis the focus will be on a single lesson taught by Martino where he uses one 6-note melodic pattern (see Figure 1)  to generate 8 fingerboard patterns and 13 melodic lines. Martino shows that when the mind is open to squeezing as many possibilities out of a relatively simple line, the results are limitless.

 

Pat Martino Licks – 6 Note Melodic Pattern

 

pat martino licks - 6-Note Melodic Pattern-1

Figure 1: The initial 6-note pattern that Martino describes as relating to the D Minor tonal center.

Martino describes the above melodic pattern as being related to D minor and implies that all the subsequent melodic lines he plays will relate to D minor as well. This will be the basis for analysis in this article; all lines will be analyzed in relation to “D” as the tonic. Note that all examples are written assuming the reader understands that guitar is notated 1 octave higher than it actually sounds.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Initial 6 -Note Melodic Pattern

 

A standard D minor triad is spelt D, F, A and uses the 1-b3-5 degrees of the D minor scale. In these examples Pat Martino is actually playing melodic material based on the Dorian mode beginning on D, this is also known as the C major scale. Because Martino is a jazz player, he demonstrates the underlying chord as a Dm7 spelt D, F, A, C or 1-b3-5-b7. The D Dorian scale is spelt D, E, F, G, A, B, C or 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7.

Although the initial melodic pattern does not exhibit the characteristic “natural 6th” of the Dorian mode, it does include the 4th, which is a staple of the modal jazz idiom which Martino was a part of in the 1960s. Also, later melodic lines make extensive use of the B note which indicates a usage of the Dorian mode. It should be noted that when improvising with minor scales, several variations of the minor scale are used. These include Natural minor (1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7), Harmonic minor (1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7), Melodic minor (1-2-b3-4-5-6-7) and Dorian.

Over the Dm7 chord the initial line represents a 1-2-b3-4-2-1 intervallic relationship against the harmony. While on the surface it may appear to be simplistic, this 6-note pattern contains more than just the first 4 notes of a Dorian scale. The first notes are in fact the 1-2-b3-4 of the scale but the real detour occurs when the 4th (G) descends by a skip of a minor 3rd then down by step.

It is precisely the single occurrence of disjunct motion (G-E) that breaks up the pattern enough to make it memorable to the listener, even at a fast tempo. The majority of the pattern is using a stepwise or conjunct motion but the skip from 4th to 2nd allow for instant recognition when the pattern is transposed chromatically to other tonal centers during improvisation.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Pattern 1

 

The first melodic (Figure 2) pattern is in the 12th position and uses the 4th and 3rd strings. The 1st finger can use a rolling technique to cover the notes on the 12th fret to provide a smoother transition. The rolling technique is accomplished by playing the 4th string note with the tip of the 1st finger and subsequently flattening and rolling back the finger pad to press the 3rd string on the same fret. Playing all these patterns with a metronome to build speed is advisable before the melodic lines are played. Alternate picking should be used first then an economy technique may be experimented with.

 

pat martino licks - Pattern 1 (1)-1

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Pattern 2

 

Pattern 2 (Figure 3) is in the 7th position and uses the 3rd and 2nd strings. The fingering is a standard one finger per fret style with only a single note played on the 2nd string. The 1st finger can be held down to allow for a smoother transition back after the G and E are played. Practice both patterns one after the other and become familiar with the different timbre they each have. This timbral difference is due to string diameter which affects the harmonic content of the note played. Play all examples with a clean guitar tone to better hear your mistakes and improve upon them.

 

pat martino licks - Pattern 2-1

Figure 3: Pattern 2 is in the 7th position, hold down the 1st finger for a smoother transition.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 1

 

The first melodic line (Figure 5) demonstrates one way to use chromaticism to connect pattern 1 and pattern 2. In the notation there are slurs and glissandi (slides) in the exact place that Pat Martino played them. Please be aware that these are exact transcriptions and slurs are a very personal creative choice. It is a good idea to play the lines with and without Martino’s slurs and ornaments to see how the overall sound is affected.

Remember, the goal of this line is to get from pattern 1 (12th position) to pattern 2 (7th position). In analyzing this line over D minor we notice that melodic pattern 1 begins but has added slurs between the E-F. The pattern does not turn back around to the E-D as it does in the isolated form, but continues up to D an octave above. The following table (Figure 4) is an analysis of each note’s intervallic relationship to D.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 1-2-b3-4 5-6-b7-1 6-5-4-b4 b3-#7-2-b2
2 1-2-b3-5 2-1 TACET TACET

Figure 4: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 1.

