Betcha Can't Play This: Phrygian-Dominant Male —Sylvain Coudret of Soilwork

This is a single-note run based on the D Phrygian dominant mode [D Eb F# G A Bb C] that incorporates several different playing techniques to create an interesting, rolling contour.

I tune my guitar to drop-B, which is drop-D tuning down one and one half steps [low to high, B F# B E G# C#], so while I’m thinking of the run as being in D, it actually sounds in B [Phrygian dominant].

Bars 1–3 are played entirely on the G string and feature sextuplet phrasing [six-note groupings], with an extra two 16th notes tagged onto the end of each bar, which makes it an odd-meter lick [13/8 instead of 12/8]. I alternate pick the first three notes of each sextuplet with palm muting [P.M.], followed by an un-muted double pull-off, which creates a nice contrast, going back and forth from staccato to legato articulation.

There’s a four-fret stretch required in these first three bars, so make sure your fingers and wrist are thoroughly warmed up before playing the lick, to avoid uncomfortable cramping or possible injury. Be sure to palm mute the bottom three strings throughout these first three bars, even when doing the pull-offs on the G string, in order to keep them from ringing.

Bar 4 is built on diminished-seven arpeggio shapes and introduces some string skipping between the G and high E strings and ascending and descending legato finger slides, which I use to shift positions.

The run winds up in bar 5 with some unbroken alternate picking as I ascend the D Phrygian-dominant mode across the top four strings, leading to a high D note at the 10th fret, which I shake then slide down from. Notice that I add a couple of chromatic passing tones on the top two strings during this final ascent.

These extra notes serve to smooth out the contour of the line and make for an even number of notes per string [four], which works well with this kind of alternate-picked run.

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