Some of my favorite musical sounds are those that consist of long, flowing arpeggios, whether they are present in rock, classical, electronic music or metal. The manner by which most guitar players execute lengthy arpeggiated lines is by using sweep picking, wherein the pick is dragged in a single motion across two or more adjacent strings using either a downstroke or an upstroke.
“Surfing with the Alien made it apparent to me early on that you didn’t even have to have a vocalist to create an incredible and enjoyable album. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be the player I am now, or probably even be a musician at all, without this album being available to me when it was."
As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, when I’m soloing I like to combine a variety of flashy techniques—such as sweep picking, fretboard tapping and legato articulations—that allow me to play very fast lines. These techniques can be heard in my solos to the songs “Good Girls, Bad Guys” and “Don’t Mess with Ouija Boards” from the Falling in Reverse album The Drug in Me Is You. For this month’s lesson, I’d like to go over portions of those solos.
With no thirds, sevenths or other notes included in the backing power chords, I have the freedom as a soloist to inject minor or major thirds and sixth and sevenths into my solo lines without them clashing with the chords. In this month’s column, I’d like to focus on two of my favorite scales for soloing that include the above-mentioned intervals: harmonic minor and its fifth mode, Phrygian dominant.
The following content is related to the September 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
String skipping is a technique I use in a handful of solos that I’ve recorded with my band, Falling in Reverse. Some of my guitar students have erroneously assumed that certain phrases were performed using sweep picking, but in fact I used string skipping, along with alternate and economy picking, to create a similar effect. If you’re a fan of the sound of fast alternate- and sweep/economy-picked phrases, the string-skipping techniques I demonstrate in this month’s lesson will appeal to you.