One of the many scale playing techniques, the routine of 'one step back, one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward' has been given the name of "Falling Leaves" by yours truly.
It's a routine that can and is an exercise, but also a very effect weapon for the lead guitar tool box.
This tool can be used with any type of scale (or set of melody notes that you put together). I play it here in the key of C. I'm using the major scale, which, in my opinion is the basis for all other scales. I also contend that you can use the major scale in many situations. For example, if you play the major scale intervals while beginning in the sixth position of the scale, you're playing the relative minor of the root. That's what modes are all about, and if interested you can check out the lesson Intro to Modes.
Have fun using this tool, and remember that finger placement is important for exercising the different options you have. But in the reality of playing, use the fingers which work for you. And remember the many variations that you can do, just on this exercise alone (just take a look at the variation I played on the last six notes of this video!).
A fellow GfB&Ber had this post about trying to understand this. Here's his post and my reply. I'm hopeful that this will help clear up what this exercise is all about.
Concerning the formula of 1 step back -1 step forward - 2 steps back - 2 steps forward.
I just can't seem to get my mind around how to understand that,
(probably has to do with my age) and I wouldn't bother you with it except that it's driving me nuts trying to understand it and I can't seem to let go of it, it's stuck in my brain.
What I see is that it starts out with 1 step forward and alternates from back to forward all the rest of the way through 2 octaves, that's all understand.
If you would attempt to clear the formula up for me it would be greatly appreciated.
Skip, try not to think of the namesake of the move to understand it. The full name of it (add the step back and step forward inbetween each) would be 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1.
Let's see if this rings: If you ignore the last '1', which is just a repeat of the first move, take a look at what we have. S, T, T, T, S, T, T. These are the major scale intervals in reverse. A Semi-tone equals one step or one fret, a Tone equals two steps or two frets). Ok, forget the theory part of it for a minute.
Play the first half of the reverse C major scale on the high e string only (the first half of the Tab):
In the first half (8, 7, 5, 3), we have a S, T, T (to begin between 8 and 7, this is a semi-tone) . In the second half of the first part (6, 5, 3, 1) we have T, S, T, T (between the g note, or the 3rd fret of the e string, and the f note, or the 6th fret of the b string we begin with a T). Put this together and you have S, T, T, T, S, T, T, or a reverse major scale interval run.
Now notice in the second half of the tab you see the same notes on the same two strings, but in between are the addtional 'steps'. The steps in bold are the same as the scale on the left, and they are all the 'steps forward'. The non-bold notes are the 'steps back' or you could look at it this way, they are the 'pre-steps'. They precede the downbeat. Say 'and 1, and 2, and 3, and 4,' etc. The non-bold are the ands.
But one thing about all of the notes, even the non-bold ones, is that each one belongs to the C major scale.
The video just shows these same notes on different strings.
Have fun with this,