Over the course of the next few months, I’d like to share my approach to songwriting within the context of my band’s self-titled debut album, Periphery. Specifically, we’ll look at the ways in which I combine unusual chordal patterns and single-note riffs in the quest to create new sounds and unearth fresh musical concepts and ideas.
By the early Sixties, the blues branch of the popular music tree was rapidly thinning. One of the main factors contributing to its demise was rhythm. After decades of dance-floor popularity, triplet-based shuffles and swing grooves had started to be viewed as decidedly old-school, eclipsed by the straight-eighth-note-based rhythms of R&B and rock and roll.
When writing on a standard-tuned six-string guitar, I tend to move my fingers in familiar patterns and reach for the same chords and shapes. To break this habit, I employ a few go-to devices, including using alternate tunings, composing guitar riffs on a keyboard and introducing the extra range of a seven-string guitar into my writing. I used this last method to great effect on the final Emperor album, 2001’s Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise.
In today’s lesson, we’ll be looking at one fingering for the dim7 chord, arpeggio and related scale on the top-four strings of the guitar that you can use to move around the neck, creating four different positions for each of these harmonic and melodic devices in the process.
Last month I introduced an original composition that involved the use of quickly played arpeggios, as well as utilized two-hand tapping techniques to emulate the way in which classical pianists play fluid-sounding arpeggios across multiple octaves.
Chet Atkins made countless recordings as a studio musician, producer and solo artist. Many of his recordings — particularly those of the artists he produced in Nashville, like Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers — laid the foundation for early rock and roll.
This month, I'd like to address an essential point of focus for every good metal player: how to best strengthen the pick-hand technique. The examples I'm going to show you cover a wide variety of pick-hand techniques, from using all downstrokes the alternate picking to economy picking and more, offering a systematic approach to building up these different techniques that will allow you to play with more expression, control and power.
One thing I like to teach my students at GIT is the lively rumba flamenco rhythm, which has gained a lot of popularity in mainstream music as of late. What follows is not necessarily the original and only way that flamenco players play this rhythm, but that’s okay. If you analyzed the rumbas of three great flamenco guitarists, you would likely find that they each strummed them a little differently.
One of my favorite things to do is take a classically flavored chord progression, like the one shown in FIGURE 1, and use it in a rock guitar context. This particular progression is based for the most part on what is known as the cycle of fourths, in that the root note of each of the first five chords is the interval of a fourth above the previous root note.
I’d like to focus on an approach to chord playing inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s chorales. The chorale originated as a vocal hymn of the Lutheran church, often constructed in four-part harmony wherein the top voice is the melody. Bach composed many chorales of incredible beauty; the way he harmonized for four voices was impeccable, and his chorales served as the textbook for studying Western harmony for over 100 years.