When you start using the modes, it can be a little tricky to get a handle on phrasing and avoid playing stuff that sounds too generic. In this article, we looked at breaking arpeggios and scales down into string pairs, so what I’d like to do here is take that idea and apply it to modes. This will be especially useful if you’re coming from the ‘Parent Scale’ school of thought, or are having trouble bringing out the sound of a particular mode.
If you’re a fan of Steve Morse’s playing, one of his most prominent techniques is alternate picking arpeggios instead of sweeping them. I think this is a great technique to have under your belt as it really heightens the dexterity of your picking hand, as well as giving that sweep-picking sound without having to learn to sweep pick. I personally prefer the sound of alternate picking arpeggios to sweep-picking arpeggios as they’re not as obvious-sounding as when you change to sweep-picking on the fly. I remember my first guitar teacher showing me these exercises in the early 90s, but it was a fair few years later before I discovered the benefits of them.
I’m a big fan of ideas like this that reduce thinking and allow you to come up with some great stuff on the fly. As guitarists, we spend a lot of (probably too much) time practicing our arpeggios and scales when we should be having some fun with them too. In this blog lesson, we’ll look at a way to map out both simple and complex patterns so that you can fire them off at will when improvising.
If you’re an intermediate level, or even advanced guitarist, sweep picking is probably one of those techniques you feel you should be able to do by now. I know I certainly did, and although I was never a serious shredder, I was always curious about the technique and thought it’d be useful to know. I have a kind of sweep-ish picking technique anyway from watching a lot of Frank Gambale videos, but transitioning to actual sweep-picking was another step entirely. The technique itself is made up of composite parts, and once you reverse engineer them, you discover that the mechanics of it are far easier to digest and assimilate into your playing if you work on it in the following order...
Big thanks to guitartricks.com and Alex Brice for this excellent beginner's guide to getting a great guitar tone.
Here I’ve put together the basic essentials of Guitar tone, before we get to FX loops, rack mounts, changing your own valves. There’s no point diving into any of that stuff unless you’ve already mastered these essentials below, which break down into 3 subcategories - The Player, The Guitar and The Amp. Enjoy!
If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this series of posts as they relate to the major scale. In this third installment, we’ll be looking at yet more soloing options, which you can derive from the Melodic Minor scale. If you haven’t learned the Melodic Minor scale yet, this post also serves as a great introduction to the new and slightly twisted sounds available.
In the beginning, I struggled a lot with rhythm guitar, and for an unusually long time, no matter how much I practiced; even my first guitar teacher (a funk master) couldn’t work out what I was doing wrong. I didn’t want to be one of those guitarists whose lead playing was light years ahead of their rhythm playing, to almost embarrassing levels, so I set about figuring out what exactly I needed to do bring my rhythm chops up to speed. As it turns out, I was practicing the wrong things in the sense that the things I was practicing weren’t in line with my goal of becoming a decent rhythm player. What I needed to do was some ‘TV Practicing’, which actually has little to do with practicing while watching TV…
I’m not a huge fan of the CAGED System, but I am grateful to its existence because it forced me to come up with Hacking the CAGED System, which is an alternative, and in my humble opinion, more usable system designed for anyone who’s stuck with the original CAGED System, or wants an approach with a better balance between the shapes and the theory behind them. However, in this post we’ll use the original CAGED chord shapes and combine them with a simple technique to get some sick-sounding outside lines going.
My first guitar teacher was a great funk player. I’d go see him play at the local venues where I remember being blown away by the sheer number of chords he seemed to know when playing funk-style rhythms. In the beginning, of course, these things look mind-boggling to say the least, and it wasn’t until a few years later that I realized where he was getting all those chords from…
I love outside playing, the more outrageous the better. I think it was Allan Holdsworth who called it, ‘playing all the rude notes’, and he was definitely right. These are the notes that stick out like a sore thumb but in a good way, if you handle them right. There are many approaches to playing outside the lines, but the one we’re going to look at here is an especially friendly one; it allows you to stray quite far out but provides the greatest safety net of them all: the pentatonic scale. Let’s check it out.