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 1 Pattern 1 to Pattern 2

pat martino licks - Melodic Line 1 (1)-1

Figure 5: Chromatic material is used for connecting pattern 1 and pattern 2.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Pattern 3

 

Melodic pattern 3 (Figure 6) transposes the original pattern down an octave to the second position. The 5th string is used for the starting and ending notes and the 4th string for the notes in between. The 1st finger should be held down and used as an anchor point as it occurs early and late in the pattern. Because of their relatively small fingerboard coverage, these patterns also make great speed exercises when played in isolation.

 

pat martino licks - Pattern 3-1

Figure 6: Hold down the first finger to anchor the fretting hand in the 2nd position

 

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 2

 

The second melodic (Figure 8) line uses chromatic passing tones and skips to travel from the 7th position (pattern 2) to the 2nd position (pattern 3). Pattern 2 begins and almost plays through as originally notated but takes a chromatic detour to descend down to the 2nd position. The use of the 1st finger to shift position and accomplish slides is very important to note. The concept of using a finger to shift to a different position is called using a “guide finger”. A beat-by-beat analysis is shown in Figure 7.

There is a special notation used for fret-hand fingering during slides or shifting, an upward or higher in pitch movement will show an “/#” (pointing up toward the number), and a downward or lower in pitch movement will be indicated by a “\#” (“#” meaning any finger number). In the second measure the 3rd finger is also used for a slide, this is not true to the 2nd position as it occurs on the 4th fret, but it is exactly how Martino played it.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 1-2-b3-4 2-b2-1-#7 b7-b5-6-5 4-b4-b3-#7
2 2-b3 #7-1 TACET TACET

Figure 7: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 2.

 

pat martino licks - Melodic Line 2-1

Figure 8: Note the use of  the 1st finger to guide into the next position.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Pattern 4

 

In melodic pattern 4 (Figure 9) a standard 5th position location is used, a position that is very commonly associated with D minor. The rolling technique should be used with the first finger on the 5th fret of strings 5 and 4. A mastery of this technique translates to a very smooth transition between notes and a control that allows for either legato (smoothly connected) or staccato (short and detached) note articulations. When practicing the isolated patterns, transposing up by a 5th (D, A, E, B, F#, C#, G#, D#, Bb, F, C, G) or down by a 4th is a very effective way to study. Ascending 4ths (D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B, E, A,) and descending 5ths are also very effective and interesting way to practice these patterns.

 

pat martino licks - Pattern 4-1

 

Figure 9: A rolling technique of the 1st finger from the 5th to 4th strings should be used.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 3

 

In any melodic line, particular attention can be given to any note or notes. This bias toward a certain note(s) will give the line a sense of pull away from the tonic as it is being played more frequently or with more emphasis than the tonic. In melodic line 3 (Figure 11) there is a special emphasis on the 2nd and 4th scale degrees in D minor. Beats 3 and 4 of measure 1 will show a familiar fingering pattern borrowed from the A minor pentatonic scale.

This line moves from pattern 2 in the 7th position to pattern 4 in the 5th position. Note that there are no leading tones used as in the previous examples. Play this line slowly and from other tonal centers to listen to how this changes the overall “mood” of the line. An analysis for this line can be seen in Figure 10.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 1-2-b3-4 2-b2-1-b7 6-5-4-2 1-2-b3-4
2 2-1 TACET TACET TACET

Figure 10: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 3.

 

pat martino licks - Melodic Line 3-1

Figure 11: Note the emphasis of the 2nd and 4th scale degrees in this line.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 4

 

Patterns 2 and 3 are connected with chromatic material in melodic line 4 (Figure 13). Despite the 5 position shifts in this line, Martino plays only one slide going from the Bb to A between the 3rd and 4th beats of measure 1. This proves that a true improviser will alter their lines in order to fit a particular musical situation as we have seen Martino use a greater number of slurs and slides in previous examples. This line employs one skip after the initial line, from F-C# on the last ½ beat in measure 1. An analysis follows in Figure 12.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 1-2-b3-4 2-b2-1-#7 b7-5-6-b6 5-4-b3-#7
2 1-2-b3-4 2-1 TACET TACET

 

Figure 12: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 4.

