In this Monster Lick, I'm using the B minor pentatonic scale. The notes are B, D, E, F#, A.
A lot of players find the minor pentatonic scale a little limiting at times. I admit that I felt the same way. It took years of hard work to come up with techniques to help get the sound in my head out onto the fretboard.
Some of the hurdles players face with this scale is the way it is traditionally taught, as in the two-note-per-string approach. My goal was to use this tonality but have the ferociousness of a player like Steve Vai.
I started to experiment using three notes per string instead of the traditional two notes. Immediately this started to open up a whole new world of possibilities. I was able to inject legato patterns and arpeggios and move up and down the neck with freedom.
This lick is a prime example of how I construct runs and licks for my soling or while improvising. Obviously, every song or jam is different, but if you can grasp these essential tools, you can then adapt them into any situation.
I start this lick with a combination of arpeggios. You'll notice all these arpeggios are grouped on three strings. I use these to transition between the pentatonic boxes. At the end of every arpeggio I finish with a three-note-per-string fingering to help transition between the shapes.
The thing to note here is how I transition from pentatonic box to box; it is essential that you understand the shapes of the scale, otherwise it will simply just be a bunch of random notes to you. If you don't know the patterns of the pentatonic scale, I recommend you learn them before starting on this lick. It will help you understand what is happening here.
As I move up the scale I start to set up the tapping section of the lick. The notes that are tapped are marked "T" on the transcript. The tapping section is a little tricky as I'm using my second and third fingers to do the tapping while still gripping the pick. The reason for this is to make the transition back to picked notes smoothly and seamlessly.
I recommend you break this lick down and focus on sections at a time. Although this lick is short, there's a lot of information in here, so the best result would be if you work through it slowly and make sure you master it all!
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's available on iTunes and at glennproudfoot.com. His brand-new instrumental album — Ineffable — is out now and is available through glennproudfoot.com and iTunes.