Monster Licks: Applying Techniques from Jazz/Fusion Virtuosos to Rock and Blues Guitar
In this Monster Lick, I'm using the A pentatonic flat five scale, also known as the “blues scale."
I was always fascinated by the sounds jazz/fusion guitarists created when they'd play licks and runs all over the fretboard. It seemed so awesome that I had to figure out how I could do it too.
The interesting thing was that tonally I couldn’t relate to jazz or fusion; I never connected with it, although technically, I could. I wanted to take these ideas and apply them to a more rock/blues approach.
This is the result.
I find it important to draw inspiration from all kinds of musicians and players. This doesn’t mean you have to go and learn their entire catalog. It could simply involve watching and listening to how they approach their instrument and the techniques they use.
Most of my inspiration for new techniques comes from musicians other than guitar players. There are so many incredible players who are virtuosos on many different instruments; it would be a shame not to draw something from their art and apply it to your guitar playing or writing.
This is not uncommon. I've heard Alan Holdsworth say he listens to the way horn players phrase, and he applies that approach to the guitar. Also, Shawn Lane drew inspiration from piano players. It can be an incredibly deep well of information and inspiration to open up to all kinds of players.
I start this lick in the first position of the A pentatonic scale. Immediately you will notice I'm combining two patterns of the scale at once. This creates the arpeggios and allows for the sweep and legato patterns to take shape.
The first bar is a series of three-string arpeggios combined with legato. The arpeggios are easily identifiable on the the TAB (below) as they move diagonally across the transcript. It's important to note that depending on which way the arpeggio is moving, it will be picked with all down strokes or all up strokes (sweep picking).
The next section of the lick is a repeating pattern. It starts with a five-string arpeggio and moves into a legato run with a tapped note in the middle of that run. This is a really cool lick and would be a great thing to dissect and have some fun with! You can apply the basis for this arpeggio tapping run to any arpeggio.
The last part of the lick is a series of three-string arpeggios followed by a six-string arpeggio, then into a five-string arpeggio, finishing with a bend. All of the arpeggios are with sweep picking as mentioned above. If you're ever unsure of the picking pattern, please reference the slow section of the video. My picking is easily visible.
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.