Variations for Single String Sixes

For the most part, it is probably best to pull 3-note patterns from scales; however, sometimes it is interesting to use math to see possibilities. Here, I have put together lots of variations on the classic single-string sixes lick. I arbitrarily chose the fret numbers 5, 7, and 9, but any combination will work. I also used a few “rules” to develop these patterns:

  1. Must use all three notes.
  2. Must not repeat notes.

Since these are all single string patterns, they are great for working on the all important rest stroke, a solid technique to help curb string hopping.

And of course, you can string these patterns together across different strings to form longer lines or morph the patterns to fit whatever scale you are working on. Enjoy.



Nice chart. I did something similar a while back, but for the smaller list that has the additional constraint that every note must appear twice in the pattern. I didn’t spend a lot of time, but that patterns starting on the “middle” of the three-note spread where the hardest to try to wrap my head/fingers around.

I thought about throwing the patterns into a midi player (including the wholestep-wholestep variation, as well as wholestep-halfstep, and halfstep-wholestep) to “sound test” them cleanly at fast tempos, to see if there are any particularly interesting musical flavors that emerge (beyond the Yngwie variation we’re all so familiar with now), but never got around to it. So if someone else wanted to take that step, I’d totally click on the link. :wink:

Edit: Some patterns will also be “duplicates” in the “small malls” sense, but in musical context they still might not “sound” like duplicates.


These are really nice! Never thought about doing such thing. There are far more possibilities than I expected. I enjoyed trying them all.

Some impressions:

  • a lot of them sound really cool musically
  • some of them were more exhausting for my fretting hand than others
  • some of them were a bit challenging for my brain in the beginning and it was easy to find myself playing another pattern than the intended one

I have always found that the stretches (even the relatively easy ones to some of you like this one) slow down my playing. Do you guys keep the index always on the 5th fret or do you put it only when it’s played? I do the latter most of the time because otherwise it becomes painful after only a few reps.

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I was hoping someone would do this.

Can you do the same but for 7 and 5 note patterns?

This is seriously cool! I didn’t realise they’d be this many possibilities. I’ll save this and use a few of them in my practice routine. Thanks for sharing!

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Probably a ‘no-duh,’ but - these are meant to play cycled (e.g. 5-7-9-5-7-9-5-7-9-5-7-9-etc), right?