I remember someone telling me that George Lynch once said he heard B.B. King say something that instantly improved his guitar style.
It went something like this: “If you play a wrong note, play it again like you mean it and it’ll sound like the best note you played all night."
The dubious origins of this gem aside, I've always found this to be an almost religious concept to strive toward, where any note can work anywhere if it is done with purposeful conviction.
In a guitar-player-friendly form, an easy way to play a lot of these purposefully performed “wrong” notes with conviction is through the use of licks and phrases composed of symmetrical fingerings. The trick with these is that they use the same fingering and fretting on all six strings and don’t adhere to any pure scale continuity, so you need to fit them into a fretboard context that relates to the key or chord (and its associated fingerings) you’re playing in/over.
In the case of these examples, I’ll show you how these symmetrical shapes relate to E for the convenience of performing the necessary stretches and for their ease of use over E major or E minor harmonies. But there are keys-inside-the-key that you might also notice that can be used as well. Just try to find at least two strings of the six whose fingerings sync up in some way to the key you’re playing in, and you’re ready to rock this!
Symmetrical fingerings can work with any fretting or fingering pattern (Any 1-2-3, 1-2-4, 1-3-4 pattern will work). Most almost-the-same-as-the-scale fingerings sound only OK, so I’ll be basing most of the examples on arpeggio-related shapes, since they have a wide intervallic stretch on each individual string, while having much smaller