In this Sick Lick, I'm using the D Minor pentatonic scale. The idea behind this lick is to be able to move all around the neck while using your right middle finger to fret notes, creating longer legato lines and providing huge coverage on the neck.
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 that utilize techniques that Steve Vai or Satch would use in their soloing.
Obviously, working with the pentatonic scale can be very challenging due to the massive stretches required to pull off some of these licks. It's very important that your thumb is behind the neck in a more classical-style approach. It's the same with your posture and guitar position; this allows your left hand to really open up.
As you can hear from the first legato line in this lick, it actually contains 11 notes, all on the high E string. All the notes leading up to the note we tap and all the notes after we tap are legato. This gives a very nice and smooth sound while enabling us the time we need to tap the notes with our right hand.
From here it leads to a six-string arpeggio, then into another long legato line. It's the same as the first legato line, but this time we are moving forward. Once again, all notes leading up to and after the note we tap are all legato. Then we finish with a three-string arpeggio into a bend.
The combination of the wide stretches along with fretting notes with your right hand is difficult, but this technique sounds great at any speed. I often use this for very melodic playing or slow runs, so just practice it at a pace that is good for you!
Like with all these licks, if it's all a little too much for you, just dissect it and focus on a part you find useful for where your playing is at now. For me to play and create licks like this has been a lot of work. So if you are a beginner, I do not want you to be put off by these licks. Instead, let them inspire you! Let them be the thing you focus on to help get you where you want to be!!
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Thanks, and play hard!
Australia's Glenn Proudfoot has played and toured with major signed bands and artists in Europe and Australia, including progressive rockers Prazsky Vyber. Glenn released his first instrumental solo album, Lick Em, in 2010. It is available on iTunes and at glennproudfoot.com. Glenn was featured in the October 2010 issue of Guitar World and now creates "Betcha Can’t Play This" segments and lessons for GW. Glenn also has a monthly GW column, "Loud & Proud," which offers insight into his style and approach to the guitar. Glenn is working on a project with Ezekiel Ox (ex Mammal) and Lucius Borich (Cog), which is managed by Ted Gardner, ex-Tool and Jane's Addiction manager. The band has done pre-production on 22 tracks and is set to hit the studio and finish their first studio album. The album is set for release in 2012. Glenn also is working on the followup to his debut album; it, too, will be released in 2012.