MARK MORTON“This lick [FIGURE 1] is basically a harmonic minor scale run in A [A B C D E F G#] that stutter-steps back and forth at the end. In the late Eighties I was really into neoclassical guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen and the guys who were on Shrapnel Records, and they were all overtly employing the harmonic minor scale. The scale intrigued me because it has a really exotic flavor to it, thanks to the flat sixth [F] and sharp seventh [G#]. This run definitely shows that influence on my playing.
"I use strict alternate [down-up] picking to play this run.
When playing lead, I think it's much more efficient to alternate pick than to use only downstrokes because alternate picking enables you to play faster. I also use my fretting hand's little finger a lot when playing this-I think you have to. If you're not using your pinkie, you're immediately throwing away 25 percent of your ability, since you're playing with only three-fourths of your fingers.
"To master this run, start off slowly and build up speed. It's really not very hard or overly technical, so mastering it is just a matter of practice and time. The only part that may be tricky is at the beginning of the lick, when you have to slide your fretting hand's index finger back and forth quickly. I've included an alternate-fingering option for the first four notes, in case you're having trouble with the index-finger slide."
WILLIE ADLER"This lick [FIGURE 2] is a rhythm part played in drop-D tuning [low to high: D A D G B E], and it features a lot of fast picking and string skipping. The string skipping is definitely the hardest part about it. I use my pinkie quite a lot when playing this riff, but, to be honest, I prefer not to. Most of what I do relies on the first [index] and third [ring] fingers of my fretting hand, but the pinkie comes in handy for certain things, like this riff.
"I use a lot of down picking when I play. Of course, on really fast riffs I'll revert to alternate picking, but whenever I can, I try to down pick everything. It often depends on how I feel-on some nights I might be totally on it and tight, with the adrenaline pumping to the point where I can keep down picking the whole way.
"Developing speed when down picking is a matter of hard work. Try to do it as much as you can, build up your stamina and be able to completely relax your muscles so you can play fast. I stretch a lot and do circles with my arm to stimulate the blood circulation in my hand. It also helps relax my arm."