Monster Licks: Over-the-Top Fun with the E Diminished 7th Scale

(Image credit: Glenn Proudfoot)

As with anything I learn on the guitar, I'm always looking to push new techniques as far as I can while maintaining musicality. Once I've mastered it at an extreme level, it's easy to pull it back and apply parts of the technique to my soloing and improvisation.

No matter what level you're at, you should always look to practice things that are challenging. This is how you'll develop your technique and understanding of music and the guitar.

This doesn't mean you have to play licks like these at lightning speed or even be able to play the whole lick; rather you should simply try and understand the techniques and apply them to your own style. I find the best way to do this is to incorporate the new idea into a song/riff or a solo you've been working on. That way, you'll really cement the idea physically and mentally.

The Lick:

This lick consists of legato and tapping only; there are no picked notes. The secret to making these techniques work is to try and hit the notes as firmly as possible. You want them to sound as though they're being picked. It's a little tricky to get the hang of it, as it is not something we normally do on the guitar, but with some solid practice you'll get the gist!

You'll notice that the patterns and shapes of this lick start to repeat. This is one of the beauties of working with the diminished 7th scale; we can take one shape and simply move it up and down the neck in minor 3rds. Obviously in this lick I'm using quite a few different patterns, but you'll start to recognize the repeating shapes very quickly.

There's a section of this lick where I swing my left hand over the top and play a three-note-per-string legato line on the E and D strings. This is a very difficult line, but certainly one that will blow your friends' minds! It's not important to play this lick, but it's a true challenge, so just have some fun with it.

(Image credit: Glenn Proudfoot)

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