 

pat martino licks - Melodic Line 4-1

Figure 13: Note the presence of only one slide and no slurs in this line.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 5

 

In melodic line 5 (Figure 15) we see how 3 different patterns can be connected together over a wide range on the fingerboard. Moving from pattern 1 in the 12th position to pattern 2 in the 7th position and ending with pattern 3 in the 2nd position in only 2 ½ measures requires a careful choice of chromatic connection to execute smoothly.

Several slurs are used in the form of both hammer-on and pull-off techniques. 10 position shifts occur with 2 of them sounding the slides between notes. Figure 14 shows how the line retains the sonority of D minor due to the interspersion of the initial melodic line in measures 2 and 3 on beat 1.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 1-2-b3-4 5-6-b7-1 6-5-4-b4 b3-#7-2-b2
2 1-2-b3-4 2-b2-1#7 b7-5-6-b6 5-4-b3-#7
3 1-2-b3-4 2-1 TACET TACET

Figure 14: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 5.

 

pat martino licks - Melodic Line 5-1

Figure 15: The initial melodic line is used throughout to retain a sense of D minor.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Pattern 5

 

Melodic pattern 5 (Figure 16) explores the first open string pattern in Martino’s lesson. This pattern is in the 1st position and uses the open 4th and 3rd strings to achieve the 1 and 4 scale degree notes. By using the open strings it is possible to unlock even more patterns using the same notes as we began with.

While the notes of this pattern itself are not unique, the placement in the 1st position is very important. This location allows us to cross over to the 6th string to play notes that are lower than we have played so far. Care should be used when transposing this pattern to other tonal centers as the fingering will need to be adjusted to accommodate for the open string notes changing to fingered notes.

 

pat martino licks - Pattern 5-1

Figure 16: Unlocking the full range of the guitar by placing a pattern in the 1st position.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 6

 

Melodic line 6 (Figure 18) reveals a little-known technique of this great master of the guitar where we can see the true power of motor learning also known as muscle memory. When a specific motor task is repeated enough times it becomes consolidated into memory in the brain. This is why certain patterns on the guitar “feel” more comfortable than others.

Due to the fingering pattern of the shape that Martino is using, we see him playing in the “-1st” position by “fingering” notes that are actually past the nut. This generates some unconventional fingering in the 2nd measure due to Martino’s playing in the -1st position. The 2nd measure begins with a commonly used F major 7th arpeggio shape beginning on the leading tone 7th. In Figure 17 notice how the F major arpeggio creates Dm9 (D-F-A-C-E or 1-b3-5-b7-9) chord tones.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 1-2-b3-4 2-b2-1-#7 b7-b5-6-5 4-b4-b3-2
2 2-b3-5-b7 2-b2-1-2 b3-4-2-1 TACET

Figure 17: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 6.

 

pat martino licks - Melodic Line 6-1

Figure 18: Ranging from the 5th position to the -1st position, note the unconventional fingering.

 

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Pattern 6

 

Situated in the 5th position, melodic pattern 6 (Figure 19) can be viewed as the upper octave neighbor of melodic pattern 4, also in the 5th position. The first finger should be held down to anchor the fretting hand while the other fingers move around it.

Try practicing pattern 4 into pattern 6 seamlessly with a metronome starting at 80 bpm. Building speed with the same pattern displaced at octave intervals is a great skill and will help fortify knowledge of the fingerboard.

 

pat martino licks - Pattern 6-1

Figure 19: Pattern 6 can be viewed as an extension of pattern 4.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Pattern 7

 

While in the same octave as most of the previous patterns, melodic pattern 7 (Figure 20) will have a very different timbre due to the smaller diameters of strings 2 and 1. This pattern is in the 3rd position and uses a rolling technique with the 1st finger from the 3rd fret of string 2 to string 1.

