Because my influences are the greats of blues-rock guitar—Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc.—I wanted to be able to stick to the same tonality but adapt it to the heavier, more aggressive style of music I tend to lean toward; certainly in the rock genre, anyway.
There are no picked notes at all in this lick; it's all legato and tapping. The big challenge comes with the hammered notes the right-hand index finger hits. While in theory this sounds very easy, it's something we generally don't do on the guitar, so it proves quite difficult.
This particular combination works incredibly well for heavy rock or a more progressive style of soloing. I tend to use this sort of lick to transition between the scales. Because I predominantly use the pentatonic, I find the diminished seven arpeggio is the perfect ingredient to add some ferociousness into the tonality.
This lick is a real showcase of how you can create legato runs using the pentatonic. Predominantly, legato patterns within the pentatonic consist of two-note-per-string pulls and hammers. I like to adopt a combination of this with a wide intervalic approach to add an extra note to the patterns.
The notes in this scale are B, D, E, F, F#, A, with the F being the flat five or added note. Without a doubt, the blues scale is one of the most frequently used scales in rock soloing, and for good reason! When played slow and clean, it sounds very dark, dirty and bluesy. When played more aggressively with legato and tapping, it sounds incredibly modern.
In this Monster Lick Unleashed, I'm using the diminished 7th scale in the key of E. The notes used in the scale are E, G, Bb and C#. I particularly love this scale for the intense sound it creates when played fast or slow. This scale is perfect to use in combination with the pentatonic.
Players often will combine lots of different modes, etc., to their soloing. I do the same but with a different approach; I base everything around the pentatonic, so instead of playing modes, I simply add the notes to the pentatonic. This way, I always have that rock base behind the sound.
Many of us fall into the trap of practicing the same old stuff over and over again. This is why so many players find they hit a point where they don't get better. This has nothing to do with age or physical limitations; it's because they are not practicing or challenging themselves. They are doing nothing but maintaining.
In this Monster Lick, I'm incorporating the diminished 7th scale in the key of E minor. Don’t be fooled by the way I'm playing this lick. I'm targeting a heavy sound and style, but you can just as easily use this combination for blues or jazz. You should be able to hear these qualities in the lick when you watch the slow demonstration in the video below.
This scale is one of my favorites to use in conjunction with the minor pentatonic in the relative key. It creates tonal space while giving your solos and runs a very intense element, which is essential for heavier styles of music. The techniques used in this lick are legato and tapping. The tapping approach isn't the normal or traditional approach to tapping.