Guitar Instructor Lick of the Week 12-14-2010

Posted by Michael Mueller on December 14, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Three-note patterns—they're a shredder's best friend. Combine them with the key of E minor, and you've died and gone to Note-topia! So that's what I decided to do for our new lick of the week.

This rapid-fire alternate-picked line climbs two octaves of the E natural minor scale (E-F#-G-A-B-C-D) using three-note patterns across three fretboard positions. I've arranged the pattern rhythmically into sextuplets, as these three-note segments fall so nicely into triplet-based rhythms. It's played at a tempo of about 104 bpm, but the shredder's dirty little secret is that as long as you start and end in time, what happens in the middle is like discount day at Barney's. Still, the best (and proper) way to practice these lines is with a metronome. Playing every note in time is what separates the men from the boys.

The three-notes-per-string position shifts employed here are favorites of technicians like John Petrucci, Mark Tremonti, and Rusty Cooley. For more on this type of approach, check out Troy Stetina's excellent lesson "Three-Notes-Per-String Scale Patterns." I've used alternate picking, but these shapes are also popular for legato-based lines.

As always, start slowly and work it up to speed, trying to make each note ring clearly.

Shred lick

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