Shred-Approved Techniques for Building Killer Guitar Solos

A track I have been asked about many times is “Mob Is Back,” from Adrenaline Mob's 2014 release, Men of Honor. The licks I play for the intro solo demonstrate a handful of flashy techniques, such as arpeggio sweeps, intricate tapping and fast repeated pentatonic runs, that can be applied to whatever you play.

In this column, I’ll break down all of the figures in this instrumental intro. As usual, my guitar is tuned down a whole step (low to high: D G C F A D). I play the intro with a wah pedal, which I use as a filter effect, moving it slightly as I play in order to accentuate different frequencies.

FIGURE 1 illustrates the first nine bars of the intro: I begin with an aggressive slide up and down the sixth string, followed by a big D5 power chord and a simple lick based on the D minor pentatonic scale (D F G A C), utilizing string bends on the top two strings. At bar 3, I begin a series of repeated four-note phrases based primarily on D minor pentatonic. There are two notes per string, played alternately on the top two strings. While playing this lick, I keep my index finger “anchored” across the top two strings at the 10th fret.

I then move into some tapping, starting on the upbeat of beat four in bar 4. Three notes are sounded with the fret hand, and the pick hand adds the higher tapped note with the middle finger on both the first and second strings. Following the initial ascension of the notes, I then switch to repeated descending patterns on both strings, additionally incorporating a tap onto Bb, first string/18th fret.

At bar 7, I begin a series of arpeggio sweeps based on major triads, starting with D, after which I descend in whole steps to C and Bb, followed by moving one half step down to A and then more whole-step shifts down to G F and Eb. At the top of each arpeggio shape, I add a quick trill between the fifth of the triad and the high root note, so what we get is a quick ascent through the arpeggio, sounded as a sweep, followed by a quick hammer/pull flutter on the first string that’s alternate picked. Once I perform the final Eb arpeggio, I end this first phrase with alternating D5 and C5 power chords.

FIGURE 2 illustrates a lick akin to what follows the initial lick from FIGURE 1. Here I play a series of sextuplets, again based primarily on D minor pentatonic, each beginning with the first note picked three times, followed by three descending notes. I ascend the board through every position of D minor pentatonic, and when I reach the highest position, I move back down through all of the same positions, ending the phrase with a slide up to a heavily vibrato-ed D note on the G string’s seventh fret.

As challenging as this passage sounds, it’s actually not that difficult to play. Just take your time and memorize each of the component patterns, then string them together.

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