Sick Licks: Major 3rd Madness

In this Sick Lick, I'm using the E pentatonic scale with the added major 3rd.

This is one of my favorite scales to use when soloing. It creates such a unique sound and is very noticeable, especially when adapted to rock or metal solos. It's a great way to really throw the listener, as we would predominately use minor scales in rock or metal solo. The listeners aren't really accustomed to hearing the major 3rd. That's why it can be so effective when applied in the right manner.

The basis for this is simple: We take the standard E minor pentatonic scale and substitute the minor 3rd for the major 3rd. With this, we have that distinctive blues sound, but when combined with arpeggios and sweeps, you can start to create a far more modern and "out there" sound.

I tend to use this scale in combination with others, so I'll switch in and out of it when soloing to really create a crazy sound, but it can be a great scale to use if you're after a less-aggressive-sounding solo.

Section 1: I start this section with a five-string arpeggio with our fingers moving up the scale in a forward motion. From here, I move into a legato line with the last note being tapped with our right middle finger. This is a cool way to create longer legato lines, and it sounds super-smooth! From here I move into a six-string arpeggio starting on the high E and ending on the 16th fret of the low E string.

Section 2: This is a combination of three-string arpeggios. I suggest breaking this section into groups of three notes and work on the shapes and fingerings, then slowly bring it up to speed. Remember I'm using sweep picking in this lick, so be sure to apply the sweep or economy-style technique to your picking. For example, if I'm playing an arpeggio, I'll drag the pick across the strings like I would if I were strumming a chord, obviously in a controlled manner to achieve the syncopation between left and right hands.

Section 3: This is where I bring my thumb over to create a pivot note from which I can launch my left hand over the top of the neck to fret the two six-string arpeggios. The actual shape of the arpeggio is the same both ways, so it's just a matter of nailing it in one direction. With this over-the-top section, just take it easy and have some fun. From here, I once again use my thumb as the pivot to bring my hand back around the neck and finish with a similar run to the one at the start of the lick.

There is a lot to take in here, but it's well worth the effort.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy! Please join me on YouTube here.

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 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.

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