String Skipping Arpeggios in a Melodic Composition with Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom

January 1, 2010

ALEXI LAIHO OF CHILDREN OF BODOM has put a spark back into guitar once again! This shredder from Finland has the chops, songwriting ability, and attitude to lead the new generation of metal guitar players. I spent a week with him creating two guitar instructional programs and I can tell you this: Alexi doesn’t f*ck around! He is 100 percent guitar with dedication and passion 24/7.

Alexi’s style is melodic. Even when he plays blistering fast passages, they seem to carry strong melodies. With an arsenal of varsity techniques under his belt, Alexi crafts interesting and memorable lead sections for his songs. As an aspiring guitarist, keep in mind that simply slapping together a bunch of arpeggios, quick scale runs, and bends doesn’t mean that you will have a great solo. You must think about phrasing and structure to give a solo substance and melody.

For this lesson, note how Alexi puts string-skipping arpeggios into a composition. Before you get into the actual solo, play through the arpeggios in Examples 1 and 2. Many guitarists use hammer-ons and pulloffs when executing these string skipping arps, but Alexi chose to pick them to get a steady, even flow. I recommend that you do both so you can choose how you want to apply them to your own leads.

Ex. 3 is a piece inspired by the lead section of the Children of Bodom song “Six Pounder.” It is broken into three parts, each moving up a half-step. Be sure to use alternate picking and beware of the six-fret stretch on the first string. Work on first part and you’ll be able to rip through the rest with ease. You can download a backing track that corresponds to this lesson at rockhousemethod. com. Happy shredding!

John McCarthy is the creator of the Rock House Method.

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