Once I hit the high E string, I switch to legato phrasing, continuing the triplet rhythm and using all four fret-hand fingers, spread out wide, to perform "stacked" hammer-ons and pull-offs, capped off by a pick-hand tap with the middle finger.
Around the release of his eponymous debut solo album, Slash took the time out to show us how to play some of his favorite riffs, both new and old. In the Guitar World video below, Slash talks about writing the classic Guns N' Roses tune "Paradise City." He also shows you how to play the key parts of the Appetite for Destruction track.
I wrote the song’s main theme by adding a melodic element to an arpeggio idea I was exploring, borrowed from guitarists Steve Morse and Eric Johnson. The idea is to arpeggiate barre chords whose roots are on the fifth string, but only play the root, fifth and third — leaving out the octave.
When skipping to another string, often the first note is hammered on "from nowhere" by one of the fret-hand fingers [indicated by "H"]. Strive for an even attack and volume note to note, making each hammer-on quick and firm. When pulling off, flick the string slightly sideways, in toward the palm.
As I have discussed in previous columns, I often use triadic arpeggio forms within my riffs and solos as a tool to create rich-sounding, poly-chordal sounds. I’d like to continue in that vein in this month’s column by presenting different ways in which to move from one arpeggio form to another.
These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the September 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.
Though it may be easier to learn other people’s solos—which is fine if that’s the goal you’re pursuing—I believe it’s much more rewarding to go out on a limb and take some musical chances, just to see what new and different sounds you can discover in the pursuit of forming a style that you can eventually call your own.
This is an alternate-picking run based on an add9 arpeggio shape on the top three strings that’s moved up and down the neck to four different positions and tonal centers, with a slight variation in bar 2. It begins in E, moves down to C with a little twist—more on that in a moment—then up to D and finally A.
Players often only play exercises to improve technique, but it's important to vary your exercises to focus on other important parts of guitar playing. Although this exercise is based on arpeggios, it really is meant to help you visualize scales differently from the standard "three note per string" shapes.
Harmonic minor is always a very cool choice and a favorite of mine. It’s great to use when you’re improvising or coming up with song ideas and lead parts. So many impressive players have made great use of it in their songs — guys like Uli Jon Roth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ritchie Blackmore, Steve Vai and many others. Mozart was also a big fan.