They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so let's use pictures. I call these things layovers. You may call them something else. These are fundamental building blocks of Dinosaur Rock Guitar lead style, but just try to find any resource that talks about them.

These figures are most commonly played in the Pentatonic scales, but it's not too unusual to hear them in Aeolian — particularly if you're listening to a German guitarist! The basic principle can be applied in any scale.

4 point layovers:

3 point layovers:

2 point layovers: