I'm pretty used to picking through patterns in 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 8/8 and 12/8 over arbitrary chords, but the novelty of this skill has worn off. How do I create patterns that doesn't get repetetive during a song?

Take this as an example:

How do I get there? The player doesn't just pick over the chords, he mixes it up and makes it interesting.


Start by imitating people whose style you like. Then you can use what you learn when you're making your own music.

I listened to the video you posted and here is what I hear:

  1. Basic 2-beat pattern for 7 measures (if in 2/4)
  2. Simple fill (one note at a time, 3 or 4 notes in a row) for 1 measure
  3. Repeat with a different basic pattern

I heard the following basic patterns used:

Low string eighth note, middle string eighth note, high 2-note chord quarter note
Large chord quarter note, middle string quarter note
Large chord 2 quarter notes in a row

If you want to get obsessive you can always go through the recording and try to imitate it in an exact note-for-note way, or look for a printed tablature, but if you're just looking for fresh ideas you might just try this kind of careful listening to a lot of different songs in styles that you like.

  • I would add that most performers will rarely pick the same exact pattern twice in different performances. – Michael Cook Jan 9 '13 at 21:23

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