March 2013 Quick Licks

January 30, 2014

Jimmy Page puts so many awesome layers of guitar into his songs that you might not even notice some of them, but you’d certainly notice if they were missing. Even though they’re often mixed low, many of his parts can stand on their own perfectly well. Case in point: the cool, arpeggiated picking part under his solo in “Achille’s Last Stand,” which is approximated here. Fingerpick, hybrid pick, or flatpick it, and let everything ring together. It’s cooler than a broken foot!

Nick Kellie, guitarist with ’70s pop divas the Three Degrees, brings us this. “This lick is based around a C blues and mixes C major and C minor pentatonic scales,” he says. “After the pickup notes, bar 2 starts with a Chuck Berry-style b5 double-stop. The rest of the bar slips into the C minor pentatonic scale. Bar 3 sees the use of double-stopped thirds. Add a bluesy quarter-step bend to these for optimum effect. In bar 4 we have two inversions of a C7, then a C6 chromatically descending to C9.”

“If only more exotic scales were just as easy to play as pentatonics,” says reader Dee Nelson. “Well, here is an exercise using the whole tone scale in a pentatonic fashion. It uses mostly two notes per string and incorporates some double-stops, which are also typical of pentatonic licks. The really cool thing about this phrase— and whole tone riffs in general—is that the exact same patterns can be moved around the fretboard in whole steps, or two-fret intervals. Try starting this exercise on the 12th, 14th, 16th fret, etc.”

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