The lick I play here is something I'd actually use in a solo as a run; it's not an exercise. In every Sick Lick, I demonstrate ideas I would actually use -- or have used -- in solos. I'm not one for creating pointless exercises. I believe you're better off spending time practicing things you can actually use rather than playing through repetitious, unusable trills.
For guitarists of any background or experience level, learning how to play jazz guitar means working through different types of standard tunes and forms, such as major blues, minor blues and rhythm changes. Though it is less common than its major and minor cousins, the Bird Blues chord progression, most notably demonstrated in the Charlie Parker tune “Blues for Alice,” is a tricky and important progression for any jazz guitarist to explore in the practice room.
In this Sick Lick, I'm using the Diminished 7th scale. I refer to this technique as the “Spider Technique." My friends came up with this name, and I thought that it was kind of cool, so it stuck! I'm forever searching for ideas and ways to push the boundaries of my playing. It's one thing to have an idea, but to actually follow through with it and get it up to a level where you can just rip it out is something else.
These arpeggios are one note per string. I love this technique because it allows me to cover the neck very quickly while freely changing positions on the fretboard. My inspiration for this kind of playing came from listening to piano players. I would hear the way they played arpeggios and try to mimic it on the guitar. Because piano players have both hands on the keys, they are able to create some monstrous-sounding arpeggios and runs.
Queens, New York-based metal band Emmure recently shot a special guitar demonstration video for their new song "Cross Over Attack," and apparently great minds think alike, because we both had the same thought: what better place to debut it than Guitar World?!
I remember listening to Holdsworth play when I was a kid -- with complete disbelief at what I was hearing. It almost didn’t sound like a guitar. The speed and the wide intervalic playing was simply amazing. It wasn’t until I saw live footage of him playing that I began to understand how he created that amazing sound.
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!