One of the most beneficial ways to learn scales on the guitar is to break them down and work them out using the common “box patterns” for each scale. This system is a solid way to organize the neck and get any scale under your fingers when first exploring these melodic devices on the fretboard.
For this lesson, I’ve put together a series of melodic riffs that could be used for a song’s intro, verse, chorus, bridge or solo section, and that utilize an open low E-string pedal tone. A pedal tone is defined as a long held or rearticulated note around which other parts move. As applied to the guitar, a pedal tone usually represents the tonic, or root note, and is played on the lower, often open, strings.
In the exclusive lesson video below, James Lynch, Tim Brennan and Jeff DaRosa from Dropkick Murphys show you how to play "The Boys Are Back," a track off their new album. The album, Signed and Sealed in Blood, will be released January 8 on the band's own Born & Bred Records label.
The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” performed entirely by Paul McCartney using his Martin D-28, was released on the 1968 album The Beatles (commonly referred to as the White Album). From a guitar standpoint, the song’s roots and inspiration can be traced back to McCartney’s early experimentation with a well-known piece by J.S. Bach titled “Bourée in E Minor,” which he woodshedded in his youth.
Metallica’s Kirk Hammett is a giant among men. There isn’t a guitar poll he hasn’t won, and his popularity runs high among fans and critics alike. Few would dispute the contention that he is, with the possible exception of Edward Van Halen, the most influential hard rock/metal lead guitarist alive today.
As a guitar teacher, two of the most common questions I get from students are, “How do I break out of box patterns?” and “How can I learn the notes on the neck without just memorizing each fret?” Over the years, and after working with hundreds of students on these topics, I’ve come up with a few exercises that have proved to be very beneficial to players who find themselves asking these questions.
Over the course of the next few months, I’d like to share my approach to songwriting within the context of my band’s self-titled debut album, Periphery. Specifically, we’ll look at the ways in which I combine unusual chordal patterns and single-note riffs in the quest to create new sounds and unearth fresh musical concepts and ideas.
By the early Sixties, the blues branch of the popular music tree was rapidly thinning. One of the main factors contributing to its demise was rhythm. After decades of dance-floor popularity, triplet-based shuffles and swing grooves had started to be viewed as decidedly old-school, eclipsed by the straight-eighth-note-based rhythms of R&B and rock and roll.
When writing on a standard-tuned six-string guitar, I tend to move my fingers in familiar patterns and reach for the same chords and shapes. To break this habit, I employ a few go-to devices, including using alternate tunings, composing guitar riffs on a keyboard and introducing the extra range of a seven-string guitar into my writing. I used this last method to great effect on the final Emperor album, 2001’s Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise.