Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 12-07-2010
Posted by Michael Mueller on December 7, 2010 at 2:23 PM
Ask someone to name the titans of bebop jazz guitar, and you'll consistently get names like Pat Martino, George Benson, and Wes Montgomery. But one of the greatest and, sadly, most overlooked jazz beast was virtuoso Tal Farlow. Nicknamed "the octopus" for his huge hands and resulting extended reach on the fretboard, Farlow used his physical gift to great advantage, and in time it became an integral part of his style.
This particular lick comes from Farlow's 1981 recording of the Sonny Rollins classic "St. Thomas." Over a C major harmony, Farlow begins with the consonant 1st-inversion C major triad, which sets up an extended, single-string rendering of a startling C diminished triad. Farlow follows this with a bluesy G-Gb-F (5-b5-4) move before wrapping it up with a familiar bebop line of F-D-D#-E-C.
In terms of execution, the lick is pretty straightforward, with the exception of the stretch necessary for the diminished triad. You'll obviously use your index finger on the 8th-fret C and your pinky finger on the 14th-fret Gb. Whether you use your middle or ring finger on the 11th-fret Eb is up to you. Use whichever feels most comfortable.