The goal this month is not to talk about the theory behind them, although I will be doing that in the next month or two. It’s to get you adding the pitches, and exploring these notes, aurally, as well as using them in your phrasing. So let me show you what I’m talking about.
Delta blues giant Robert Johnson is one of the most fascinating and mysterious performers in music history. He created an essential body of blues guitar music, recording 29 songs in 1936 and 1937 that would exert a powerful influence on the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Johnny Winter and many others.
There's nothing new to this approach. Blues players have been adding these notes to the basic pentatonic for eons. But the difference here is that I apply this system to a heavy/hard-rock style of playing. I do this with a combination of sweeps and legato, which creates a very hard-edge modern sound while still keeping the blues tonality.
The minor scale is the most commonly used scale in metal. This month, I’d like to detail the most prevalent minor scales in metal: natural minor (also known as the Aeolian mode), the Dorian mode, the Phrygian mode and the harmonic minor scale.
In some of my previous columns, I've discussed arpeggio inversions, but in this installment I'd like to discuss chord inversions and how they can add some color to a typical chord progression. First, we need to define what a chord inversion is. An inversion is a chord in which a different note is at the bottom of the chord besides the root.
I often get asked about my chord work, particularly about the voicings I use. My chord style initially developed as a result of my dissatisfaction with the way traditional guitar voicings, particularly triads, sounded.
Trying to make a seven-string guitar play like a six-string is very tough. The “thumb over the neck” approach doesn't work as well. Also, some seven-strings sound like a middle ground between a guitar and a bass (like the one I used in this example), which makes openly strumming “cowboy chords” a terrible decision.
Little Walter served his musical apprenticeship in Delta roadhouses during the early Forties and intently studied the style and techniques of down-home blues harmonica masters such as John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, but he also took the instrument into new territory by emulating the jazz-tinged phrasing of jump-blues saxophonists.
Last month, we looked at the intro rhythm parts and the intro guitar solo to the title track of the latest Nevermore album, The Obsidian Conspiracy. This month, I’ll go over the remaining single-note intro theme and primary verse riff. As you’ll see, the latter is a lower-octave version of the final intro lick.