 

pat martino licks - Pattern 7-1

Figure 20: Roll the 1st finger from the 3rd fret across strings 2 and 1.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 7

 

Martino demonstrates a nearly one octave skip in the first measure between beats 3 and 4 of melodic line 7 (Figure 22). A skip is defined as as any melodic movement that is greater than a major 2nd. This line moves from the 5th to 3rd position and utilizes 2 slurs and a slide. This line is unusual in this lesson as Martino only uses 2 truly chromatic notes on during beats 3 and 4 of the 1st measure. By playing the line slowly over a Dm7 chord it is clear that when fewer chromatic notes are used they seem to be more noticeable.

Between beats 3 and 4 of the 1st measure there is transposed melodic imitation where the Gb slides to F and the skip of a major 7th occurs and the E is followed by an Eb (see Figure 21). This type of playing makes Martino’s improvisations sound more unified because he is repeating things that are already familiar to the ear of the listener.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 1-2-b3-4 2-1-b7-5 6-5-4-b4 b3-2-b2-b7
2 1-2-b3-4 2-1 TACET TACET

Figure 21: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 7.

 

pat martino licks - Melodic Line 7-1

Figure 22: Note the use of only 2 truly chromatic notes in this line

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Pattern 8

 

In this final melodic pattern (Figure 23) Martino places this pattern in the 9th position and uses the 4th string only for the root note. The first finger can be used as an anchor point as it has been in previous patterns.

 

pat martino licks - Pattern 8-1

Figure 23: Use the first finger as an anchor point as the other fingers move around it.

 

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 8

 

In melodic line 8 (Figure 25) Martino uses a very effective technique of descending major thirds to move from pattern 8 to pattern 4. Beginning in the 9th position on the last ½ of beat 3, the descent starts with the C-Ab pair and continues down chromatically: B-G, Bb-Gb, A-F, and G#-E until the pattern is cleverly broken by the use of a minor third G-E at the beginning of measure 2. This line features 2 slurs and the entire descending major 3rds section is picked making this a technical exercise also.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 1-2-b3-4 2-1-b7-b5 6-4-b6-b4 5-b3-b5-2
2 4-2-b2-6 1-2-b3-4 2-1 TACET

Figure 24: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 8.

 

pat martino licks - Melodic Line 8-1

Figure 25: The use of chromatically descending major 3rds is very effective in this line.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 9

 

Traversing from pattern 8 to 2 to 4, melodic line 8 (Figure 27) is an adventurous combination of all the concepts that Martino has demonstrated so far. Several skips are used including the high F to D pull-off between beats 2 and 3 of measure 1. The last ½ of beat 4 in measure 1 shows the use of the 2nd finger for a roll technique across strings 4 and 3.

As before, chromatically descending pairs of 3rds also appear in this line starting with the E-C and Eb-B on beat 1 of measure 2, there is also a C-Ab pair. Also note the 4-fret position shift between beats 2 and 3 of measure 3. The use of the open 5th string here allows for time to make the position shift to the 5th position. Due to the many slurs, this line is important to play with and without Martino’s slurs and slides.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 1-2-b3-4 5-b7-2-b3 1-b7-6-5 4-2-b3-5
2 2-b7-b2-6 1-2-b3-4 2-b2-1-#7 b7-b5-6-5
3 4-b4-b3-#7 2-1-b7-5 1-2-b3-4 2-1

Figure 26: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 9.

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 9 – Pattern 8 to Pattern 2 to Pattern 4

pat martino licks - Melodic Line 9 (1)-1

Figure 27: Utilizing all of the techniques presented so far in melodic line 9.

 

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 10

 

Breaking out of the 4/4 time signature used previously, melodic line 10 (Figure 29) uses 3/4 time and is primarily in the 1st position. The F major 7th arpeggio is used with the unconventional -1st position fingering on beat 1 of the 2nd measure. This is the first line in the lesson that does not begin with anything close to the initial line.

Notice the use of the E (the major 7th of the F major 7 arpeggio) as a pickup into the next measure. When transposing this pattern be aware that any open strings will have to be adjusted to be fretted notes (see Figure 33 for an example of this). The analysis in Figure 28 will show that there is only one chromatic note used, the Eb between beats 1 and 2 of measure 2.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3
1 TACET TACET 2
2 b3-5-b7-2 b2-6-1-2 b3-4-2-1

Figure 28: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 10.

