I'm using the diminished 7th scale (arpeggio) for this lick. The notes in this arpeggio are E, G, Bb and C#.
This lick is very challenging—not for its speed, but for the techniques used.
There are no picked notes in this lick; it's all legato and tapping. The big challenge comes with the hammered notes the right-hand index finger hits. While in theory this sounds easy, it's something we generally don't do on the guitar, so it proves quite difficult.
Normally we hammer with our second, third or fourth fingers while using our index finger as the pivot point to enable the strength for the hammer. This technique relies on your using your thumb as the sole grip point to create the strength.
This is not one of those things that takes months of practice; it will take about an hour or so to really get it happening. The index finger is incredibly strong, so it's just a matter of getting your head around the idea. The key is to practice these hammer-ons and make sure you're sounding all the notes correctly. If not, the lick will lose its appeal.
You will notice in the slow demonstration of the lick how hard I'm hitting the notes with my index finger. It's essential to really smack your finger on the note!
The possibilities with this technique are endless. It's such a great way to get around the guitar, and it has a very unique sound. You'll also notice in the video that I have a string mute running over the strings. This is just to keep the string noise down. Because I'm not picking any notes the right hand, it's constantly on the move and it makes it harder to mute the strings. You can use anything as a string mute—just wrap some material around the neck of your guitar, and that'll work fine.
Don't let any of the above commentary keep you from attempting this lick. These techniques are incredibly fun to play and add to your solos. Just focus on the end result!
Australia's Glenn Proudfoot has played and toured with major signed bands and artists in Europe and Australia, including progressive rockers Prazsky Vyber. Glenn released his first instrumental solo album, Lick Em, in 2010. It's available on iTunes and at glennproudfoot.com. His brand-new instrumental album — Ineffable — is out now and is available through glennproudfoot.com and iTunes.