Licks Behind Barres
Hey there, Premier Guitarist – long time,
no see! I really want to thank my good
buddy, Bruce Bouilett, of Racer X fame
for sitting in as a guest columnist. He did
an excellent job bringing some cool, new
ideas to your musical attention. I hope you
enjoyed them; you can look forward to
more celebrity guests in future columns.
Keep in mind, if there’s anything you’d like
me to discuss or cover in this column feel
free to contact me at Toshi@TOSHIISEDA.
com or firstname.lastname@example.org. For those
of you on MySpace, you can find me at
myspace.com/toshiiseda. I hope to hear
This month, I’d like to look at a few ways
to get some intervals into your playing by
barring with your finger. Take a gander
at Exercise 1. Here you’ll want to barre
with either your third finger or your pinkie
– use whichever you’re most comfortable
with. Your finger choice depends on where
you’re going to go after you execute this
lick. As for executing the lick itself, you are
going to use a series of hammer-ons and
In Exercise 1, you’ll pull-off from the D
note (15th fret, B string) to the B note at
the 12th fret, then hammer back on to the
D note at the 15th fret. This will be the
basic technique applied to all the exercises
this month. The picking pattern will be as
follows: upstroke, downstroke, pull-off and
The cool thing about this style of playing
is that with the interval jump, it sounds
as if you are tapping instead of barring.
In order to make this even more evident,
don’t allow the notes to “bleed” into one
another when you barre them together.
In Exercise 2 we’re going to take things
one step further by adding another note.
In this case, we’ll add the E note and then
alternate between the E at the 12th fret
and G at the 15th fret. Remember, the
same picking pattern applies as in the first
example. Example 3 uses the same basic
principle as the second exercise.
In Exercise 4, we’re going to bring in the G
string – here’s where it starts getting good.
The picking pattern stays the same until
we get to the G string. Hit that note with
a downstroke; again, be particularly aware
of not letting notes bleed into one another
when you go from the B at the 12th fret to
the G at the 12th fret. In Exercise 5, it is
a little easier to separate the notes when
moving from the B string to the G string
because the notes aren’t on the same fret
and you won’t be barring them.
In Exercises 6 and 7, we’re going to get
really tricky and incorporate string skipping into the equation. It’s interval city,
baby! This is very similar to what Paul
Gilbert does, with the barre being the only
difference in style. In Exercise 8, we’re
going to combine everything – the barring
and the string skipping – to get a really
cool lick. Try incorporating these concepts
into your own playing and see if you can
take it in a different direction.
That wraps it up for this month, folks.
Thanks again for tuning in to another
installment of “Intense Guitar,” and until
next month, remember, “Who dares, wins!”
Toshi Iseda is an Alumnus of the prestigeous Berklee
College of Music and the American Conservatory of Music.
He has been featured in Guitar Player, Guitar World and
Guitar/Guitar One magazines, and is a former instructor at
the National Guitar Workshop and former instructor at the
American Institute of Guitar. He is considered the #1
instructor in Central Tennessee.