In this episode of Monster Licks Unleashed (my brand-new series of lessons and videos), I'm using the Diminished 7th scale in the key of E minor.
This scale is one of my favorites to use in conjunction with the minor pentatonic in the relative key. It creates tonal space while giving your solos and runs a very intense element, which is essential for heavier styles of music.
The techniques used in this lick are legato and tapping. The tapping approach isn't the normal or traditional approach to tapping. Once I launch into the first tapped notes, I no longer pick notes with my right hand; everything is either hammered or tapped.
This is a very easy concept to understand, but it requires a lot of practice and attention to the hammered and tapping parts. As a general rule, I try to tap the notes with my right hand quite hard to pronounce them correctly. The higher up the neck you tap, the harder the it becomes, so it requires more force.
This can prove tricky when you're trying to bring the lick up to speed. But like anything, practice makes perfect!
I suggest practicing this lick with a clean sound slowly. As you start to get comfortable, add some gain.
You also will notice I have a string mute running across the fretboard. This is simply a shoelace. Any piece of material can do this. The idea is to have it tight enough to deaden the strings but not so tight that it bars the notes like a capo. This helps with the excess noise that can occur when applying this technique, especially with gain. The string mute is in no way a necessity. It just helps with the overall sound of the lick.
The main section to watch out for here is in the second bar of this lick, where I start to incorporate my right-hand tapping; from this point onwards, all notes — right- and left-hand — are hammered. Although hammering with your left hand would normally cause no real problems, in this case, as we are hammering all the notes with no picked notes, pronunciation becomes key. The goal should be to focus on sounding all of the notes as close to the same volume as possible. Focus on the slow demonstration of the lick to grasp exactly how the notes should be sounded.
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).