Hey, everyone! In this blog post, I'd like to discuss one of my favorite exercises to learn the fretboard and add a little mojo to your lead playing. Before we begin, let me define what an arpeggio is. An arpeggio is a broken chord. We can play a chord two ways. The first way is to play all the notes at the same time; the second way is to play the notes one at a time, consecutively. This latter method is called an arpeggio.
The blues is a style of music that guitar players have explored extensively for more than a century, and will no doubt continue to explore, expand on and creatively reinvent forever. Though standard blues forms may seem simple, the greatest musicians in virtually every genre have been known to dedicate a great portion of their musical study on a further and deeper understanding of the blues in its many different incarnations. In this edition of In Deep, we’ll focus specifically on the eight-bar, as opposed to the more commonly used 12-bar, blues form.
My students often ask me how they can break away from typical root-fifth power-chord rhythm figures. My solution is to devise a variety of different two-note chord shapes—built from pairs of notes, like root-fifth power chords—that sound great when applied to metal, even though these chord shapes can be used in virtually every style of guitar-based music.
In the last installment of Guitar Strength, I showed you how to take a simple two-string fretboard shape and move it across three octaves in order to create long, fluid lines that traverse a wide range. This time, I’ll show you how to take the technique to the next level by combining “neighboring” shapes.
Tremolo is the technique of sustaining (actually rearticulating) a note with fast, controlled alternate picking (not to be confused with amp tremolo, which varies the volume). Tremolo originated as a way to maintain notes on acoustic stringed instruments beyond their natural decay time to emulate the long, sustaining notes of the human voice or a wind instrument. While the electric guitar offers other options for sustaining a note, tremolo picking a simple melody gives it a kinetic quality that can transform it into something energetic and memorable and create a virtual “wall of sound.”
The diminished 7th scale is a great way to maneuver around the the guitar, especially when you adapt three string arpeggios. The shapes you can create have a fantastic flow and make it easy to move up and down the neck freely.