This is a triplet-based run in A minor that starts out in the low register and moves up and across the fretboard, spanning three octaves before settling into a single position and moving back across the strings. I’m using hammer-ons and pull-offs in combination with picking to achieve a fast stream of notes that "pops" and flows.
Here's a brand-new edition of Betcha Can't Play This featuring Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss, who visited Guitar World HQ last month. Last time, she played a Descending Legato Lick. This time, she demonstrates a lick from her solo spotlight section from her shows with Cooper.
I tap with my middle finger and begin this lick by flicking the string with the finger to get the sound going, doing a "phantom" pull-off to the A note at the fifth fret. I then play a sequence that goes "hammer, tap, pull" and repeats as I move across the strings, initiating the first note on each lower string with a "hammer-on from nowhere."
I begin in ninth position with a fairly compact shape that spans the ninth to 12th frets. At the end of bar 1 and moving into bar 2, the fret hand shifts down two frets and spreads out to cover a four-fret span, from the seventh fret to the 11th. Use your first, second and fourth fingers to fret the notes.
I like to play a lot of things legato, using whatever hammer-ons and pull-offs are available in any given position that my fret-hand fingers are in. I’m also inclined to do a lot of hybrid picking [pick and fingers], using picked down-strokes in tandem with upstrokes of the middle finger. This enables me to do a lot of string skipping very efficiently, with much less pick-hand movement and effort than would be required using only the pick.