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Metal for Life: How to Produce Fresh-Sounding Licks from a Familiar Scale

The following content is related to the October 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.

This month, I’d like to demonstrate some neat ways to twist the familiar five-note pentatonic scale into new and unusual phrases and patterns. I was inspired to do this after a sax player asked me why so many guitarists play up and down through the pentatonic scale within the confines of a single fretboard position.

“Every time you guys play a solo,” he said, “your fingers all look the same.” I realized he had a valid point, so I set out to come up with some licks that traverse the fretboard with unexpected finger slides and position shifts that, by their very nature, create a smooth, legato sound that is more “horn-like” than typical, stock lead guitar phrases.