In this episode of Monster Lick Unleashed, I'm incorporating the diminished 7th scale in the key of E minor.
Don’t be fooled by the way I'm playing this lick. I'm targeting a heavy sound and style, but you can just as easily use this combination for blues or jazz. You should be able to hear these qualities in the lick when you watch the slow demonstration in the video below.
Although I'm using the diminished 7th scale, I'm constantly thinking of the pentatonic scale. This might sound a little strange, but for me, the key to developing a fluent style is to be aware of all the pentatonic boxes or notes other scales use and cross.
I found early on that I could learn a lot of different scales with no problem, as I'm sure you can too. The issue was is that when I would try to incorporate them into my improvising or soloing, I'd get lost or trapped in that scale. It was through listening to players like Robben Ford and Scott Henderson that I started to hear how they'd morph licks out of the pentatonic scale.
This is, in no way, a jazz or fusion lick; what I'm hoping to do with the above explanation is help you to understand how players incorporate different scales into their playing somewhat effortlessly. This is the approach I use, and I'm sure it will work for you.
There's no use learning anything you can't use for soloing or to help with your songwriting, etc. These licks aren't just exercises; they are potentially the basis for a lot of ways to solo. All of these techniques obviously create different sounds and also will make you play differently.
This is very important! After all, we have only 12 different tones we can use. So techniques and and tonal combinations are key to creating different sounding solos.
The opening of this lick will take a little practice to get used to. It involves string skipping along with tapping and wide stretches—a real recipe for a lot of practice!
Make sure the transitions from string to string are even. This is particularly tricky as you are going to have to hammer the note with your index finger quite hard to sound the note. Hammering with the index finger isn't something we tend to do a lot of on the guitar without picking the note first. So be sure to focus on it and get it sounding right.
Also, if the stretches are a little to wide for you or making your hand uncomfortable, simply move the idea further up the fretboard to a position you feel more comfortable with. Like all of these licks, the idea is is that you understand the techniques and adapt them to your own sound a style of playing.
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. His latest album — Ineffable — will be out soon and is available for pre-order through glennproudfoot.com and iTunes (opens in new tab).