With the release of Ozzy Osbourne’s No Rest for the Wicked in 1988, a sound was unleashed on the world that changed the lexicon of rock guitar and redefined the meaning of “Guitar God." Plucked from anonymity in Jackson, New Jersey, at age 20, Zakk Wylde (formerly Jeff Wielandt) forged a new path of style, personality and tone that continues to grow and evolve to this day.
In the last installment of Guitar Strength, I showed you how to take a simple two-string fretboard shape and move it across three octaves in order to create long, fluid lines that traverse a wide range. This time, I’ll show you how to take the technique to the next level by combining “neighboring” shapes.
The technique is simple: Take a fingering pattern “shape” and shift it across the neck over three octaves. Use of this technique can, however, impart a broader and more sophisticated scope to a lick while also acting as a no-brainer means of navigating greater expanses of fretboard terrain.
Spearheaded by Yngwie Malmsteen and Randy Rhoads, inspired by Uli Jon Roth and Ritchie Blackmore (and Bach, Mozart, Paganini, etc.) and taken to its heights by Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine and the other early Shrapnel Records artists, the neo-classical period in modern rock guitar was a time of previously unimaginable technical progress and harmonic inventiveness.
More often than not, notes are picked, plucked, slapped, popped, tapped, slid in to, pulled off to or hammered-on to from another note. But there is another oft-overlooked technique that can add slippery finesse, intervallic interest and muscular, musically arousing power to your playing: the “hammer-on from nowhere."
Van Halen’s impact on Dimebag’s playing is unmistakable. The “vibe” of early Van Halen is by far the most recognizable influence in Dimebag’s playing. From the grooving rhythms played like leads of their own, to the tone, to the phrasing in his lead playing, Dimebag took the inspiration of Edward Van Halen and forged his own identity.
Push any guitar player into a corner, and it’s their command over their repertoire of killer minor pentatonic licks that can let them fight the way out. In almost any situation, licks and melodies using the minor pentatonic scale will fit unquestionably over any minor-key harmony and blend in with ease.