With the growing popularity of rock music in the mid-to-late Sixties, a great many young up-and-coming musicians were inspired — and encouraged — to push the limits of the musical form beyond anything that had come before.
Over the next few months, I'll be demonstrating some of the techniques and approaches I rely on in the writing and performing of the music I play with my band, Animals as Leaders. Hopefully, you will find these ideas useful in your own musical endeavors.
In this Sick Lick, I'm using the diminished 7th arpeggio. I combine a few different techniques to create what I call an “alien" sound. This lick is very heavily influenced buy one of my favorite guitarists, Shawn Lane. Lane really pushed the boundaries of guitar playing. He had flawless technique and speed, and he used this technical prowess to write some incredible music.
In the following video, Taproot guitarist Mike DeWolf shows you how to play some of the key riffs from the band's latest album, The Episodes, including "Good Morning," "A Kiss From The Sky" and "Around The Bend." See if you've got what it takes to keep up!
Most power chord forms in rock and metal and comprised of either two or three notes, usually with the root note placed as the lowest note in the chord, joined with a note a fifth higher to create the two-note form, or with an additional root note on top to create a three-note-form. Equally effective are power chord forms built from fourths.
It was because of my experimenting with major scales and modes that I originally came up with the “Thumb Technique”; I was searching for ways to play descending arpeggio patterns while keeping an even flow and rhythmic pattern. What I eventually came up with is the pattern played in this lick.
More often than not, notes are picked, plucked, slapped, popped, tapped, slid in to, pulled off to or hammered-on to from another note. But there is another oft-overlooked technique that can add slippery finesse, intervallic interest and muscular, musically arousing power to your playing: the “hammer-on from nowhere."
In this Sick Lick, I'm using the Whole Tone Scale. You have to be careful with this scale when adapting it to rock, as tonally it is way outside what the listener would normally be used to -- so it's important not to get lost in this scale! Make sure you are always mindful of where you are on the neck and that you are thinking about what other scales you can switch in and out of if you start to get too far outside the tonal core.