"building block" shape in HyperTab

HyperTab shows "building block" shapes -- the licks, riffs, shapes and patterns commonly used in rock guitar.

Like chord and scale shapes, they're displayed visually, so they're easy for you to remember and know how to move around the neck.

Seeing how they're used in actual songs helps you start absorbing them into your own playing -- even if you're not that interested in learning the song itself.

HyperTab "building block" shapes

Open the demo file that comes with HyperTab and press play. Turn the shapes knob to chords or scales.

Then turn it to "building blocks" to see what chord and scale shapes don't show you.

bar chord "building block" shapes

Basic, basic blues, but beginners won't find it in their big book of chords (it's a riff, not a chord). A simple example of how chords are often just the framework.


Add a few more notes and you get another common "boogie" shape used in rock as well as blues. "Pride and Joy" (Stevie Ray Vaughan), "Bring It On Home" (Led Zep version).


A common riff technique is picking an open lower string (usually palm muted) alternating with shapes on adjacent strings. Here those shapes are just barres. Main riff in "I Don't Know" (Ozzy/R Rhoads), "Let It Go" (Def Leppard).


bar scale "building block" shapes
1-7 no real (useful) scale shape

Barre ring finger, then index finger two frets lower, then hammer-on. Real basic lick (Chuck Berry, SRV's "Love Struck Baby"), but no obvious scale. (Major pentatonic, best guess, is pictured under lick; although 2 of 5 notes in lick aren't in the scale).

15 Barre index finger, pick and bend 3rd string. The solos in "Good Times Bad Times" (Led Zep), "You Really Got Me" (Van Halen), and "Highway to Hell" (AC/DC) all start with this lick.
17-18 Two notes connected with line = "double-stop": can play both at the same time (like a chord). Bend one for an "oblique bend". Very common. Examples: opening lick in solos of "Enter Sandman" (Metallica) and "Walk" (Pantera); last lick in "Purple Haze" solo (Hendrix).
19 Slide along third string into double stop. Notice this moves you outside the scale shape box. Very common. Opening lick in "Wish You Were Here" (Pink Floyd) and "Have A Drink On Me" (AC/DC); heard at length in "La Grange" solo (ZZ Top).