Ear of the Beholder
Hey, welcome back to “Fierce Guitar.”
I’m excited to be working with Premier
Guitar and Greg Howe on this new series
of columns; I’ve been a fan of both for a
long time. I can’t tell you how cool it is to
be working with Greg, and I look forward
to what I’m going to learn from his side
of the column.
I’ll begin with a few words on shred
and what I think about it. I think first
and foremost music is in the ears of the
beholder; each person should make the
music that makes them happy. The bottom
line: it’s your music and your creativity, and
as long as you’re happy who cares what
any one else thinks—right? I believe if you
sit around and contemplate what everyone
else is going to think about your music you
will never get anywhere. As the old saying
goes, you can’t please all of the people
all of the time. As long as you like it and
have expressed yourself to the best of your
ability, that’s good enough for me.
The other thing is that not everything
sounds good at every tempo, so you can’t
base your writing and creativity on that.
Certain ideas are based on the musical
impact of the moment. For example, if
you take some of Malmsteen, Gilbert,
Lane—or even the great Holdsworth’s
most insane passages—and slowed them
down to a two-digit metronome setting,
you’ll probably think geez, these sound like
exercises, hmmm… To me there’s nothing
wrong with that, because that stuff wasn’t
meant to be played slow. On the other
hand, you could take some beautiful Bach
melodies, or even something like Satch’s
“Always with Me, Always with You,” and
crank up the metronome to 250, and that’s
just going to sound wrong.
So what is my point? Not everything was
meant to sound great both fast and slow,
so it’s okay if your most shredding licks
don’t sound as musical slow as they do
fast. Music is written at different tempos
to create feeling and emotion, so don’t be
afraid to express yourself that way.
Okay, let’s get down to some fierce licks!
All of this month’s arpeggio examples are
derived from the E Lydian flat- 7 scale,
which is mode four of B Melodic Minor.
You can play each of these examples
over the chord type designated or over
something as simple as an E5 power chord
or E major chord. You can also dig deeper
by looking at the modes scale formula and
coming up with some of your own chords.
Here’s the formula: 1, 2, 3, sharp- 4, 5, 6,
flat- 7, 8. Also remember when creating
chords that a 2 is a 9, and a 4 is an 11, and
a 6 is a 13—just one octave higher. Also a
sharp- 4 is enharmonically a flat- 5.
Example 1 is an E7#11 arpeggio that is a four-note-per-string idea. We’re going to be using two fingers on the fretting hand and two on your
tapping hand (identified as t2 and t3). For those unused to tapping with more than one finger, you can take the first four notes and make a drill
out of it until you feel comfortable with the rolls involved.