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Metal For Life: Creating Powerful Licks and Rhythm Parts from Two-String Ideas

These videos are bonus content related to the December 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

A great method for creating inventive lines for primary riffs, rhythm parts or solos is to limit one’s focus to just two strings and maintain this two-string approach in the development of long melodic phrases. I have found that doing this forces me to think and play “outside the box,” so to speak, and usually yields surprising results and very cool licks that I may not have otherwise discovered.

Let’s look at an example of this concept. FIGURE 1 is in the key of E minor and is played entirely on the B and high E strings. The line is based on a combination of the E Aeolian mode, also known as the E natural minor scale (E Fs G A B C D), and the E Dorian mode (E Fs G A B Cs D).

Notice that the only difference between Aeolian and Dorian is the sixth scale degree: within the structure of Aeolian, the sixth is minor, or “flatted” (C in the key of E minor), and in Dorian, the sixth is major (Cs in the key of E minor).