In this Sick Lick, I am using the E diminished scale. This is one of my favorite scales. Not only does it create a powerful sound; it also works very well with the pentatonic scale and can be adapted to anything from jazz to metal. I incorporate a lot of three- and six-string arpeggios while using the diminished scale. It's a great way to move around the guitar at speed, and it creates a real intensity in your soloing.
If I had to choose my favorite scale for soloing, it would be the blues scale, that cool, slippery scale that adds the flatted fifth (f5) to the minor pentatonic. Among traditional players and modern shredders, it is probably the most commonly used scale in blues and rock.
My approach to guitar is tonally a little different than most modern shredders, as I base all my playing around the pentatonic scale. Players like Shawn Lane and Eric Johnson do this better than anyone on the planet. But my approach is a little different again. I use the combination of sweep picking and three-string arpeggios to get around the guitar rather than focus on the scales in their natural form.
In his second Guitar World column, Glenn Proudfoot continues his look a building patterns in the pentatonic scale, this month focusing on using pentatonic sequences to create what he calls "power burst" runs.