The Missing Link: Try This Eric Johnson-Inspired Monster Lick
In this Monster Lick, I'm using the A minor pentatonic scale with an added major 3rd (Notes: A, C, C#, D, E, G).
This particular lick, and the style I've developed, is the result of my obsession with Eric Johnson. When I first saw him play, I was so captivated and blown away that I set about learning everything and anything I could of his work.
Until I discovered his playing, my influences where Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. My love of the blues-rock guitar style and tonality is something I can't shake. For me, it's just how a guitar should sound!
It was at this time that I started to experiment with ways to move the pentatonic scale around the fretboard along the lines of Steve Vai or Joe Satriani and their modal playing.
I was finding it very difficult to put the pieces together. That's until I saw Johnson play. As soon as I heard and saw what he was doing, it put the missing pieces of the puzzle together for me. I had finally found a player who took rock and blues to the greatest technical heights while not losing musicality.
Some people might not think this lick and style are influenced by Johnson, but to me it is. All of it was drawn from his unbelievable style. I've simply adapted it to my own unique way of playing, combining sweep picking and arpeggios.
I start this lick in the fifth box of the pentatonic scale and quickly transition into the first box. From here I start using three-string arpeggios to combine two boxes at once.
The thing to focus on here is the pulls. They are the key to setting up the sweep-picking patterns. You will notice that whenever I am changing directions, meaning going from down the strings to up or up to down, I use a pull-off to set up the change.
Although this is sweep picking or economy picking, there are, of course, alternate-picked notes inside the run. But the transitions between strings are swept. This is the key!
If you've never used this picking technique before, it can take a little getting used to. But like all things, once you have a grasp on it, it will change the way you approach guitar for the better!
These transitions are easily identifiable on the transcript; whenever you see the pull-off symbol, this is where the picking transition is happening.
Australia's Glenn Proudfoot has played and toured with major signed bands and artists in Europe and Australia, including progressive rockers Prazsky Vyber. Glenn released his first instrumental solo album, Lick Em, in 2010. It is available on iTunes and at glennproudfoot.com.