What’s up guitar aficionados? It’s good to be back for another round of “Fierce Guitar.” This month I’m going to show you a couple of ideas from a
song called “Frozen by Fire” that I co-wrote with keyboard maestro Derek Sherinian. The song is from Derek’s new CD Molecular Heinosity. Check
it out and crank it up.
Example 1 is the opening lick that is doubled by the keys. The tonality is E Phrygian Dominant mode 5 of the key of A Harmonic minor. The A
Harmonic minor scale consists of A, B, C, D, E, F, G# A. Phrygian Dominant mode starts on the 5th degree, or E. It’s the same notes, just beginning
and ending on E, which is what makes it modal.
This lick was played on a seven-string guitar, and uses alternate picking all the way. It has three groups of fourteen notes that can be subdivided
into groups of six followed by groups of eight before resolving to the low E. If you don’t have a seven-string guitar, you can still pretty much play
the entire lick, so don’t worry about it. Try to dig into the style of the lick so you can use this musical idea in your own playing.
Example 2 is the very next riff in the song, with the same tonality. This is a good example of how to fuse rhythm guitar with fills. Take this one
slowly, because the picking kills. This one is actually harder to play than the intro lick, and is also doubled by the keys and bass on the track. This
rhythm was also played on a seven-string guitar. If you don’t have a seven, just start everything on the sixth string. It won’t be in the same key
anymore, but that’s okay. Just work on understanding the musical direction and getting a feel for the scale.
Example 3 comes in around 1: 31 into the piece. The chord progression is B, E minor, C, G, F#, B, C. This time around I chose to play arpeggios
over the chords. I wanted to mix it up a bit, so I first used legato string-skipping arpeggios and then some sweeping. The legato section is
standard groups of six, with the tricky part being the wide stretched string skipping. The sweeping part is “stock” sweeps grouped in sevens.
Okay, that’s it for this month. Have fun and keep shredding.
Click here to hear these examples
played by Rusty Cooley
Rusty Cooley has been playing and teaching for over 20
years, and has recorded as a solo artist, with his band
Outworld, and keyboardist Derek Sherinian. He has six
instructional DVDs and a signature model 7-string guitar, the
RC7 by Dean Guitars. Visit Rusty online at rustycooley.com