 

pat martino licks -Melodic Line 10-1

Figure 29: The b2 on beat 2 is the only chromatic note used in this line.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 11

 

In 3/4 time again and using the same opening F major 7th arpeggio, melodic line 11 (Figure 31) uses 9 slurs and 1 upward slide. Beginning in the -1st position, Martino extends up to the 3rd position before coming to the -1st. Expanding on the chromatically descending thirds concept used earlier, Martino demonstrates how to add string crossing to this idea.

Notice how this line also does not begin with the initial line. This line uses pattern 5 which has open strings for the 1 and 4 scale degree notes. The location of the line makes sense logistically because Martino chooses not to stray too far. This is an excellent example of playing horizontally, which is done throughout this entire lesson.

This is a concept in which a figure is played across the fingerboard using all strings necessary to realize the full potential of notes available in a position. This is in contrast to playing vertically where a figure uses ascending or descending motion on a single string, the majority of these lines would be extremely difficult if not virtually impossible to play vertically.

The chromatically descending 3rds begin to appear in measure 3 on the last ½ of the 3rd beat. They reappear from beats 1 to 2 ½ in measure 4. When playing this line at a slow tempo try to see the various concepts that are used and make note of how they are connected together. An analysis of this line can be found in Figure 30.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3
1 TACET TACET 2
2 b3-5-b7-2 b2-6-1-2 b3-4-#4-b6
3 6-b7-#7-2 b3-4-1-6 #7-b6-5-4
4 b3-#7-2-b7 b2-6-1-2 b3-4-2-1

Figure 30: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 11.

 

pat martino licks -Melodic Line 11-1

Figure 31: Chromatically descending 3rds crossing strings in measures 3 and 4.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 12

 

Aside from the slur between beats 2 and 3 of the 2nd measure, melodic line 12 (Figure 33) is the same as melodic line 10 but raised an octave, it demonstrates an important skill; adjusting a line with open strings to be able to work with fretted notes.

This line uses the same F major 7th arpeggio but now it uses a very familiar fingering pattern and explores the 7th position using melodic pattern 2. Practice line 10 followed by line 12 for good position shifting practice.The analysis for melodic line 12 (Figure 32) is exactly the same as the analysis for melodic line 10.

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3
1 TACET TACET 2
2 b3-5-b7-2 b2-6-1-2 b3-4-2-1

Figure 32: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 12.

 

pat martino licks -Melodic Line 12-1

Figure 33: Raised by an octave compared to line 11, this example shows important fingerings.

 

Pat Martino Licks – Melodic Line 13

 

The final melodic line (Figure 35) brings the 4/4 time signature back and is another unusual example that shows little resemblance to the initial line because, like the previous three lines, it does not begin with anything close to the initial line. Instead, the line begins with descending material from the scale for the first 2 beats with 2 major 3rd pairs going between beats 2 and 3. Pattern 2 can be spotted in beats 3 and 4 of measure 1.

After several slurs and slides Martino throws a final curve ball and plays an F-A double stop twice with 2 melody notes in between. Note: the top note (A) of this 2-note dyad will be used in the analysis (Figure 34).

 

Measure Beat 1 Beat 2 Beat 3 Beat 4
1 2-1-b7-5 4-b3-2-b7 b2-b7-1-2 b3-4-2-b2
2 1-#7-b7-b5 6-5-4-b4 b3-#7-5-6 b7-5

Figure 34: Beat-by-beat melodic analysis of melodic line 13.

 

pat martino licks -Melodic Line 13-1

Figure 35: The final line breaks tradition using double stops in the 2nd measure.

 

Many things can be learned from a thorough study of a great players’ melodic lines. Pat Martino’s concept of “stairways” helps us learn how to connect melodic patterns by using various types of chromatic material in between them.

In order to truly assimilate this knowledge it is important to play these lines with a metronome slowly at first, building speed only when there are no flaws in technique. Then the lines should be played from all tonal centers to ensure that regardless of the key, the line can be played without hesitation. Finally, it is important that these ideas be expanded upon creatively and turned into material that can be readily improvised with.

 

About The Author

 

Jesse Allain is a guitar researcher, teacher and audio engineering professor, and has always had a passion for the guitar. Always a lover of improvisation, Jesse earned Bachelor’s degree in Music, and a Master’s in Music Education. His research topics are published as the Working Guitarist Series. His work aims to a new level of modern guitarists with a cutting-edge approach to the instrument.
Learn more about Jesse’s work at:
Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

Leave a Comment