Locked Shape Idea

These shapes could be considered chords – at least chord fragments. The shape shown in red could be part of a Gsus or D7sus, or it could be a CMa9 or a Cm9, maybe an Am11 or perhaps some other chord I haven’t thought of. These shapes could indeed be used as chords but I’m thinking of them as just clusters of notes that might be useful in improvisation. An interval of a fourth with an interval of a second above it. Howard Roberts might have called it a ‘Sonic Shape’.

In this example all the notes in red are from the C major scale.
Move the shape up 2 frets, then 3 more, then 2 more after that, and then again 2 more to cover a whole octave.
All the notes covered are from C major, check it out on the diagram.

Obviously the whole arrangement can be transposed up and down for other keys as long as the intervals between the clusters are maintained.

The shape of each cluster can be extended with another fourth interval added at the 1st string and a further interval of a second added 2 frets above that (which in most cases links in to the next highest cluster.

This is consistently in the same major scale all the way up the neck except for the highest note shown here which is a Gb and not in the C major scale.

To my ear, phrases built using these clusters have a particular character which is different from the usual sound of arpeggios or scales/modes. It is a similar idea, but not quite the same, as using triad pairs. Instead of the strength of the thirds in the triads there is the less robust, more vague character of these intervals.

I think it can be a useful extra resource for improvisation and breaking up a solo for a few bars where a different sound is wanted. Having a locked shape should help in all sorts of ways.

Hope this is useful.

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