For a long time when I was younger, I felt trapped with the pentatonic scale. Most players only use the scale in the box form or two-note-per-string technique. Now, while I absolutely love the sound this creates, I was searching for ways to create runs that were tonally similar to my personal favorites such as Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jimi Hendrix but utilize techniques that Steve Vai or Satch would use in their soloing.
One of my favorite ways to expand on the typical blues/rock/metal vocabulary is to introduce fast melodic bursts based on diminished-seven arpeggios. In this month's column, the focus will be on the E diminished-seven arpeggio, which consists of the notes E, G, Bb and C#. I like to challenge myself to find all possible ways to utilize this arpeggio up and down the fretboard in as seamless a way as possible.
In this Sick Lick, I'm using the A Minor blues scale. In its traditional form, we would tend to use the Flat 5 note as a passing note (to slide in and out of or bend from) to get that real bluesy sound. What I do here is, rather than using the Flat 5 (D#) as a passing note, I tend to base the scale around this note. What this does is create an extremely aggressive sound, and it makes the scale awesome to use for heavier styles of music.
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.
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.