Stephen Stills’ status as a rock legend stems just as much from his singing and songwriting contributions in Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young) and his own solo work as it does from his innovative acoustic and electric guitar offerings.
In my quest to raise my guitar-playing game to the highest level, I find it essential to devise practice techniques that will push my pick- and fret-hand abilities as far as possible. A great way to go about this is to combine the focus on these technical issues with the creative endeavor of writing original riffs and patterns that will hopefully spark new song ideas.
Today, GuitarWorld.com presents an exclusive playthrough video of Iron Maiden's "The Trooper," as performed by Iron Maidens guitarists Nita Strauss, left, and Courtney Cox. The video, which you can check out below, shows some extremely up-close fret- and camerawork.
Of all my musical influences, classical violinist Niccolo Paganini has to be on top of the list. Though he lived in the late 18th century (long before image became as important in the making and marketing of musicians as their actual music), his extreme personal magnetism coupled with truly mind-boggling technique made him the world’s first bona fide rock star.
Great melodies, songs and solos tend to have a “call and response” element. Some like to describe it as a “question and answer” quality. Listen to classic artists like B.B. King, Chuck Berry and Albert King for great examples of this in their vocal melodies and guitar solos.
Even more amazing is that Speed, Accuracy and Articulation was filmed in one straight take, with virtually no edits or re-takes, after a previous studio session left precisely one hour on the clock for the day. As anyone who has filmed video lessons can attest, this is simply a super-human feat of on-camera consistency and cool-headedness.
As I will demonstrate, this modal relationship between the two scales is very convenient and useful for crafting sweet-sounding melodies over a C-to-D or D-to-C chord vamp. But first, some more helpful insight into D Mixolydian hexatonic.
I begin in ninth position with a fairly compact shape that spans the ninth to 12th frets. At the end of bar 1 and moving into bar 2, the fret hand shifts down two frets and spreads out to cover a four-fret span, from the seventh fret to the 11th. Use your first, second and fourth fingers to fret the notes.
This riff-writing exercise will demonstrate how to create diatonic and borrowed chords based on a chromatic bass line while staying in key. For this example, I’m going to use the key of A minor and the harmonic minor scale as my guide for chord construction.
In this month’s column, I’d like to present a few single-note patterns that are designed to fortify fret-hand/pick-hand coordination while they strengthen your overall chops and ability to play fast and clean. In my own experience, I have found that drilling on one or two very specific melodic fretboard shapes works wonders in uncovering technical areas of weakness in both hands.