In this Sick Lick, I am using the E diminished scale. This is one of my favorite scales. Not only does it create a powerful sound; it also works very well with the pentatonic scale and can be adapted to anything from jazz to metal. I incorporate a lot of three- and six-string arpeggios while using the diminished scale. It's a great way to move around the guitar at speed, and it creates a real intensity in your soloing.
In this lesson, we are going to learn a chromatic pattern that will allow you to shred over blues, country and any other scenario that could call for a major pentatonic sound. It works over major and dominant chords, particularly around I-IV-V scenarios and other similar progressions.
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.
When first learning to solo over 7th chords, most guitarists will begin by checking out the pentatonic and blues scales we all know and love, followed by the Mixolydain mode, which completes the fundamental trifecta for blowing on unaltered dominant chords. But what about altered dominant chords? When adding in b9s, #9s, b5s and #5s, all the “altered” notes of a 7th chord, suddenly these three scales just don’t cut it on the bandstand.
My approach to guitar is tonally a little different than most modern shredders, as I base all my playing around the pentatonic scale. Players like Shawn Lane and Eric Johnson do this better than anyone on the planet. But my approach is a little different again. I use the combination of sweep picking and three-string arpeggios to get around the guitar rather than focus on the scales in their natural form.
Working on scales in the practice room can sometimes seem like a one-handed event. Sure, the picking hand is there, and it may even be focusing on alternate picking, sweep picking or other picking technique, but beyond that, how deep do we really go with our right hand when practicing scales?
Improvising with arpeggios is a great way to dig into chord changes, bringing out the exact sound of each chord in your lines. While scales and modes are great for outlining keys and creating modal colors, when you want to sound each chord in a progression, arpeggios are the way to go. While they are great for outlining chord changes, arpeggios can often become boring or predictable when you overuse them in a solo.
This style developed from the late 1960s, reaching its peak of popularity in the mid 1970s, and showcased the highest levels of musicianship through lengthy, epic and often highly intricate compositions. Bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Yes, Caravan, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Rush would push the conventional boundaries of rock music, drawing inspiration from folk, classical, jazz and eastern styles, usually heavily themed around a central story, each track an element in an overall concept.
Fretboard tapping was a novel technique when Eddie Van Halen recorded his groundbreaking, legendary shred showcase piece “Eruption” for Van Halen’s 1978 debut album. With its spectacular application of fretboard tapping, the song quickly established tapping as an essential element within a new modern vocabulary of flash licks and tricks.