In this Monster Lick, I'm using the A minor pentatonic scale.
When I was a kid, this was exactly what I wanted to be able to do with the pentatonic scale — total domination over the fretboard while remaining in the tonal rock core of the pentatonic. I envisioned this so clearly, but it took me years of hard work to even get close to where this lick is at.
I'm not telling you this to big-note myself, rather as something to motivate you — even beginners. No one just picks up a guitar and shreds their ass off; it just doesn’t work like that. It takes an incredible amount of hard work. I'm still constantly searching for ways to push myself technically and musically. It's what makes me feel alive!
This is a great example of how you can quickly transition with the pentatonic and move it all over the neck at speed. This is done with a combination of arpeggios, slides and legato.
What makes this a little more difficult than usual are the stretches. They require a lot of practice and getting used to. The techniques in this lick are nothing unusual (apart from the over-the-top section) but the techniques, in conjunction with the stretches, become very difficult. So like anything else, be patient and work on it slowly.
I start this lick in the first and second positions of the A pentatonic scale. You will notice how I combine two of the patterns at once. This is how I create the arpeggio shapes. It's very important that you recognize the shapes of the pentatonic while moving through this lick. This will help you immensely when it comes time to pull these licks out while soloing.
You will notice some repeating transitions in this lick. When I'm moving up the neck, I use slides to transition to the next two boxes of the pentatonic. When I'm moving down the scale or (back on myself), I use pull-offs. These little subtleties are the secret ingredients to being able to master these licks.
There is so much information in this one lick; it is not necessary to be able to play the whole thing. What is important is that you understand the basis of it and how it is created. Then you can apply these techniques and ideas to your own style.
I'm influenced and inspired by so many guitarists/musicians. It is never my goal to play like them but rather to apply some of the things they do into my own style. You should take the same approach with these licks. Use what you like and apply it to your own style.
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.