I love runs like this, and I play these types of elongated patterns often. Here, I pick the first note on each string and use hammer-ons, pull-offs and legato slides, at times in combination, to give the notes some variation in attack and create smooth phrasing.
Here's a crazy-sounding video game–type lick that requires flexibility and dexterity to execute accurately. The object is to move seamlessly across the fretboard, using a wide-stretch symmetrical diminished arpeggio shape with the fret hand’s first, second and fourth fingers, coupled with a right-hand tap, which makes it a diminished-seven arpeggio.
It’s probably not a coincidence that effects such as wah pedals and fuzz boxes started appearing en masse about the same time that recreational drugs like marijuana and LSD became popular with rock musicians.
The thinking behind this run is to get you from the fifth fret all the way up to the 17th fret with a smooth, connected flow of notes. It’s played as if it were in A minor, but I tune down one half step [low to high: Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb], so it sounds in Ab minor. I use alternate picking for the most part, which produces a burning staccato sound and gives your picking hand a great workout.
In the first two installments of Chop Shop, we looked at some arpeggio-based runs that were spiced up with octaves, finger taps, pinch harmonics and behind-the-nut bends. This time, as promised, I’m going to talk about the ways in which I’ve employed ideas I’ve learned from guitarists in different genres to my own playing.
A while back, I came across a book of traditional bluegrass and old-timey fiddle tunes, which intrigued and inspired me. I had always enjoyed the sound of those upbeat, “honest” folk melodies, with their sprightly contours and swinging eighth-note rhythms, despite their harmonic simplicity—the vast majority of the tunes are based on “one-four-five”-type major-key chord progressions.
I start off with an Amaj7 arpeggio, beginning on the seventh, G#. The first three beats incorporate legato phrasing [hammer-ons and pull-offs used in combination]. I play a total of five notes using the "2-2" form [two notes per string]. I then move to a D augmented arpeggio with a #11, again using the 2-2 form but only playing a group of four notes this time.
Metallica’s 1983 debut, the explosive Kill ’Em All, taught a grateful world a lesson in unbridled thrashing fury. Since then, their sound has passed through numerous stages, but the guttural intensity that was the hallmark of the young Metallica remains the essence of the band today.
“My dad turned me on to all the metal I listened to when I was younger. We’d listen to a lot of Randy Rhoads and Ozzy Osbourne. But when he played Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell for me, that was what really made me want to play metal and be in a band. That Pantera record changed everything for me.