Patterns are a great way of putting scales to work. Not only do they get you out of any do-re-mi rut, they expand your musical vocabulary. They also expand your mind by forcing you to think about systems within systems—and sometimes within other systems. For example, this diminished pattern is a three note system:
within another system of minor thirds:
And you could repeat that entire pattern by another interval, thereby creating a system within a system within a system! Patterns can be extremely complex mathematically. Developing your own will help strengthen your creativity as well as your chops.
In a solo, use patterns as a starting point or as a connecting point between phrases. Exploit their repetition to increase tension. Winding down a solo with a descending pattern is an effective way to give the listener something recognizable to hold on to as they ease back into their seat. And, of course, you can use a super fast and complex pattern to just plain astonish your audience.
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