Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week
Posted by Michael Mueller on August 31, 2010 at 1:16 PM
Because I not only manage the site but also play guitar (and used to teach), I often come across cool licks that would be fun to share, so I thought why not start a GI "Lick of the Week." Each Tuesday, I will post something new, covering a variety of styles and genres and various skill levels.
This week's lick makes for a fun, fiery solo capper and is a favorite of Joe Bonamassa, with very similar versions favored by Zakk Wylde and Eric Johnson. It's a sequence of quintuplets (five notes per beat) that descend through the minor pentatonic scale, with a cool octave displacement move as icing on the cake. The lick is presented here in D. It is typically played rather fast. Start slow and use strict alternate picking throughout. I gave a metronome range of 48 - 90, with 48 being a good starting point to practice it in time, and 90 representing a pretty blistering pace. I've heard all three aforementioned guitar heroes play it at even faster tempos, but if you can play this one cleanly and in time at 100 bpm, you don't need this lesson.
Because it's a two-notes-per-string pattern, this lick presents a great exercise for cross-picking as well. Like Bonamassa, Wylde, and Johnson, I prefer to use my ring finger to fret the higher-pitched notes on each string, with two exceptions: In the first descending quintuplet, I use my middle finger to fret the G note at the 12th fret on the 3rd string, and in the final descending quintuplet, I use my pinky finger to fret the low F at the 13th fret on the 6th string.
Good luck, and remember: playing it IN TIME is key!