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Monster Licks: E Diminished 7th Arpeggios

In this lick I’m using the Diminished 7th scale in the key of E minor.

This scale or arpeggio is traditionally taught with a two-notes-per-string approach, but I discovered the three-notes-per-string idea when listening to Shawn Lane, whose use of this scale was absolutely mind blowing—he took it to another planet! I drew inspiration from Lane, while at the same time not completely dismissing the traditional shapes, as they're still a very powerful tool to have in your arsenal. 

The Lick

The lick starts out with a three-note legato pattern. As the Diminished 7th scale is linear the fingerings remain the same no matter the position—this gives you the ability to really focus on the speed of the lick without having to worry so much about the shapes, as they are always the same.

The most crucial part of this lick is the transition where I swing my hand “over the top” of the guitar. To set this up I tap three notes with my right hand, which gives me enough time to swing my left hand over the neck and get into position. I then start the “over the top” section with a slide using my index finger, which sets up the six-string arpeggio that follows.

The transition on the way back is done using with my left-hand thumb. You will notice that the last note I hit in the “over the top” section is on the 15th fret of the low ‘E’ with my thumb—I use this as the pivot point to swing my hand back around to the normal fretting position. It is important to try and sound that note as long and as cleanly as possible in order to make the lick flow nicely.

While tonally the different parts of this lick can be broken down and used for runs in your soloing, the actual lick in its entirety is more of a technical challenge than a musical one. As a player I feel it is incredibly important to push yourself with new ideas as much as possible, as the better your technique the more options you will have when it comes time to writing and soloing. Not to mention that your friends will be blown away if you can pull this lick off!

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy! 

(Image credit: Glenn Proudfoot)

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