Betcha Can't Play This: Guitarist Ethan Brosh Lays Down the Challenge

I start this lick by ascending a two-octave Bm(add9) arpeggio [B C# D F#].

This short run is performed legato style, in which all the notes are sounded by the fret hand alone. I don’t use the pick again until the next beat, when I begin down-picking across the D and G strings.

These consecutive down-strokes are performed using a smooth raking motion, otherwise known as sweep picking. Be sure to lift your fretting fingers off each string as you move to the next higher one. This will help keep the notes distinct. A light palm-mute can help with this.

After descending through the top octave of Bm(add9) at the end of bar 1, I play a somewhat cyclical note pattern within the B natural minor scale [B C# D E F# G A], employing alternate [down-up] picking. The pattern repeats a few times and then moves down the scale, where, in bar 3, I create a unique-sounding ascent back up the scale.

I begin bar 3 by alternating between a fret-hand legato pattern and dedicated alternate picking on each string. Begin on the sixth string with a down-pick, followed by a slide and then two consecutive hammer-ons. Next, move to the fifth string, this time using only alternate picking for these notes. Return to the previous legato approach, followed by picking, as you move across the remaining four strings.

In bar 4, I put my own spin on a Bm7 arpeggio [B D F# A] by adding the 11th degree tension note, E [G string, 21st fret], via pickhand tapping. Note that frethand hammer-ons that occur on strings without a preceding pick attack—as with the high D and F# notes in beat two—require a deliberate and extra-strong hammer technique.

The arpeggios in bars 5 and 6 are based on ‘add9,’ or ‘add2,’ triads. Each arpeggio is performed fairly similarly, so once you get the first one up to speed, the rest should fall in line.

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