The concept of “preparing” instruments comes from the composer John Cage, back in the 1950s. He began by writing a series of pieces for piano. He would take a grand piano and put objects — found objects, hardware, various apparatus, in between, on, over and under the strings, producing all sorts of interesting sonic and percussive effects and changing the sound of the instrument without relying on electronics or other things like that.
One of my favorite ways to explore new riffs, chord patterns and melodic figures is to take one of the seven fundamental modes and use its structure as a guideline. In doing so, I often discover new chord shapes or melodic ideas that I may not have otherwise come across.
Percussive acoustic playing has been around forever, and it’s easy to see why. The guitar is essentially a drum with strings stretched over it. (Its cousin, the banjo, uses a drumhead to cover the body.)
As a lead guitarist in a heavy metal band, when I solo I like to go for licks that are simple and repetitive and “drive the point home” as well as take the solo and song to another level. The licks in this month’s column are designed to sound impressive while being relatively easy to play—which is important to me, because I’m drunk most of the time.
One of the essential elements of great metal is the execution of razor-sharp harmony lead guitar lines.
Many students have asked me how to go about constructing multilayered guitar harmonies and which notes will sound the best. To answer these questions for everyone, in this month’s column I’ll show you a simple and effective way to build a classic metal-style three-part harmonized guitar line.
In this video lesson, Andy James teaches three separate hybrid-picking runs that make use of the pentatonic scale. They will work out your hands, increase your finger dexterity and set you well on your way to adding this technique to your repertoire.
This lesson deals with groups of five 16th notes, which is tough already, but then it gets harder. I've been loving the sound of Tosin Abasi's double-thumbing and have been trying to find my own ways to use it. This example incorporates the double-thumb technique with finger picking. If you're not familiar with it, you can still use your pick, but I'd suggest learning it because nothing else sounds quite like it.
For me, some of the best metal songs, like many of the classic tracks on Metallica’s Master of Puppets or Megadeth’s Rust in Peace, have these qualities. The majority of the riff is played in even eighth notes, and I stick with alternate (down-up) picking throughout.
In the exclusive Guitar World lesson video below, Orianthi shows you how to play the solo from "Heaven in This Hell," the title track from her latest studio album. The video, which features up-close shots of the guitarist in action, also features the tabs for everything she plays.
This month, I’m going to demonstrate how one can utilize simple triadic shapes and patterns in order to imply more complex and varied chord qualities. I find this to be a very cool and useful improvisational tool, because you can apply it to playing over either a chord progression that you want to outline melodically or over a static pedal tone.