Betcha Can't Play This: Wide Stretches, String Skipping and Tapping with Gus G

This lick is influenced by Paul Gilbert and Richie Kotzen and incorporates wide fret-hand stretches, string skipping, tapping and legato phrasing [hammer-ons, pull-offs and unpicked slides].

It starts out with a three-notes-per-string A minor pentatonic [A C D E G] flurry played on the A, G and high E strings. To avoid injury, be sure to warm up your fret hand before diving into this lick.

The tapping comes into play at the end of bar 1 and includes the use of a tap-and-slide move, which can be a little bit tricky to do accurately at first if you’re unfamiliar with this technique. You might want to first practice it a few times to acquire the right touch before moving on.

When sliding the tapping finger, try not to press it against the string any harder than necessary, because doing so will create undo drag [friction] and actually make the technique more difficult to perform.

In bar 2, I move down the high E string through the A natural minor scale [A B C D E F G], using tapping in combination with fret-hand hammer-ons, pull-offs and legato slides. It’s not your typical tapping pattern, but it’s easier to play than you might think.

The last part of the lick [bar 4] settles into the fifth-fret A minor pentatonic ‘box’ pattern on the top three strings and incorporates a few notes from A natural minor, along with a string bend and some decorative vibrato.

I advise you to practice this lick with a metronome at first. Start at a very slow speed, and make sure you play each note cleanly and accurately before increasing the tempo. Shred on!

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