Hey, Guitar World readers!
First, I'd like to apologize for my lack of new lessons over the past month. I've been in Europe building a new studio and recording.
Over the next several weeks, I'm going to continue writing my previous lesson series, including "Quick Licks," "Back to Basics with Pentatonics" and "Learning Mozart's 25th Symphony."
Today I have a quick lick for you that is geared toward beginners and intermediate players. For this lesson, you have two tasks. The first is to learn my example licks and practice them until you can play them at the target tempo (130 bpm).
The second is to use my examples as a template to create your own licks from my basic idea. This is a far more valuable exercise, because the result will give you something you can claim as your own and help develop your identity and voice as a player.
I'd classify this as a legato lick, since it involves a single hammer-on followed by a pull-off. That shouldn't be too difficult, even for beginners. But the real challenge comes from playing the phrase at speed, repeated several times. As an exercise, the lick will increase your finger strength and help develop your legato technique.
The basic pattern for my idea is built around a very simple four-note phrase I repeat. Example 1 demonstrates this using the first three notes of E minor. It's very easy to play with just two pick strokes and a hammer-on and pull-off.
The only difficulty comes from mastering the rhythm. The pattern is a 16th note followed by a triplet of 16th notes, meaning the total duration is the equivalent of three 16th notes. That means when you repeat the lick, it doesn't perfectly fit into a bar. I really like the effect this creates in a full-band arrangement.
Example 2 is the same as Example 1, except that I alternate between two different positions within the E minor scale. I did this to show how you can apply this pattern to any position in any scale. Practice my example as an exercise and then experiment with different scales and positions.
Why not try using harmonic minor or even pentatonics to see what you can come up with?
This final example is an expansion of my original idea where I've created a longer pattern that is more complex. For advanced players, this shouldn't be too difficult. For beginners to intermediate players, this will develop your pull-off technique and improve your coordination between picking and legato techniques.
The final audio sample (all part of the audio clip above) is taken from one of my own songs where I use examples 1 and 3 in an actual solo. Once you've mastered my examples, it's time to start creating with your own ideas. Cheers!
Will Wallner is a guitarist from England who now lives in Los Angeles. He recently signed a solo deal with Polish record label Metal Mind Productions for the release of his debut album, which features influential musicians from hard rock and heavy metal. He also is the lead guitarist for White Wizzard (Earache Records) and toured Japan, the US and Canada in 2012. Follow Will on Facebook and Twitter.