It seems that the 4 finger-per-string approach is becoming more and more popular among 'progressive-minded' guitarists. I like experimenting with these techniques too, and would like to share some ideas that I've found useful in my own playing.
Originally, some of these ideas were the result of a brief period when I studied classical guitar. I remember playing figures like this:
Big deal, huh? Well, the interesting thing is that the physical motion (what your fingers are doing) doesn't match up with the musical motion (what comes out of the instrument). Compare the tablature to the musical notation.Now, let's take a 4 finger G Major scale sequence along one string:
In this example, the physical/musical motions are the same. 4 fingers ascending = 4 notes ascending.Here's the same physical motion, but the ring and pinky are now on the 'b' string, thus the same motion results in a different contour:
Here's another one, with 3 fingers on the 'b' and the pinky on the high 'e'. In this case, the physical/musical motions are the same but with a wider interval between the ring and pinky.
Here's a little lick that takes this idea through a set of changing chords:
Finally, here are a few lines that incorporate these ideas, among others. I've indicated some left-hand fingerings where appropriate. Since these lines are fairly ambiguous sounding (in the rhythmic sense), they can easily be phrased as triplets, or any other type you might like. Experiment with starting them on different parts of the beat too! You can have lots of fun creating new licks by taking a familiar physical motion and applying it in less familiar ways. Good luck!!
Scott lives in Portland, Maine and is one of New England's busiest guitar instructors. The July 1997 issue of Guitar Player magazine featured him in the "Spotlight" column saying: "...strong vestiges of Holdsworth and Beck throughout...a tasteful player with a promising musical personality...his compositions possess an appealing, narrative quality". He is currently juggling 50+ weekly lessons and a position in the U-Maine music department where he teaches privately and directs the 'Progressive Rock Ensemble". His most recent CD, "Brown Bag", can be purchased from www.guitar9.com. Scott is endorsed by Brian Moore Custom Guitars, and DiMarzio Pickups.