Jan 1, 2009

Metal licks that will make your spine tingle

Today I'm trying something new. Actually today's approach is happening because of necessity. My camera is on the fritz, and I had to get a new computer for recording, so I'm in the process of changing my equipment out. I'm almost done with this process, and so things should be able to resume as normal here in a short while.

Today I'm going to show you 4 licks that I made up when I felt like doing something metalicious on the guitar. Well, I can't shoot a video at the moment, so instead I'm going to try out this new audio player. Its a flash player, so if you get left out - I'm really sorry.

I took the time to record these licks and construct the accompanying guitar tablature, paying as much attention to phrasing as possible. This first audio example is all of the licks chained together. Have a listen.

Now let's break it down, because there are some very interesting things happening here. If you dedicate your time to learning any of these little passages, I highly recommend that you pay special attention to the picking approach used in each one. There is no doubt in my mind that some of these riffs may be very uncomfortable to play at first, but they are composed in a certain fashion for a reason. The choice of picking used in each example makes use of an economical approach to playing.

Example a1

Example a1 makes good use of hammer-on/pull off combination to cut down on the amount of work that the picking hand has to do. After the second hammer-on/pull off combo, the next three notes on the G string are alternate picked, but you will notice that they start with a down stroke. This is because the second hammer-on/pull off combination started with a down stroke, and once you get up to speed, you're not going to want to mess with trying to catch another down stroke. This would waste too much time and precious energy.

You will also notice a tiny amount of what is known as economy picking. This occurs between the notes of the 5th fret on the G string and the transition from their to the 5th fret on the D string. Those two notes are picked out with up strokes, and its this way for a strong reason.

Its this way, because it sets you up so that the last note, the 6th fret on the A string, ends on a down stroke. Why is this? because there is a pinch harmonic at the end, and it is much easier to do a pinch harmonic with a down stroke, than on an upstroke.

Now lets take a look at Example a2.

This metal lick uses a strict sliding technique. The idea is to pick a note with a down stroke and pinch harmonic, and then slide the note through the remaining notes, while maintaining the pinch harmonic.

Though it sounds difficult, if you can get a good squeal, and slide from one note to the other in good timing, you can actually maintain that harmonic.

On the last two notes, the 9th and 8th frets on the G string, make sure that you start applying vibrato as soon as you catch the 9th fret. This will help you to prolong the pinch harmonic, and it gives the note an extraordinarily wicked sound.

Now for Example a3.

Start by picking the 10th fret with a down stroke, and then pick it again with a down stroke. The second time that you pick it, you must bend it up 1 1/4 of a bend. That's a full bend plus a half bend, which means that you are bending the string up 3 frets to the pitch of the 13th fret.

The next few notes consist of a simple set of hammer-ons, pull offs and a slide.

Just like with Example a2, the last two notes of this passage involve a pinch harmonic and vibrato combo. Strike the 7th fret with a good harmonic, immediately hammer on the 8th fret, and instantly put vibrato behind the 8th fret.

Example a4.

Example a4 is no doubt the hardest, but it is setup for maximum potential. If you decide to work with this one, make sure that you really slow it down. You'll need to assure yourself that you are picking a down stroke when it says down stroke, and that you are picking an up stroke when a note calls for an up stroke.

Also make sure to pay very close attention to the details of the hammer-ons, and pull offs.

By the way, I wish you a happy new year, and here's to your improvement on the guitar!

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