The symmetrical pattern in Ex. 1 is taken from the A
Dorian/blues scale and it lays on the fretboard so
nicely that it’s both easy and a blast to play. That
is, unfortunately, why so many of us have done
it to death. Ex. 2 contains the same notes, but
employs some string skipping to liven things
up. Once these moves are under your fingers, feel
free to mess with the rhythm every way you can.
Pick every note, use pull-offs, snap the strings
against the fretboard—whatever. This is one
of the fastest ways I know to sound hip and
jazzy, even though you’re playing a bonehead
simple lick. What a bargain!
With all due respect to sliced bread and beer in cans,
guitar harmonics are the best thing ever. They can be
used in a zillion cool and clever ways, but sometimes
the simplest thing is all you need. The three chimes
in Ex. 1 are classics and sound amazing over a G, D,
or Em chord. The harmonics in Ex. 2 are
less commonly used but will work
similar magic over a D, A, or Bm.
Arch your fingers so you don’t
bump into adjacent strings and let
all three tones ring together. If you’ve
got a whammy bar, use it gently. No
whammy? Shake the neck ever so slightly as
the harmonics sustain. See what I’m saying?
These three bars combine some of my favorite things on the guitar: wide interval skips, pretty melodies, and the ability to sound
great at any tempo. Although the pattern is laid out as G-Am-F progression, you can (and should) loop any of these bars for as long
as you like. Start with a pickup-note tap on the B string and pull off to the notes below. Use a tap on the high-E to change strings,
another tap on the B string, and so on. Use these licks in a solo, put a long delay on them to create a spacey overdub, or throw a
slap-back echo on them to really blow some minds. This is a sound that keyboardists have had a monopoly on for too long!
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