Thrash Course with Dave Davidson: More Melodic Options for Combining Sweeping and Tapping Techniques — Video

Last month, I demonstrated some effective ways to incorporate the techniques of sweep picking and fretboard tapping into a single arpeggio-based run.

As you recall, we started out using minor seven arpeggios and then mutated them into minor seven flat-five.

This month, I’d like to apply these same concepts to other arpeggio types, or qualities, namely major seven, major seven sharp 11 and major seven sharp five.

Let’s begin with a Gmaj7 arpeggio (G B D F#) using two notes per string. As shown in FIGURE 1, I begin with a downstroke on F#, the major seventh, then hammer onto G, the root note, one fret higher. I then move up to the next higher string and pick B, the major third, with a downstroke and then hammer on to D, the fifth. This downstroke-hammer sequence then continues across the remaining pairs of higher strings to form one continuous Gmaj7 arpeggio played in three octaves.

Now let’s add a fretboard tap to each string pair. In FIGURE 2, across beats one and two, I follow the hammers on the bottom two strings with a tap on F#, the major seventh, on the A string’s ninth fret, then pull-off back to the fifth and second frets, followed by a hammer-pull on the low E string. On beat three, two-note hammers move across the A, D and G strings, and on beat four I perform another tap, this time to F# one octave higher, at the G string’s 11th fret, followed by pull-offs back down to the two previous notes. I then finish the run by repeating the same sequence one octave higher across the top three strings.

One can easily mutate this arpeggio and discover different sounds by changing just one note then doing the same in each octave. For example, in FIGURE 3, I substitute the flatted fifth, Db, which may also be thought of as the sharped fourth, or sharped 11th, C#, for the fifth, D, while playing the rest of the sequence identically to the way I played FIGURE 2. The result is a combination sweep-tap run that describes a Gmaj7#11 sound.

A cool, modern-sounding chord is major seven sharp-five (maj7#5). In FIGURE 4, I play the notes of a B major triad over a G bass note, resulting in Gmaj7#5 (G B D# F#). I think of this chord as being derived from the fifth mode of the C Hungarian minor scale, shown in FIGURE 5. In FIGURE 6, I alter the arpeggio pattern from FIGURE 2 by raising the fifth in each octave from D to D#.

Now that you have the concept, try moving among the three arpeggio types on the top two strings only, as shown in FIGURE 7. When playing on only two strings like this, it’s much easier to build up speed. And lastly, let’s try the idea with a different chord type: FIGURE 8 is based on an A7add4 arpeggio (A C# D E G) by using only the notes G, A, C# and D (the E is omitted). Now try applying this idea to other chord types.

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