Betcha Can't Play This: Marty Friedman

Besides sounding really cool, especially when played fast, this riff helps guitarists think of the fretboard in a way that goes beyond the common "pentatonic box" format. The lick is in the key of A, and learning it will open you to new possibilities of playing in A by broadening your melodic/harmonic perspective of the fretboard.

There are two points in this lick that are designed to break up the usual pentatonic approach. In bar 1, at beat two, I play a high C note, fretted with the ring finger, followed by Bb and B, which are fretted with the index and middle fingers, respectively. As you can see, these three notes pull you out of the "box" position right away.

The second point is where the last two notes of bar 1 move into the beginning of bar 2. These last two notes (E, second string/fifth fret; and D, third string, seventh fret) are fretted with the index and middle fingers, respectively, and are followed in bar 2, beat one, by a B note at the ninth fret on the D string, which is fretted with the pinkie. This creates a five-fret spread between the index finger and pinkie, which definitely goes beyond the three-fret boundary of the traditional minor pentatonic box.

Most rock and blues guitarists don't stretch their fretting hand this way, but doing so will give any player a greater variety of note choices and melodic possibilities. Once you become accustomed to viewing areas of the fretboard from a wider perspective, your approach to soloing will open up tremendously.

Another cool thing about this lick is that it also sounds good when played over a G chord or G bass note, in which context it has a bluesy country sound. Keep in mind that anytime you learn a new lick, you should try playing it over a variety of chords or tonal centers in order to discover a new sound or approach. I believe one can get away with almost anything in a solo if it's played with enough conviction, so don't be afraid to stretch out.

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