Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 11-30-2010
Posted by Michael Mueller on November 30, 2010 at 4:20 PM
In his now-classic (and downright hilarious) "Intense Rock" instructional videos, Paul Gilbert taught a shred pattern that involved playing the first six notes of the natural minor scale on strings 5-6, then moving the pattern up an octave for strings 3-4, and finally up another octave and repeated on strings 1-2. It makes for a fun and effective alternate picking exercise, and it's rather useful for climbing the fretboard in rapid fashion. Still, it's a bit "exercise-y."
To give this lick a little bit of country kick, I took a cue from shredder John 5 and added some open strings and nifty chromaticism. Based loosely on the extended A minor pentatonic scale shape, this lick features a six-note quasi-chromatic pattern that played in three different octaves, with an open-string attack on each string. Even though it starts on the open low E string, the root is the A note on the 6th string, preceded by said open E and then the b7th (G) and major 7th (G#).
As you'll see in the video, the fingering is quite simple, using your index, middle, and ring fingers, for each string's chromatic sequence. Using the open string as a starting note gives your fret hand just enough time to shift positions.
Coincidentally, if you move the six-note pattern down a half step and consider the open E the root, this exact same pattern works deliciously well over an E or E7 chord.