What I’m essentially doing here is stringing together groups of 16th notes played in four-note shapes, or modules, and playing mostly two notes per string, with a couple of exceptions here and there wherein I stay on the G string and repeat the first two notes instead of crossing over to the D string.
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.
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.
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.
This lick is in the key of C# minor and starts off with a C#m(add9) arpeggio [C# D# E G#]. The arpeggio in the first beat is actually just a straight C#m triad [C# E G#] played across all six strings in two octaves, although landing on the high D# note [first string, 11th fret] provides the ninth degree.
I start this lick by ascending a two-octave Bm(add9) arpeggio [B Cs D F#]. This short run is performed legato style, in which all the notes are sounded by the fret hand alone. I don’t use the pick again until the next beat, when I begin down-picking across the D and G strings.
This is a two-part run in A minor that I play in my solo to "Caravan of Cannibals," on Shredding the Envelope’s debut CD, The Call of the Flames. The first three bars are based mostly on the A Dorian mode [A B C D E F# G], with a couple of "outside" notes thrown in, namely D# and F.
This lick is influenced by Paul Gilbert and Richie Kotzen and incorporates wide fret-hand stretches, string skipping, tapping and legato phrasing. It starts out with a three-notes-per-string A minor pentatonic [A C D E G] flurry played on the A, G and high E strings. To avoid injury, be sure to warm up your fret hand before diving into this lick.
Yes, sometimes we find ourselves checking out guitar forums on other websites. Such was the case earlier today, when we stumbled upon the video below, which is called "The Best of Betcha Can't Play This."
The run winds up in bar 5 with some unbroken alternate picking as I ascend the D Phrygian-dominant mode across the top four strings, leading to a high D note at the 10th fret, which I shake then slide down from. Notice that I add a couple of chromatic passing tones on the top two strings during this final ascent.