April 2012 Quick Licks

January 30, 2014

Orient Express
From frequent contributor Vinnie DeMasi: “Initially, re-tuning my acoustic C, G, C, G, C, C (low to high) was an attempt to emulate the sounds of Middle Eastern and/or Indian instruments like the oud, bouzouki, and tambura for the track “Train to Babylon” on my Sketches for Sofia CD. Aside from just producing the desired drones however, I discovered that the twofinger grips on the two highest unison-tuned strings allowed major and minor 2nds to be phrased in a way not easily possible on a conventionally tuned guitar. Play through the lick, letting the fretted notes ring out against each other for maximum exotic enchantment, and you’ll see what I mean.”

Sweet Demotion
Tom Hamilton’s bass intro to Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” (which was doubled with marimba, by the by) is so cool and dreamy that it’s a shame not to play it on guitar. Here’s my cheater version. Bouncing between a fretted and an open A keeps it super ringy, as does hammering and pulling off the last three notes. Follow the fingerings and your hand never needs to leave the low E string for full hypnotic effect. Bonus points for singing Joe Perry’s gurgly talk box lines as you play this.

Dominant Pentatonics
We all play triplet based pentatonics like the 1st bar here, but you can really liven them up by using a dominant arpeggio (with the fourth degree thrown in) instead, as we see in the 2nd bar. Switch to straight sixteenths and different numerical groupings for an even quirkier sound in bar 3. This last bit is easiest with hybrid picking and the sliding add9 chords at the end give it a Chris Poland flavor.

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